Benzodiazepine Detox in Tennessee
The drug crisis in the United States remains a leading cause of death as overdoses and addiction continue to run rampant. Among the drugs that are causes for concern are benzodiazepines, usually referred to as “benzos.” Although generally intended to treat a range of anxiety disorders, benzodiazepines used in excess or recreationally can be extremely addictive and contribute to the American drug crisis. Nashville Detox offers professional and compassionate benzo detox services to ensure a full and safe recovery.
What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription depressant drugs intended to relieve severe symptoms of anxiety and other comparable nervous system disorders. When used as directed, they function by altering the neurotransmitters in the brain. In doing this, they change communication between the brain and nervous system to intentionally increase pain-reducing chemicals.
The neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is thought to have a primary role in the function of the nervous system. GABA can regulate nerves and produce calming and stress-relieving effects, essentially acting as a natural sedative for the central nervous system. Excess activity in the central nervous system has been shown to be a direct cause of anxiety and other similar disorders. Benzodiazepines work by increasing GABA function to suppress overactive nerve stimulation.
When used occasionally and for real medical purposes, benzodiazepines can reduce pain and anxiety temporarily. When abused, however, the body begins to rely directly on the drug for what should be a natural regulation of the nervous system. The result is a partial or complete physical and mental dependence on benzos for normal bodily function.
What are Commonly Prescribed and Abused Benzodiazepines?
There are many different benzodiazepines being both prescribed and abused. Different benzos work differently. It’s important for anyone being prescribed this type of medication to know how their specific prescription is intended to be taken.
The three main categories of benzodiazepines can be broken down into long-acting benzodiazepines, intermediate-acting benzodiazepines, and short-acting benzodiazepines. These terms all correspond with how soon the effects are felt and how long they last. Since short-acting benzos mean that the effects disappear more quickly, they can be more addictive and cause stronger withdrawal effects quicker.
Some of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include:
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Clorazepate (Tranxene)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
This list only consists of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines, but there are many other varieties of benzos currently being distributed. These drugs alone can be addictive and dangerous when not used properly, and they’re even more dangerous when mixed with other drugs like opiates. Unfortunately, it’s common for people with drug addictions to mix different pills together. This can result in physical dependence to multiple drugs, as well as increased chances of overdose or severe harm.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Statistics
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research shows that between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by a whopping 67%, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. This statistic only exhibits the legally prescribed benzos and does not take into consideration the many people who use and distribute them illegally.
In Tennessee alone, deaths from benzos decreased slightly (3%) but are still high at 395 in 2020. On the other hand, deaths from benzos and opiates combined increased by 3% to 363 since 2016.
Nationally, benzodiazepines are increasing yearly as a cause of death, overdose, and injury. Research suggests that easy access to these types of prescriptions could be a reason for the rapid increase in abuse.
Benzo Addiction Symptoms and Signs
Benzodiazepines are a highly addictive and potentially dangerous class of drugs. Even if someone is prescribed the medication by a doctor, they could still be abusing their prescription and develop an addiction. In some cases, physical dependence is formed just through taking the medication exactly as prescribed. There is no shortage of individuals who form an addiction due to the withdrawal effects they experience in between taking their prescribed dose. The following list includes symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction. If you recognize any of the following in yourself or a loved one, talk to someone about seeking benzo detox and addiction treatment.
Physical Benzo Addiction Symptoms
- Blurred vision
- Disorientation or strange walking patterns
- Muscle fatigue or spasms
- Memory loss
Emotional Benzo Addiction Symptoms
- Depression or anxiety
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Mood swings
- Irritability or “lashing out”
- Relying on benzo’s for mood stabilization
Other Benzo Addiction Symptoms
- Running out of a prescription early
- Taking Benzos without a prescription often
- Being extremely defensive of benzo addiction
These are some of the more common signs and symptoms of benzo addiction, but if you or someone you know is taking them and develops new or strange behaviors, seek medical attention for potential addiction. For those suffering from co-occurring mental disorders such as anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor beforehand and keep an extra eye out for symptoms as mental health conditions pose higher risks of addiction.
What are the Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal?
If someone is addicted to benzodiazepines, they will experience withdrawal symptoms as a result of completely ceasing their use of benzos or going too long without them. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in a professional benzo detox with the intent to withdraw. However, these can also develop involuntary from denying the body of benzos for a longer than usual period of time. The withdrawal period can be painful and agonizing if the individual has formed a physical dependence on the drug.
Some of the symptoms of benzo withdrawal will include:
- Tension or agitation
- Difficulty walking
- Disorientation or changes in perception
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Extreme cravings for benzodiazepines
- Cold and hot flashes
- Severe depression
What is the Benzo Detox and Withdrawal Timeline?
To recover from an addiction to benzodiazepines, individuals must go through the initial period of time where they stop using the drug, which is referred to as the detox period. The benzodiazepine detox period usually lasts about 1-2 weeks depending on the severity of the addiction, and during this time the withdrawal symptoms will be at their peak. The two main stages of benzo withdrawal are the acute benzo withdrawal stage and the protracted benzo withdrawal stage.
Acute Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Although each individual will experience a different detox and withdrawal, there is a general timeline to be expected. Initial benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms usually appear within a few hours of stopping the drug. This can include the symptoms of anxiety, tension, and disorientation. These symptoms will become more intense over the next two days, usually peaking on day 2 or 3 and slowly lessening by days 4 and 5. This detox period is considered the acute benzodiazepine withdrawal stage.
Protracted Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Once the initial detox period has ended, it’s common to experience lingering symptoms for anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks post acute withdrawal. This is known as the protracted benzo withdrawal stage, where detox is complete but symptoms are still experienced. This period of time can include symptoms like anxiety, depression, general malaise, and memory problems. Professional addiction recovery and detox centers can connect individuals experiencing these symptoms with medical resources and care programs.
Treatment Options for Benzodiazepine Addiction
Benzodiazepine addiction can take a toll on every aspect of someone’s life. The best way to ensure a safe and successful recovery is to seek professional care from a certified benzo detox and addiction recovery center in Tennessee.
Benzo detox should always be completed under the care of professionals. During detox, individuals will live in the medical center for the duration of the detox period and have access to 24-hour care. Medically trained professionals will be able to monitor symptoms and identify any unforeseen medical needs that are cause for concern. Detoxing can be painful and in some cases, dangerous. Your body is learning to function in a completely new way, and it’s best to be under the supervision of medically trained staff.
Addiction Treatment after Detox
Once the initial benzo detox period is complete, there is still a lot of work to be done. Detox is a crucial step in ridding your body of benzos, but long-term care can ensure you gain the mental and physical coping skills to avoid future use or addiction relapse. Addiction is a complex disease that goes beyond the drug itself. Long-term care such as residential treatment programs or outpatient recovery programs can help individuals find the root cause of their addiction and help them build a plan to live a healthy and full life drug free.
Find Treatment at Nashville Detox
The only way to be sure benzodiazepines don’t take control of your life is to recover from your addiction fully. If you or someone you know is looking for addiction detox treatment centers in Tennessee for benzodiazepine addiction, visit our website to find out more about our services. We are passionate about helping clients overcome their struggles, learn new ways of living, and achieve personal growth in so many ways. Speak to our dedicated staff, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have and direct you to the best treatment options.