Benzodiazepine detox is a process in which toxins are removed from the body. Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety medications frequently prescribed for anxiety, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Benzodiazepines act primarily on the GABA receptors that result in central nervous depression, and feelings of sedation and relaxation.
The use of benzos for a long period or in high doses can result in multiple neurological changes and decreased responsiveness to their use. These chronic adaptations serve as the foundation for tolerance. When tolerance occurs, more and more of the drug is needed to achieve the same effect.
Over time, the large of amounts of drugs used to surmount tolerance hasten the onset of dependence, and if left untreated, can develop into a very serious addiction.
Once this occurs, then a user ceases to take the drug, withdrawal symptoms may emerge. These symptoms can affect those who were prescribed them just as those who misuse them. This is why many physicians are reluctant to prescribe benzos for long-term use.
Who Is At Risk Of Benzo Addiction?
Anyone regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, or race can develop an addiction to benzodiazepines. However, some risk factors do exist.
One, persons with a history of substance misuse or mental illness are at a heightened risk of abuse. Also, those with a family history of childhood abuse or neglect may be at a greater risk.
Finally, middle-aged white women have been prescribed benzos at an alarmingly high rate in the last few years, which put this class of patient at a higher risk of dependence.
Symptoms Of Withdrawal
Unlike opiates, the withdrawal symptoms of benzo can be life-threatening, especially if the user quits “cold turkey.” Those who have taken the drugs for an extended time or in high doses often face the worst withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of benzo withdrawal may include:
Rebound Anxiety and Insomnia
Benzos are sedatives intended to treat anxiety and insomnia. Therefore, when many of these people stop taking these medications, they experience an increase in anxiety and restlessness. This is called the rebound effect. This effect typically lasts between 2-3 days, and even those without a prior history of anxiety may experience this symptom of withdrawal.