Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are a class of medications used to treat anxiety and sleep issues. They are normally prescribed for a short time (between two and four weeks). If taken longer than that daily or on a routine, a person runs the risk of developing a tolerance to the drugs or even becoming addicted to them. Examples of benzodiazepines include:
These medications work on the Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) receptors in the brain by causing them to become more sensitive. When someone takes benzodiazepines, less GABA is produced, and these neurotransmitters calm down. As a result, the person using them feels calmer and more relaxed.
Stopping Benzo Use
While these medications are considered relatively safe when used briefly, they do have significant side effects with long-term use or when taken at higher doses than recommend by a doctor. People who are taking drugs in this class without a prescription are also at higher risk for becoming addicted, and will likely need help stopping benzodiazepine use.
Depending on how long someone has been using these types of drugs, the withdrawal symptoms could include:
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Memory loss
• Muscle and joint pain
• Nausea and vomiting
• Severe headaches
Length of Time for Benzo Detox
The exact length of time for benzo detox will depend on how long a person has been using the drug and how much they have been using. Long-term users can expect the process to take between seven and 10 days. It can take several months for a user’s brain to return to normal after having used benzodiazepines over a long time.
After detox has been completed, a drug rehab program is the next step to breaking free from a benzo substance abuse issue. This can be completed on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on each person’s needs, level of care required and recovery goals.