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Medically Assisted Diazepam Detoxification

The initial step on every journey of addiction recovery is admission to a medically assisted detoxification center. Those who have been abusing drugs or alcohol for any period of time almost always undergo some degree of withdrawal upon abrupt cessation of use. More often than not, the symptoms of withdrawal will lead a person back to substance use before the detoxification process is over. This is part of the reason why entering into an inpatient detox program is so important. At Immersion Recovery Center we provide a comprehensive detox program; one that focuses on more than a safe, pain-free drug and alcohol withdrawal. In addition to providing around the clock medical care, we actively prepare our clients for the next appropriate stage of their personal recovery journeys. During Diazepam detox, we conduct an individualized, in-depth evaluation, which helps us determine the length of our clients stay, what kind of medical intervention is necessary, and the next step for each client once they become physically stabilized.

If you or someone you love has been suffering from a Diazepam use disorder, detox is an important initial step, and we are available to help. At Immersion Recovery Center we effectively treat the physical and psychological symptoms associated with Ambien withdrawal, making the entire detox process as comfortable as possible from start to finish. We utilize a combination of evidence-based medications, therapeutic practices and holistic treatment methods to provide the most integrated and effective care available. To learn more about our program of Diazepam detox or to learn more about our multi-staged addiction treatment program as a whole, contact us today.

What is Diazepam?

Diazepam is a prescription benzodiazepine most commonly used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and the more severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam is the generic name for the brand name drug Valium, which happens to be one of the most widely prescribed benzodiazepines in the country. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the 2015-2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “Using data analytics, researchers concluded that 12.5 percent of adults in the U.S. used benzodiazepines, which extrapolates to about 30.5 million persons. However, only 2.1 percent of U.S. adults misused them (at least once), and only 0.2 percent met the criteria for benzodiazepine use disorders. Among benzodiazepine users, 17.1 percent misused them, and fewer than 2 percent had benzodiazepine use disorders.”

More recently, an increasing amount of emergency room visits and accidental overdose deaths that involve opioid narcotics also involve benzodiazepines like Diazepam, or Valium. According to NIDA, “In 2019, 16 percent of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines, a type of prescription sedative commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67 percent, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. The quantity obtained also increased from 1.1 kg to 3.6 kg lorazepam-equivalents per 100,000 adults. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines can be unsafe because both types of drug sedate users and suppress breathing—the cause of overdose fatality—in addition to impairing cognitive functions. Unfortunately, many people are prescribed both drugs simultaneously. In a study of over 300,000 continuously insured patients receiving opioid prescriptions between 2001 and 2013, the percentage of persons also prescribed benzodiazepines rose to 17 percent in 2013 from nine percent in 2001.”

Is Diazepam Addictive?

Diazepam is habit-forming, and even taking this medication exactly as prescribed can lead to physical and psychological dependence. If you or someone close to you has been using a benzodiazepine medication in a higher dose than prescribed or without a prescription written by a psychiatric or medical professional, the risk of developing an addictive disorder is high.

The National Library of Medicine states, “Diazepam may cause a physical dependence (a condition in which unpleasant physical symptoms occur if a medication is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses), especially if you take it for several days to several weeks. Do not stop taking this medication or take fewer doses without talking to your doctor. Stopping diazepam suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms that may last for several weeks to more than 12 months.” If you or someone close to you has been struggling with a benzodiazepine use disorder, Immersion Recovery Center is available to help.

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Signs & Symptoms of Diazepam Addiction

If you believe you or someone you love has been suffering from a diagnosable Diazepam use disorder, there are several signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) outlines a list of diagnostic criteria used to identify the presence of a Diazepam use disorder. If you answer “yes” to two or more of the following questions, seeking professional help from a medical detox center is likely a good idea.

  1. Do you sometimes end up using a higher dose of Diazepam than you originally intended, or do you use Diazepam more frequently than you intend to?
  2. Have you wanted to cut back on your dose or quit entirely, only to find you were unable to do so for any significant period of time?
  3. Do you spend a significant amount of time obtaining Diazepam, using Diazepam and recovering from its effects?
  4. Do you often think of using Diazepam/do you ever experience intense cravings?
  5. Has your drug use interfered with your ability to fulfill personal obligations or negatively impacted your performance at work or at school?
  6. Have you experienced interpersonal problems as a direct result of your Diazepam use?
  7. Have you given up activities which were once interesting or important to you in order to engage in Diazepam use?
  8. Have you been engaging in risk-taking activities more often than normal, like driving while under the influence of Diazepam or combining Diazepam with other substances like alcohol or opioid narcotics?
  9. Do you continue to use Diazepam despite physical or psychological health concerns directly related to the prescription medication?
  10. Have you developed a physical tolerance, meaning a higher dose is required in order for the desired effects to be achieved?
  11. Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when Diazepam use is stopped abruptly?

Diazepam Withdrawal Signs & Symptoms

Diazepam withdrawal is extremely common among people who use the drug for any length of time, and the symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal can be particularly severe when left untreated. According to one study, 40 percent of people who use benzodiazepines for six months or longer will experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. The other 60 percent of benzodiazepine users will experience relatively mild symptoms of withdrawal. In most cases, symptoms begin to develop within 24 to 48 hours after the final use, and resolve within one to two weeks. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological in nature, and can range from mild physical discomfort to grand mal seizures and coma. This is partially why it is so important to check into a medical detox center before symptoms peak in severity.

The Physical Symptoms of Diazepam Withdrawal

The most common physical symptoms of Diazepam withdrawal include:

  • Loss of appetite, which often leads to temporary weight loss.
  • Body tremors/uncontrollable shaking.
  • Severe and persistent headaches.
  • Sleep-related issues (nightmares, trouble falling and staying asleep).
  • Muscle aches and joint pain.
  • Dizziness and unsteadiness/lack of coordination.
  • Visual disturbances like blurry vision and light sensitivity.
  • Ringing in the ears/tinnitus.
  • In severe cases, grand mal seizures.

The Psychological Symptoms of Diazepam Withdrawal

The most common psychological symptoms of Diazepam withdrawal include:

  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Changes to mood, usually marked by irritability and agitation.
  • Strange sensations throughout the body.
  • Depressed mood and suicidal ideation.
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering things.
  • Feelings of disconnection from reality.
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations.
  • Delusions and delirium.
  • Changes to perception (things feel different than they normally would).

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Because the physical and psychological symptoms of Diazepam withdrawal can be severe, entering into a medical detox center is always a good idea. At Immersion Recovery Center we offer professional medical and psychiatric care, geared towards effectively treating the symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal, no matter how severe.

Medically assisted Diazepam detox and Diazepam withdrawal

Diazepam Withdrawal Timeline

How long does Diazepam detox last? The answer to this question depends heavily on several factors, including:

  • What dose of Diazepam was being taken on a daily basis.
  • Whether or not Diazepam was being combined with another chemical substance.
  • The age, weight and gender of the client.
  • Whether or not the client has been diagnosed with an underlying mental illness.
  • How long the client was taking Diazepam.

As a general rule of thumb, those who take benzodiazepine medication for a longer period of time tend to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. If a benzodiazepine use disorder was particularly severe, acute withdrawal symptoms can last for up to two weeks. It is estimated that between 10 and 25 percent of people who take Diazepam for longer than several months experience protracted withdrawal. Protracted withdrawal refers to ongoing psychological symptoms, like anxiety and depression, that can last for up to a full year.

In most cases, the Diazepam withdrawal timeline looks something like this:

  • 6-12 Hours After the Final Dose – Withdrawal symptoms begin to develop. The symptoms are not yet severe, and mostly include general feelings of physical discomfort, restlessness and irritability.
  • 1-3 Days After the Final Dose – Within the first 24-72 hours after the final dose, more severe symptoms begin to develop. This stage of the withdrawal process is known as acute withdrawal. These symptoms can become dangerous or life-threatening if they are not closely monitored in a medical detox setting.
  • 1-2 Weeks After the Final Dose – The more severe symptoms begin to subside, and the client is able to transition into the next appropriate level of clinical care.
  • Several Months After the Final Dose – Symptoms of protracted withdrawal might linger. If they are particularly disruptive, they might need to be addressed with a combination of ongoing individual therapy, psychiatric care and medication. For example, if symptoms of anxiety, depression or insomnia persist, a short course of an antidepressant, anti-anxiety medication or sleep aid might be utilized.

Is Diazepam Detox Always Necessary?

The best way to minimize the severity of symptoms is by checking yourself into a medical detox center within hours after your final dose. Because symptoms associated with Diazepam withdrawal can be severe or life-threatening when left untreated, 24/7 medical care is always recommended. If you do end up experiencing a more severe symptom of Diazepam withdrawal — like a grand mal seizure — you will be treated immediately by a licensed professional. If you have only been taking the medication for a short period of time, you might be tempted to attempt detoxing at home. However, because the symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal are so unpredictable, it is never a good idea to try detoxing without constant medical supervision.

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What Causes Diazepam Withdrawal?

Diazepam works by increasing GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) activity within the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that reduces feelings of stress and anxiety by actively reducing the effects of other chemicals. Over time, the central nervous system becomes accustomed to the presence of Diazepam. A person who has been taking Diazepam regularly will be unable to effectively battle anxiety without the help of the medication. If a person stops taking the medication abruptly they are liable to experience what is known as a “GABA crash” — brain activity goes haywire, and a host of uncomfortable symptoms develop. The person experiences extreme anxiety along with a range of physical symptoms.

Treatment Options for Diazepam Withdrawal

One of the most effective treatment options for Diazepam withdrawal is tapering. When a client is tapered off of a benzodiazepine medication, their dose is slowly reduced over the course of several days. This way, the central nervous system does not go into shock, and the more severe symptoms of withdrawal can be successfully avoided.

Medications Used for Diazepam Withdrawal

There are several medications which might be utilized in moderate or severe cases of benzodiazepine withdrawal, including:

  • Anticonvulsant medications. If a client has a personal history of seizures or if an Alprazolam use disorder was particularly severe, an anti-seizure medication might be prescribed as a precautionary measure.
  • SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors). This is a safe and effective type of antidepressant medication which might be utilized in the case of depressed mood and suicidal ideation.
  • Beta-blockers. This type of medication might be used to prevent the more severe physical symptoms of Diazepam withdrawal, like uncontrollable body tremors.
  • Clonidine. Blood pressure medications like Clonidine might be used if withdrawal leads to a spike in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Over-the-counter medications. Medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen might be used to treat mild or moderate pain, and anti-nausea medications might be utilized to treat vomiting.
  • Non-narcotic sleep aids. In some cases, sleep medication is utilized to treat insomnia.

Long-Term Diazepam Addiction Recovery

At Immersion Recovery Center we break our medical detox program down into three distinct stages: evaluation, stabilization and preparation. Upon admission to our detox program each client undergoes a detailed and in-depth addiction assessment, or evaluation. We ask a series of pertinent questions, including:

  • What type of substance/substances were being used, and for how long?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed or treated for an underlying mental or physical condition, such as a mental illness or chronic health concern?
  • Have you undergone treatment for a substance use disorder in the past?
  • What dose of Diazepam were you taking on a daily basis?

The questions we ask during the initial assessment help our clinical and medical team determine which detox methods are the most appropriate for each unique case. Next, we focus our attention on physical stabilization. Clients are able to relax in their private or semi-private bedrooms, and they have the opportunity to participate in group workshops and behavioral therapy sessions if they are feeling up to doing so. The physical and psychological symptoms of Diazepam withdrawal are treated as soon as they develop, seeing as our team of licensed medical professionals are available 24-hours a day. Our main priority is making the Diazepam detox process as comfortable as possible. Once physical stabilization has been achieved, clients make a smooth transition into the next appropriate level of clinical care. In most cases, this means transitioning into a residential inpatient treatment center.

At Immersion Recovery Center we offer a multi-staged program of recovery, which includes:

Long-term Diazepam addiction recovery is possible. With an individualized and effective treatment program in place, even the most severe cases of addiction can be overcome. Contact us today to learn more or to get started with our simple and straightforward admissions process.

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    Immersion Recovery Center provides a licensed, individualized and integrated detox program to people of all ages who have been struggling with addictive disorders of all types and severities. We offer a step-down curriculum of clinical care, designed to help our clients make a smooth and seamless transition from medical detox into the next level of care, and eventually back into independent living. We understand how difficult it might seem to choose the best drug and alcohol detox in Florida for your unique personal needs. Fortunately, we are available to help make the decision easier. The moment you contact us, either directly through our website or over the phone, you are put in touch with one of our experienced and compassionate Treatment Advisors. They ask a short series of questions, ultimately helping you determine which level of care is the most appropriate for your unique case. If we believe our program is a good fit we conduct a free, no obligation insurance benefit check and facilitate local travel to our Delray Beach, Florida treatment center. Contact us today to begin.

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