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Medically Assisted Benzodiazepine Detoxification

At Immersion Recovery we understand how difficult Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be. Many times withdrawal symptoms are so serve that those struggling with Benzodiazepine addiction return to using within 24 hours. The key to overcoming this obstacle is a medically supervised detox where withdrawal symptoms can be identified and treated immediately. At Immersion Recovery Center we perform an in-depth initial evaluation and tailor a treatment plan unique to each clients needs and recovery goals. Immersion Recovery Center provides 24 hour medical supervision and comfort care for our detox clients. Our medical and client support team’s goal is to make sure all clients have a safe and comfortable detox so they can begin the next phase in their recovery journey.

Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs, often referred to as “benzos”. This specific class of drug attaches to gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors within the brain, and make the nerves within the brain significantly less susceptible to stimulation. This results in a calming effect. Some of the more common variation of benzodiazepines include diazepam, quazepam, alprazolam, and estazolam.

Benzodiazepine is used to treat a wide variety of symptoms and conditions including:

  • Anxiety disorders and panic attacks
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Treatment of seizures
  • Alcohol withdrawal

Benzos are also commonly used for their muscle relaxing effects. When taken in small doses and as prescribed by a medical professional benzos are typically safe to use and don’t cause any major side effects. However, the benzos do have high rates of abuse. For this reason long-term use is rarely advised. Some individuals will mix benzos with other chemical substances like alcohol to enhance their relaxing effects. This can be extremely dangerous and has been known to result in overdose – and in some circumstances death. Benzo-related hospital admissions have more than tripled since 1998. If you have been struggling with benzo abuse or addiction it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible. Fortunately, at Immersion Recovery Center we are experienced in benzo detoxification and we are always available to help.

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Benzodiazepine Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Benzos are highly addictive and they have high rates of abuse nationwide. There are many reasons why people begin abusing benzos… they may have a genetic predisposition towards substance dependency, they may have untreated underlying mental health issues, or they may have started to take the drug for a diagnosed disorder and then slipped into abuse. Some of the most common reasons behind benzos addiction include:

Underlying mental health disorders

In many cases those with undiagnosed mental health issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia will take drugs in order to alleviate their symptoms. If someone with a mental health concern is introduced to benzos they may find that the calming effects of the drug temporarily make them feel “normal”. This feeling is only fleeting and once it dissipates they will reach for the drug again. This will begin a vicious cycle of abuse.

Being initially prescribed the medication for an existing disorder

If someone is prescribed benzos and they begin to take them other than prescribed (for example, they take them throughout the day and they take more than the recommended dose) they can quickly develop physical and psychological dependency.

Genetic predisposition to alcoholism or drug abuse

If someone has a family history of alcoholism or drug abuse they are far more inclined to begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol themselves. Addiction is a hereditary disease – it is passed down through generations. There is an extensive amount of research to back this.

Self-medication as the result of unresolved trauma

Many individuals who have unresolved sexual, emotional, or physical trauma or who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate their symptoms. These symptoms might include anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, an inability to trust others, preoccupation with past events, and inability to focus. While taking benzos may temporarily relieve symptoms of trauma, abusing drugs will only worsen the symptoms down the road.

Environmental factors

Those who grow up in lower income neighborhoods, those who surround themselves with people who “party” heavily (peer pressure), those who work high-stress jobs, or those who live in households with addicted parents (or one addicted parent) are more likely to engage in drug abuse. Environment has a lot to do with the way we handle stress and the “coping mechanisms” we are inclined to turn to.

Signs of Benzos Addiction

A disinterest in hobbies and activities that the individual used to enjoy

Those who begin abusing benzos will typically lose interest in old hobbies – for example, someone who was once a soccer player will quit the team, or someone who was once in theater will drop out of a play.

Problems at work or at school

One major red flag is a decrease in attendance, be that at work or at school. Decreased grades may also indicate drug abuse, or getting into trouble with authoritative figures (such as a principal, a teacher, a boss, or a manager).

Interpersonal issues – problems with family members and friends

Perhaps family members or friends have expressed concern about drug use, or friends have distanced themselves because the addict no longer has a lot in common. Addiction is a disease of denial – if someone expresses concern, it can be easy to push them away.

Increased time spent using and obtaining drugs, and recovering from use (withdrawal)

This is a very telltale sign, of course – ignoring prior engagements or responsibilities in lieu of using drugs. If drugs can’t be obtained, the presence of withdrawal symptoms.

Changes in weight, sleep patterns, and mood

Major external changes or changes in regular patterns or demeanor can indicate a substance abuse problem. Benzodiazepine use leads to major inconsistencies in physical features and in emotions.

A change in friends

Spending time with different people and rejecting old friends because they’re “lame” or “boring” is a telltale sign of substance dependency. Individuals who are abusing benzos are more likely to surround themselves with people who won’t “judge” them – otherwise, people who are also using drugs and could truly care less about their wellbeing.

More time spent alone and isolated

The best way to get people off of your back is to avoid them altogether. Isolating and avoiding friends and family members is a good indication of a substance dependency issue.

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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Because benzodiazepines are so potent the physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal can be extremely excruciating. Because the symptoms are so unpleasant, attending a medically monitored detox facility is crucial. If someone who has been abusing benzos for an extended period of time attempts to quit cold turkey the symptoms of withdrawal can pose serious health-related complications, some of which can actually be life-threatening. Symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include (but are not limited to):

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Problems with focus and concentration
  • Severe headaches
  • Stiff muscles and muscle cramping
  • Tremors
  • Excessive sweating
  • Changes in perception
  • Intense cravings

While these symptoms are not typically dangerous, the associated discomfort can lead benzo addicts back to using before the detoxification process has come to a close. However, more intense symptoms can occur during benzo detox, especially when the drug has been abused in great quantities for an extended period of time. These symptoms can include hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis, suicidal ideation, and severe depression. For these reasons (because psychological symptoms can be so severe), pharmaceutically assisted treatment – by way of psychotropic drugs – may be necessary. At Immersion Recovery Center we have experienced psychiatrists on staff who can prescribe any medications that may be necessary to overcome the withdrawal symptoms.

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How Immersion Recovery Center Can Help

When it comes to benzo detox the length of the stay, the necessary pharmaceutical intervention, and the comprehensive aftercare plan (which is be put into place during detox) will all be determined by the severity of the addiction and by the length of time that the drug was being abused. At Immersion Recovery Center we implement a comprehensive program of detox – in our program detox isn’t just about physical stabilization, it’s about paving the road for a long-term fulfilled recovery.