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Are You Considering Getting Off Benzodiazepines?

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Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs commonly prescribed to help people manage anxiety, insomnia, and other health conditions. However, tolerance can build up quickly and long-term use may lead to side effects like drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms. 

If you’ve been prescribed benzodiazepines, it’s possible that you’ve been considering getting off them. It is important to understand the risks and benefits associated with tapering off benzodiazepines. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at some helpful strategies for safely tapering off your benzodiazepine dose while reducing distress in the process. Read on to learn more about how you can reap the rewards of specifically tailored advice from our experts!

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a type of medication that can be used to help manage symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. This type of drug acts on the main brain neurotransmitters, providing relief from distressing physical and mental symptoms. 

Popular examples include Valium, Librium, and Xanax. Depending on the specific drug prescribed, benzodiazepines can have beneficial short-term effects including reducing muscle tension and relaxing the body. 

However, it’s important to use caution when taking this medication as long-term usage or misuse may cause dependence and cognitive impairment. Although benzodiazepines can provide quick respite from overwhelming mental health challenges for many people, it is important to chat with your doctor about potential risks associated with using these medications before taking them.

How to quit using Benzodiazepines safely?

Benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos, are powerful sedatives that can be helpful in treating a variety of medical conditions. However, if used incorrectly, they can become addictive and cause serious health problems. So how do you quit using benzodiazepines safely?

Quitting Benzodiazepines Cold Turkey

First thing you must not do if you want to quit Benzodiazepines safely to go cold-turkey. Quitting benzodiazepines cold turkey can be a dangerous proposition. The withdrawal symptoms associated with abruptly stopping this type of medication can be intense, ranging from anxiety and insomnia to fatigue and body aches. 

The sudden cessation of benzodiazepines can also cause an increase in the severity of an existing mental health condition. To avoid serious side effects related to quitting cold turkey, it is important that anyone taking a benzodiazepine speak with their doctor before making any changes to their medication. 

They can offer advice on tapering off the drug slowly, leading to a greater chance of success for the individual involved. 

Steps involved in getting off Benzodiazepines

Let’s walk you through the steps involved in getting off benzodiazepines

Taper Schedule 

The first step is to speak with your doctor about your plan to quit using benzodiazepines. Your doctor will be able to provide guidance on the best way for you to quit using the drugs and monitor your progress as you go through the process. 

The most effective way to quit using benzodiazepines is by reducing your dosage gradually over time. This process is known as tapering and involves cutting your dosage down slowly until you reach a point where you no longer need the drug. 

Tapering helps reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and makes it easier for your body to adjust after quitting benzos cold turkey. 

Exercise

During this period it may be beneficial to engage in mild physical activity such as walking or yoga which can help reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing during this time. It is also important to practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation which can help individuals remain calm and focus on their recovery goals. 

Moreover, regular exercise helps your body build up an immunity to stress, improves focus, enhances mood and can reduce anxiety – all of which are beneficial for those trying to end their dependence on benzodiazepines.

Diet and Appetite

Pairing a healthy diet with regular exercise will help your body even more as balanced nutrition provides the necessary energy needed for regeneration of cells. Eating balanced, fresh meals can help manage cravings and fight against depression and excess fatigue which are common side effects of quitting these types of drugs. 

Sleep Schedule 

It’s also important to have a regulated sleep schedule in order to allow the body enough rest and recuperation time.  Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and make sure to get in 8-10 hours of sleep every day.

Restful nights of quality sleep are essential for beating addiction, reducing stress hormones, improving well-being and motivation, and boosting overall productivity. Plus, your body is going through a lot during the withdrawal, so it’s best to rest as much as possible.

So if you’re serious about quitting benzodiazepines, then establishing a routine consisting of regular exercise, healthy eating habits and consistent sleep is key.

Common symptoms of Benzodiazepines withdrawal and how to deal with them

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is often accompanied by unpleasant or distressing physical and psychological symptoms, such as fatigue and insomnia. Even mild to moderate doses of benzodiazepines can leave a person feeling anxious, irritable, stressed out or depressed. 

Withdrawal signs can also include physical issues such as tremors, nausea and headaches. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal, it’s important to have help from your doctor. 

They will be able to provide a safe treatment plan that can ease the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and work to lessen their duration so you can regain your quality of life as quickly and safely as possible. 

Tips for coping with Benzodiazepines crash

Benzodiazepine crash can be an intimidating phrase, but it doesn’t have to be so scary. It’s nothing more than a withdrawal syndrome that some people experience after taking benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos, for a while and then suddenly stopping. 

It starts somewhere 5-7 days after stopping the use of Benzos and can be quite physically taxing. But if you stay strong during this phase and stay determined to your goal, Benzodiazepine dependence will be a lot easier to recover from.

Here are some helpful tips to cop with a Benzodiazepines crash:

  • Try to get as much sleep as possible and allow yourself to rest when you need to.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking or stretching, to help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
  • Try techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation to help reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
  • Quitting any kind of drug can be an emotionally draining experience so it’s important to have a strong support system (friends, family, or therapist) when going through the process. They can help provide emotional support during difficult times, help distract you from cravings, and encourage you to stay on track with your tapering schedule. 
  • Avoid the use of stimulant drugs like coffee, crack cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine during this time.

Common causes of Benzodiazepines rebound

A drug rebound is a return of symptoms that were previously relieved by a medication after the medication has been discontinued or the dosage has been reduced. This can occur with various types of medications, including benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and medications used to treat migraines.

For example, if someone takes a benzodiazepine to reduce anxiety and then stops taking the medication, they may experience a rebound of anxiety symptoms. Similarly, if someone takes an antidepressant to treat depression and then stops taking the medication, they may experience a rebound of depression symptoms.

Drug rebound can occur when the body has become accustomed to the presence of a medication and then experiences withdrawal or adjustment when the medication is no longer present. This can often lead to the re-use of the drug and further strengthens the dependence on it.

There are several factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing benzodiazepines rebound. These include 

  • Long-term usage of the medications
  • Abrupt cessation of the medication (especially if done without tapering down)
  • Pre-existing psychiatric issues such as anxiety disorders or depression 
  • Withdrawal symptoms during taper off periods 
  • Age (older adults tend to have more intense withdrawal symptoms)

In order to prevent benzodiazepines rebound it is important to always take these medications under doctor supervision and follow their instructions carefully. When discontinuing use it is important to taper off slowly under your doctor’s direction in order to avoid sudden withdrawal symptoms. 

Professional treatment for getting off Benzodiazepines:

If you’re looking to get off benzodiazepines, professional treatment can help ensure a safe journey. With an approach tailored specifically to your individual needs, skilled healthcare providers can guide you step-by-step as you work towards achieving sobriety. 

They will start by devising a tapering schedule which means gradually decreasing your dosage over a period of time until you reach a point where you no longer need them. It’s important not to rush this process; abrupt discontinuation can cause serious side effects such as seizures, delirium and even death in some cases. Your doctor will be able to work out a schedule with you that ensures a safe transition away from benzodiazepines while minimizing withdrawal symptoms as much as possible. 

They may also suggest alternative treatments such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or relaxation techniques that can help manage your anxiety or insomnia without relying on medication. 

In addition, they may also prescribe Medication Assisted Therapy that is the use of medications such as antidepressants or anticonvulsants that can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms during the process of tapering off benzodiazepines. 

Final thoughts on getting off Benzodiazepines:

The process is often slower than desired and involves dealing with uncomfortable feelings along the way, but with support and education, many find that staying the course can be well worth it in the end. 

The goal is to reduce symptoms of withdrawal while teaching healthy coping skills instead of relying on medication for relief. Always remember that you don’t have to go through this alone; quality treatment is available for those battling addiction to benzodiazepines.

Warren

Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.