a person covered in a blanket shivers and pulls their arms around themself to show the dangers of benzo withdrawal

Dangers of Benzo Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines, or benzos as commonly called, are a class of chemical compounds included in many medications. These medications are most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and sleep disturbance. While they can be very helpful when used correctly, they also have high addiction potential. Moreover, the dangers of benzo withdrawal are considerable, and if you or a loved one has become dependent, getting free from the drug may require professional help. To learn more about getting help at a benzodiazepine detox center, contact The Right Step Hill Country in Wimberley, TX, today. Our knowledgeable staff is standing by at 1.844.675.1628 or online to answer questions about our effective offerings or make a referral.  

What Are Benzodiazepines and What Are the Dangers of Withdrawal?  

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that act as depressants on the central nervous system. They can reduce fight/flight responses and promote relaxation and sleep. Specifically, benzos increase the activity of dopamine and GABA, two brain chemicals known to contribute to a person’s sense of calm as well as their muscular state of relaxation.  

Dopamine is also a key chemical in the brain’s reward system. It causes feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Ordinary activities such as exercise, eating, and sex can all trigger increases in dopamine. When a drug like a benzo artificially raises dopamine activity, however, it can easily prove addictive. GABA is what’s known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it lowers nerve cells’ ability to transmit chemical messages to one another. Thus, when they would otherwise convey messages related to stress or excitation, higher GABA levels reduce these signals and their resulting physical and mental effects.  

Over time and at high doses, benzos can cause the brain to effectively “forget” how to produce and regulate normal levels of GABA and dopamine, causing the person using the drug to crave more and more to maintain a basic sense of well-being. In such cases, the affected person can be considered tolerant and dependent on the benzo. When they attempt to quit on their own, very unpleasant and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms can occur, such as:  

  • The return and worsening of conditions such as acute anxiety or insomnia that benzos were initially used to treat 
  • Muscle aches, stiffness, or pain 
  • Trembling and hypersensitivity 
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities  
  • Epileptic seizures 
  • Increased heart rate and palpitations 
  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbance 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Hallucinations or delusions  
  • Paranoia and panic attacks 
  • Psychosis 
  • Depression  
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Short-term memory loss 
  • Suicidal ideation  

These signs can be challenging to manage.

Offset the Risks of Benzo Withdrawal with Qualified Detox and Treatment Services  

In a benzo treatment center, you or your loved one can get the quality care needed to move through the withdrawal process safely and effectively. During early recovery, the body must rid itself of any benzos or other drugs currently affecting it. This phase is called detoxification, and it’s best to go through it in a rehab hospital setting. In this way, you can receive 24/7 care and supervision from a team of doctors and other healthcare professionals who monitor your vitals and may administer pain medication to help manage symptoms like nausea and muscle aches. 

Following detox, effective treatment should include substantial individual counseling. This often takes the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is highly effective for substance abuse recovery since it empowers patients to control their thoughts. In CBT, you’ll learn to reframe negative self-talk and get to the root of your substance abuse. Dialectical-behavioral therapy is likewise effective in individual counseling since it gives patients a leg up in building tolerance for unpleasant mental and emotional experiences and teaches mindfulness techniques helpful to letting go of negative experiences.  

Group work is likewise highly effective in rehab settings. Patients can benefit from peer support, increased accountability, and concrete practice for healthier interpersonal relationships following treatment. Group work might be a 12-step program, formal group therapy meetings with a psychologist, or a holistic approach like yoga or equine therapy. Whatever the methodology, building community in recovery can be a game-changer for people striving to gain freedom from the isolating world of substance dependence.  

Learn More About Benzo Detox and Treatment at Hill Country Today 

If you or a loved one is living with benzodiazepine use disorder, know you’re not alone. Due to their prescription prevalence and high addiction potential, benzos are very commonly abused. While this is undoubtedly a societal problem that needs to be addressed, it also means that highly effective treatment has been developed. Call the caring team at Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628 or message us online to learn more about getting help today. 

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