Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a class of psychoactive drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, seizures, panic disorders, agitation, and insomnia. Well-known examples of benzo medications include Valium and Xanax. Benzodiazepines are viewed as safe if prescribed for short-term use, with treatment lasting 2-4 weeks to prevent addiction.
Why Benzo Addiction Requires Treatment
Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers containing soothing components that slow down the central nervous system. This helps reduce tension and results in muscle relaxation. People struggling with benzo addiction tend to chase this calming feeling, often craving another hit after getting off the high. Benzodiazepine abusers exhibit symptoms similar to heavy alcohol consumption. When taken in large doses, benzos can cause:
- Slurred speech or seeming drunk
- Blurred vision
- Extreme fatigue and drowsiness
- Lack of coordination and physical weakness
- Mood swings
- Confusion and anxiety
- Difficulty in breathing
Benzo addiction can have severe implications. The aftermath can be fatal when coupled with opioids or alcohol since all these substances are depressants. When taken together, they cause excessive sedation, potentially resulting in a slowed heart rate that could lead to coma or death.
While treating benzo addiction can be difficult, it is not impossible. However, attempting to quit without proper medical supervision can prove deadly. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are potentially severe and challenging to manage without medical assistance, ranging from tremors, psychosis and seizures to hallucinations. Abruptly getting off benzos could trigger these symptoms. For this reason, immediate medical attention, which includes benzo detox and other treatment options, is advised.
How Is Benzo Addiction Treated?
Simply getting benzos out of your system is not enough. This is because the craving and changes to the brain structure are already set. Research highlights that without formal addiction treatment, high-dose benzo users are at a high risk of relapse. As such, extended treatment for benzo addiction is advised to achieve lasting results.
Common treatments include evidence-based therapies, psychiatric counseling and support groups. Identifying triggers and learning healthy ways to cope with urges and cravings can also be effective treatment methods. Regardless of the treatment you choose, ideal results are often best accomplished by checking into an accredited rehab center specializing in benzo addiction treatment.
The following are some of the benzo treatment options available.
While some people attempt to get off benzos by themselves, this isn’t advisable. Doing so could lead to severe symptoms such as panic attacks and seizures that could cause a person to revert to using benzos. For example, a person getting off benzo addiction may experience trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, poor concentration and other withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, to achieve the best detox results, 24-hour medical supervision is recommended. In addition, doctors may prescribe medications that ease the symptoms and help the patient cope with the side effects. They can also monitor the person’s progress and adjust the medication accordingly.
Residential care or inpatient treatment make the detox process and medical supervision more manageable. In addition, it provides patients with a drug-free environment, making 24-hour monitoring possible. Access to programs like behavioral therapy and support groups allows professionals to address more than the physical effects of benzo addiction. These advantages work toward making the recovery process more wholesome for the patient.
Depending on how severe the addiction is, some patients may benefit more from an outpatient arrangement. However, in most cases, this treatment is recommended after inpatient care. Outpatient programs give patients struggling with benzo addiction access to counseling and therapy.
How Long Is Benzo Treatment?
Since benzodiazepine treatment varies for different people, the length of treatment isn’t set in stone. Relevant factors include the dosage taken, the period of addiction, general health and how an individual reacts to the medication. The treatment period could also be longer if the patient took benzos alongside opioids or alcohol. Trained medical professionals can assess your situation, determining which treatment would work best.
Therapies Useful During Benzo Treatment
Therapy is an effective benzodiazepine treatment that helps patients cope with stressful situations and manage emotions without relapsing. Therapy can also help patients identify triggers and find healthy coping mechanisms.
The following are some of the therapies used for benzo addiction treatment.
Massage therapy is restorative care that supports the body’s affected area. The practitioner manipulates the body by targeting specific parts of the body such as tendons, muscles and tissues. Massage therapy has several benefits, ranging from encouraging healing and wellness to relieving stress and improving sleeping quality. It can also reduce physical pain and grant patients mental clarity, helping them deal with depression and anxiety. While specific health benefits vary with individuals, Sunlight Recovery can help create a cohesive plan for how massage therapy helps you.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Negative thoughts cause anxiety, self-doubt and low self-esteem. This, in turn, affects the person’s motivation, focus and efforts.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) combines talk with behavioral therapy to reframe negative thought patterns as positive ones. CBT isn’t an outlined step-by-step treatment. Instead, it combines a set of therapies that trigger a therapeutic change of the same kind.
Cognitive behavioral therapy follows a simple pattern. The first step involves identifying the situations making life uncomfortable and acting as triggers. This is followed by understanding the thoughts and emotions surrounding these triggers, along with the patient’s reaction to the problem. Finally, the treatment aims to help the patient take the emotions brought on by their triggers, healthily rebranding them. In doing so, the patient can create a way to manage their responses, reacting to potential triggers in healthier ways.
Just like with any other treatment, CBT results don’t happen overnight. They’re highly influenced by an individual’s willingness to recover. Fortunately, certain recovery techniques can help, including journaling, exercises and mindfulness meditation.
It’s easy for benzo users to fall into negative and self-defeating thoughts. If unchecked, these may lead to a relapse. However, with the help of counselors, Sunlight Recovery professionals can help you learn how to change negative thoughts. This, in turn, helps change the outcome of a potential trigger. There are other beneficial therapies involved in benzo addiction treatment, such as family and couples therapy and contingency management therapy (CMT).
Lifelong Recovery From Benzodiazepine Abuse
While the road to recovery can be long, a research study from the University of Toronto indicates that a full recovery is possible. Recovery from benzo abuse can be facilitated by having strong emotional security, spiritual beliefs and social and psychological well-being. It also helps to have at least one strong supporter.
Complete and healthy recovery from benzodiazepine addiction is possible. If your loved one is dealing with benzo addiction, the friendly, caring team at Sunlight Recovery can develop a tailor-made treatment plan that will get them started on a path to wholesome wellness.
Reach out to Sunlight Recovery at 866-449-0625 to find out more about the programs we offer.