How Can I Manage Withdrawal Symptoms Associated With Benzodiazepine Addiction?

Living with anxiety can be mentally crippling. It can also make someone feel extremely self-conscious. An individual with anxiety may avoid finding help as they may already lack self-esteem and confidence in certain settings. Therefore, speaking with a professional in therapy may be difficult. To find relief, they may seek prescription medications that provide calm such as benzodiazepines. However, these drugs can foster dependency and addiction in vulnerable individuals. Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to overcome, making it hard to break the cycle of benzodiazepine addiction.

Professional help can sometimes make a world of difference. Seeking care with 12 South Recovery can bring a positive change for individuals who need balance and support during the difficult phases of recovery. Sometimes a team of specialists can bring positive direction and encouragement to individuals who need it most.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

As stated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), benzodiazepines can make a person feel calm. This class of medications is clinically known as depressants. Depressants work to slow down the nervous system by producing sedative effects. Benzodiazepines relieve symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and muscle spasms, and even work to reduce seizures. Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Halcion, and Klonopin are a few of the most common benzodiazepine prescription drugs today. A few street names can be recognized by the slang terms “benzos” and “downers.”

Young adults and adolescents are known to frequently misuse these drugs. Ways to misuse these drugs include taking more than recommended or crushing it up and snorting it to gain a strong sense of euphoria. Those who use heroin and cocaine are also more likely to abuse benzodiazepines. Individuals who take opioids often co-abuse these drugs to increase their desired effects.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

Prolonged use of benzodiazepines can lead to high tolerance and physical dependency. As stated previously, this may be accompanied by extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. According to the journal Addiction, withdrawal symptoms from a required dosage can include anxiety and insomnia and may be very short-lived. Coming off of high doses or short-acting benzodiazepines appears to cause more severe withdrawal symptoms. These may include serious effects such as psychotic reactions and seizures. If an individual has developed a strong dependence on alcohol or other sedatives, they may be at an increased risk of developing a benzodiazepine dependence. Additional withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and tension
  • Panic attacks
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Lack of concentration
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Perceptual changes

Self-Help Strategies to Cope With Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepine addiction can be difficult to face alone. A psychiatrist may advise an individual to gradually decrease their prescription dosage to prevent intense withdrawal symptoms. Applying new skills learned in therapy can be very helpful. Practicing self-help strategies outside of professional treatment can vastly help one overcome the vigorous cycle of benzodiazepine addiction. Starting self-care techniques can greatly increase one’s self-esteem and confidence in safely managing withdrawal symptoms without relapse. A few self-help practices may include:

  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Exercise and strength training
  • Journal writing about symptoms
  • Pausing and reflecting before responding
  • Eating nutritious meals
  • Sticking to a structured sleep schedule
  • Participating in relaxation techniques
  • Thinking positive thoughts

Seeking Professional Care For Benzodiazepine Addiction

Seeking professional treatment can help a person acquire new strategies and relief from benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. It can be helpful to research different facilities and their specialties to ensure a more personalized focus of care. For example, 12 South Recovery is an Orange County drug rehab facility that hosts various programs to assist individuals who are coping with withdrawal symptoms and addiction.

Combining therapy and medical support can help individuals safely yet effectively stop using benzodiazepines. Further, they can learn the skills needed to cope with anxiety and panic disorders. Different approaches such as behavioral therapies, holistic therapy, and one-on-one counseling can help people better manage stress.

Moving Forward

One helpful strategy is to write in a journal about progress made during treatment. This way, a person can report symptoms and concerns to professionals who can help them develop or change the care plan if necessary. Reaching out to family and friends can also provide the support needed while going through the roller coaster of emotions in recovery.

Learning the coping mechanisms to stay abstinent from drugs can prevent a dangerous relapse. Practicing sober activities such as reading, walking, dancing, or playing sports can serve as a positive outlet. Participating in group therapy can be a comfortable place to confide in others with similar goals. Making new connections can bring new opportunities as well.

Furthermore, committing to treatment, practicing self-help strategies, and staying abstinent from benzodiazepines can lead to a more healthy and mentally stable future. Learning to cope with anxiety and stress without depending on benzodiazepines is the goal. Acceptance and forgiveness are also some of the most important steps for moving forward with a positive mindset. Benzodiazepine addiction can be challenging to treat, but it is not impossible to overcome.

Benzodiazepines are highly addictive. Furthermore, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous to one’s mental and physical health. Seeking professional care can help individuals safely recover from benzodiazepines addiction. As a licensed and Joint Commission-accredited mental health treatment center, 12 South Recovery is a leader in Orange County mental health treatment. Our team is focused on offering the best in medical and therapeutic care. The knowledgeable and empathetic staff members ensure everyone in our care receives the best possible treatment. We use evidence-based treatments to effectively help our clients overcome addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. If you or a loved one are in need of additional support, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to learn more. 

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