WHY DETOX FROM BENZOS?
In order to be safe, detox must be medically monitored by professionals trained to assist in the event of an emergency, as well as to ensure comfort and ease symptoms during withdrawal.
What Are The Dangers of Benzodiazepine At-Home Detox?
Benzodiazepine detoxification is one of the most dangerous detoxifications because it is associated with severe symptoms, such as seizures, suicidal thoughts, or even death. Seizures affect as many as 30% of people undergoing withdrawal on their own. Dependence on alcohol, drugs, or other sedatives increases benzodiazepine dependence and worsens withdrawal symptoms. At Scottsdale Detox Center, we ensure that every patient leaves our facility completely free from substance dependence.
Because people who take benzodiazepines along with other drugs face serious risks, especially when detoxing, a medically supervised detox is most recommended for staying safe and healthy and for reducing the discomfort of withdrawal. At our detox facility, patients are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by an experienced medical team. If any withdrawal symptoms surface, our physicians and nurses will administer the necessary medications to ensure that the patient remains safe and comfortable
An at-home detox from alcohol or benzodiazepines is never recommended, as these drugs can cause serious health complications during withdrawal, such as:
- Digestive discomfort
- Heart palpitations
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pain
- Delirium tremens
- Increased risk of severe symptoms with the next withdrawal attempt
At-Home Detox and Relapse Rates
The incomplete nature of at-home detox creates another danger for the individual trying to recover from benzo addiction: the risk of relapse.
Another risk is the “kindling phenomenon,” which posits that repeated relapses tend to result in more severe withdrawal symptoms with each subsequent detox.
A study from Addiction noted that the majority of people who received professional detox or substance abuse treatment were more likely to remain abstinent over time, while those who attempted to stop using or drinking on their own were more likely to relapse.
This risk can be greatly reduced through a professional treatment program, because these programs don’t focus on detox alone. Therapy, continued support, and coping strategies are provided after the detox process is over, giving the individual tools and methods to help them continue their recovery after they leave the program and return home.
At Scottsdale Detox, we help you determine your next steps after detox so that you can have a successful long-term recovery.
How Do Benzodiazepines Affect the Brain and Body?
Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs classified as depressants, and they are usually given to reduce symptoms and not to treat actual disorders. Usually, benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, agitation, or shock. Since benzodiazepines are usually used to treat symptoms rather than the deeper underlying cause, patients often find themselves developing a co-occurring disorder in which they face not only drug addiction but also an accompanying mental disorder. Therefore, we have psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists available at all times to address these specific cases and help keep patients safe and comfortable. Our team will formulate a treatment program to meet your or your loved one’s specific needs, which will set a course for long-term recovery.
Benzos have a sedative effect on the body, which means they block certain brain chemicals which cause a slowing of the brain's functions.
Over time, continued and/or heavy use of these substances can cause deep chemical changes in the brain that make an individual unable to function properly without the substance. This results in dependence on the substance, which is an indication of addiction.
One might think that the best way to stop the addiction/dependence is to simply stop using the substance, however the changes in the brain caused by these chemicals result in a real, physical need for the substance, and the body will react to the loss of the chemicals by producing withdrawal symptoms.
When a person who has developed addiction to benzos attempts to stop all use abruptly, or “cold-turkey,”the withdrawal symptoms follow with somewhat predictable timing. These symptoms have a range of effects on the individual’s physical and mental health, depending on the length of use and severity of addiction involved. In fact, because of the effects of these withdrawal processes, doctors often refer to them as “syndromes.”
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome
Similar to alcohol withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome can result in the following symptoms, according to a study in the journal Addiction:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Hand tremors
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry retching and nausea
- Weight loss
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Psychotic events
Again, while many of these symptoms may seem to be mild, they can progress in waves over the course of days, weeks, or even months, and they can cause physical harm or death. Seizures, in particular, are a major risk during benzo detox.
What Happens During A Medically Assisted Detox?
Many people use benzodiazepines to treat short-term stress, while others use them for chronic anxiety disorders. However, some of these people can develop an addiction to these drugs.
Medical detoxification involves tapering down the amount of drugs taken by reducing doses or switching to another type of benzodiazepine, eventually leading to complete cessation of use.
During a medically assisted detox, you will be given special medications that slow down the speed in which chemicals in your brain return to pre-addiction levels.
During your detox, you will be closely monitored by our team of health professionals.
Before your detox begins, you will be thoroughly examined from both a physical and psychological standpoint. Any pre-existing medical conditions will also influence the manner in which your detox treatment will proceed.
Our expert clinical team will monitor your detox closely and increase your dosage of medication if you begin to experience any breakthrough withdrawal symptoms. We also offer IV Therapy and additional treatments to lessen our patient's symptoms and to ensure a safe and comfortable detox.
Struggling with addiction is hard enough, and trying to do it alone is practically impossible. Misuse of drugs or alcohol hides the underlying causes of your addiction and these will continue to disrupt your life until they are uncovered and addressed.
If you are reading this right now and need to change things in your life, please call us now. We understand how you feel and the struggle to pick up the phone. Our staff recognizes that people who try to quit by themselves oftentimes get frustrated and feel helpless when they can’t. You can, and we can help.