Benzodiazepines, commonly called benzos, are a class of drugs used to treat anxiety and insomnia. They work by enhancing the effects of GABA, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that helps regulate mood. Although benzos are effective for treating symptoms associated with anxiety and insomnia, they can also be highly addictive and even dangerous when misused.
What Are Benzos?
Benzos are a type of prescription antidepressant or sedative that can be used to treat anxiety, insomnia, muscle relaxation, and seizures. Common benzos include Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam) and Restoril (temazepam).
Benzos activate the GABA receptors, which are responsible for calming overstimulated neurons in the brain. These drugs can be effective at reducing anxiety and helping people sleep; however, they can also be highly addictive and even dangerous when misused or taken in large amounts.
Benzo Side Effects
Benzos’ most common side effects include:
- Unsteady balance
- Slurred speech
- Memory issues
Taking larger doses or taking the drugs for an extended period may lead to more severe side effects such as:
- Suicidal thoughts
In addition, it can be habit-forming, meaning it can be easy to develop an addiction or dependency on benzos.
When someone abuses benzodiazepines, they take higher doses than what is typically prescribed and may even take them without a prescription. Benzo abuse can lead to serious physical, psychological, and social problems, including:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Respiratory depression
- Severe withdrawal symptoms
- Psychological health risks, such as:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Cognitive impairments (such as memory loss)
- Depression or suicidal ideation
- Social isolation
If you or someone you love is struggling with benzo abuse, getting help immediately is essential. The longer someone misuses benzos, the harder they are to get off.
Benzo Withdrawal—What to Expect
It’s imperative to seek professional help to taper off benzos. Dangerous benzo side effects could occur without properly tapering off of this drug. When someone is trying to quit using benzos, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Seizures (in severe cases)
- Paranoia and delusions
- Hallucinations or psychotic episodes
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Getting professional help when detoxing from benzos is essential, as it can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Here is a general timeline of what to expect when coming off of benzos:
- Day 1-2: Initial withdrawal symptoms begin to appear.
- Days 3–5: Symptoms become more severe, usually peaking around the 5th day.
- Days 6–14: Symptoms will lessen in intensity but can still be quite uncomfortable.
- Days 15+: The majority of the symptoms should have resolved.
If you or someone you love is detoxing from benzos, the best thing you can do is connect them with professional help. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers medically supervised benzo detox services in a safe and comfortable environment. Contact us today to learn how we can help.
Healing from Benzo Abuse at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset
At Evoke Wellness at Cohasset, we understand how difficult it is to overcome benzo addiction or abuse. Our experienced team of professionals utilizes evidence-based treatments to provide the best possible outcomes for those in recovery.
We offer a variety of programs and services, including:
- Inpatient detox
- Residential treatment
- Outpatient therapy
- Group support
- Holistic therapies
Our goal is to help individuals heal from benzo addiction or abuse, along with poly-substance abuse and other forms of a substance use disorder, and learn to manage their mental health with healthy coping strategies.
Contact us today at 866.931.6429 to learn more about our benzo detox and treatment programs.