Benzo Withdrawal


What is benzo withdrawal syndrome?

Benzo or benzodiazepines is a drug that belongs to the category of sedatives. They are used as medication to treat insomnia, seizures, anxiety and to aid in muscle relaxation and recovery from treatment of alcohol dependence. They enhance the effect of neurotransmitters called gamma – aminoburytic acid which reduce activities of neurons that cause stress.

People are addicted to it due to its anti-anxiety, hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxing properties. Hence, when a person stops using the drug, the brain cannot cope with its absence and suffers from benzo withdrawal syndrome.

Benzo Withdrawal

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Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Aches & pains
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Dysphoria
  • Diarrhea
  • Double vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Increased sensitivity to touch and sound
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Perspiration
  • Paranoia
  • Stiffness
  • Tremors
  • Postural hypotension
  • Paraesthesia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Metallic taste
  • Mood swings

Assessment

  • A complete enquiry should be made about the medical history of the patient
  • Dosage and frequency of the intake should be known
  • Doctor must know how long the drug has been taken
  • Lab tests should be conducted to recognize the toxins that affect the brain and body
  • Speaking to a psychiatrist helps to reveal the hidden reasons behind the addiction

Treatment

  • Use of the medication should be weaned away gradually rather than suddenly stopping its use.
  • Consult a psychiatrist to speak openly about their problems which improves chances of getting rid of the addiction
  • Suggesting alternatives for the medication can help to combat the situation
  • Interact with groups or others who have undergone rehabilitation to get motivation
  • Support from near and dear ones is important to overcome the addiction

Prevention

  • Medication should not be used unless it has been prescribed by a doctor
  • Dosage and frequency of the intake should be as prescribed
  • In case a pattern of dependency is observed, alternate medication needs to be prescribed by the doctor

How long does it take to detox from benzodiazepines?

Complete detoxification of benzo from the body depends on the frequency and dosage of its use. However, generally the time taken for benzo detox is about 10 weeks.

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