Benzodiazepine withdrawal happens when your loved one attempts to stop taking this medication that’s commonly prescribed for anxiety. The symptoms of withdrawal range in degree from insomnia to seizures and may be influenced by several factors:
- How long the patient has been taking the drug.
- Other drugs taken in combination with the benzodiazepine.
- Dosage strength.
- Patient’s history of vulnerability to chemical dependency.
While there aren’t many hard answers to what exactly makes one person more susceptible to benzodiazepine dependency than another, the factors listed here are suspect, according to the National Institutes of Health.
What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines come close to topping the list of the most commonly prescribed medications in America, and you’re likely to recognize their more-commonly used names immediately:
Though there are many other brand names for this type of medication, the four listed here are the most prescribed, according to the Academy of American Family Physicians. The clinical uses of these drugs include treatment for phobias, PTSD, acute anxiety, seizure disorders, muscle spasms, and panic disorder. But that’s only a small portion of the reasons why doctors prescribe these tranquilizers.
If your family member was prescribed high dosages of this drug over a long period of time, they may experience benzodiazepine withdrawal if they attempt to stop taking it.
Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
The symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal from this drug range from mildly irritating to life-threatening:
- Tremors of the hand
- Weight loss
- Psychotic episodes
If someone you love is attempting to withdraw from benzodiazepine, encourage them to seek medical intervention.
How to Stop Taking This Drug Safely
The safest way to stop taking benzodiazepine is under the close supervision of trained medical personnel. According to information published at Benzo.org, treatment involves tapering slowly off the drug by decreasing dosage over time. Attempting to stop abruptly can have traumatic consequences, including inducement of a psychotic state and convulsions. Psychological therapy has also been proven effective when used in conjunction with a slow cessation of usage. If you’re seeking help for someone who is addicted to benzodiazepine and wants to stop taking it, keep this information in mind.
How Addiction Treatment Centers Can Help
Four pillars of treatment are utilized to help achieve the most successful recovery:
Most drug addictions, including those involving tranquilizers, cause changes to take place in areas of the brain that control judgment and behavior. An aggressive nutritional plan that is rich in amino acids is vital to help repair the damage done to the brain. At the same time, regular sessions of psychotherapy help patients reconnect with estranged friends and family members to help support them throughout recovery.
Compassionate and highly trained staff understand what’s involved in resolving an addiction to benzodiazepine. When you trust treatment centers with recovery, your loved one will enjoy the most innovative, new treatments to ensure his success.
- H. Petursson, The Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome, National Institutes of Health, Retrieved on May 3, 2015 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7841856.
- Lance P. Longo, MD and Brian Johnson; Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines — Side Effects, Abuse Risk, and Alternatives; Academy of American Family Physicians; Retrieved on April 3, 2015 from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0401/p2121.html
- Heather Ashton, The Diagnosis and Management of Benzodiazepine Dependence; Benzo.org; Retrieved on May 3, 2015 from http://www.benzo.org.uk/amisc/ashdiag.pdf.