Withdrawing from Benzodiazepines: Symptoms, Safety, and Treatment

They showed that benzodiazepine increased the incidence of non-overdose death in these patients which may be attributed to its impairment of cognition, sensory, and motor skills and increased risk of fall leading to injuries [49]. Despite the increase in risk, less than 13% of the non-overdose deaths were https://ecosoberhouse.com/ trauma related. A study investigating the prescription of opioids and BZD in veterans showed an increased risk of overdose death in veterans who have prescriptions for both BZD and opioids at the same time [50]. The dose of BZD given also positively correlated with increased risk of an overdose death [50].

Overall effects on everyday life

benzodiazepine withdrawal is a series of physical, emotional and behavior changes experienced when a person tries to reduce its dose or cease taking a benzodiazepine like Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Diazepam, Librium or Onfi. When a person becomes physically dependent on benzodiazepines their body and brain become so accustomed to having the drug that they will experience withdrawal symptoms when you cut down the dose or stop the drug. Tapering is usually done to ensure your safety and to minimize the risk of seizures during benzodiazepine withdrawal.

benzodiazepine withdrawal

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

  • If you take benzodiazepines infrequently, such as once a week or once every few weeks to treat panic attacks, you can take them for a longer period of time.
  • During your taper, you may still experience some of the symptoms of withdrawal.
  • For patients taking the equivalent of 40mg or more of diazepam, follow the high-dose benzodiazepine reducing schedule (Table 10).
  • The safest way to manage benzodiazepine withdrawal is to give benzodiazepines in gradually decreasing amounts.

Additionally, according to several studies, BZD use increases with age, with long-term usage most prevalent in the 65 and older population [16]. Long-term use is defined as two or more months at a therapeutic dose and when used long-term, BZDs pose potential harmful effects. This is especially concerning in the elderly, who are at increased risk for psychomotor impairment, car accidents, and cognitive impairment such as anterograde amnesia-diminished short-term recall, and increased forgetfulness [11]. Some additional side effects of concern include aggressive behavior and expressing anger towards others in between 1% and 20% of users [17]. The main driving factor for dependence is the development of tolerance, causing users to need increasing doses for the same symptom relief [18].

  • For a more comprehensive list that was compiled from existing lists and contributions from people experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal themselves, click here.
  • To view a comprehensive A-Z list of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, go here.
  • Low-risk patients can be managed in general practice and may benefit most from attempting withdrawal.
  • This superior effect is thought to be due to its unique alpha-2 adrenergic activity, enhancing its potency for relieving panic and anxiety disorders.

Medications for Relapse Prevention

  • Dependence on alcohol or other sedatives may increase the risk of benzodiazepine dependence, but it has proved difficult to demonstrate unequivocally differences in the relative abuse potential of individual benzodiazepines.
  • Multivitamin supplements containing B group vitamins and vitamin C are recommended.
  • The dosage is maintained for three to six months and discontinued by gradually tapering the drug over two weeks.4,9 However, desipramine is not recommended routinely for management of withdrawal.
  • Systems limitations in prescription monitoring in Australia reduce our ability to identify ‘doctor shopping’ so the presence of any aberrant drug-related behaviours should prompt further assessment and treatment.

Patients should be allowed to sleep or rest in bed if they wish, or to do moderate activities such as walking. Offer patients opportunities to engage in meditation or other calming practices. Anyone experiencing troubling symptoms from withdrawal, such as suicidal thoughts or tendencies, should seek immediate medical care. A 2018 analysis also revealed that drug misuse accounts for about 17% of benzodiazepine use among adults in the United States. Although many symptoms subside after the acute withdrawal phase, lingering side effects are possible.

benzodiazepine withdrawal

All those extra chemicals flood your brain, and the excess activity causes symptoms like anxiety and sweating. Psychotherapy can help you understand the root cause of your substance abuse problems. It can also help you learn to identify psychological triggers that may cause you to relapse so that you can avoid them in the future. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. It has been shown in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multisite trial12 to be effective as an adjunct to other forms of addiction treatment.

benzodiazepine withdrawal

By Corinne O’Keefe OsbornCorinne Osborn is an award-winning health and wellness journalist with a background in substance abuse, sexual health, and psychology. Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser.

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There are three possible phases for benzo withdrawals, each with an estimated timeline. A person should always withdraw from benzos under the guidance of a healthcare professional. They should never quit benzos suddenly without first consulting a professional and developing a plan with them. If you want to stop taking benzodiazepines after consistent long-term use, your doctor can help you gradually taper off your medication. Tapering can help take the edge off withdrawal symptoms like tremors and nausea, though it may not prevent withdrawal symptoms entirely.

Difficult tapers

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