If benzodiazepines are prescribed, it is usually to treat symptoms of anxiety. Sometimes these medications may be misused to self-medicate or provide temporary relief.
Since benzodiazepines are often prescribed for their calming effects, therapies that focus on reducing stress and anxiety, and that provide healthy coping mechanisms and new life skills, can be effective. Behavioural therapies can work to discover potential emotional or environmental triggers that may increase anxiety and the likelihood of a relapse, and they can retrain negative behaviour patterns and thoughts into more positive ones, improving self-esteem and increasing self-worth.
You should never attempt to stop taking benzodiazepines suddenly on your own as this can lead to a rebound effect as your brain attempts to restore a natural balance, and in the worst-case scenario, suddenly stopping can cause seizures.
Untreated withdrawal symptoms may also vary in severity and duration. They may include side effects, such as:
- Anxiety, sometimes severe
- Muscle weakness or tension
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle aches
- Blurred vision
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory issues
- Numbness or tingling
More serious side effects may also occur including hallucinations, confusion or delirium, severe seizures, or psychosis.
If an individual is experiencing any dependence symptoms listed above, detox is required for effectively removing the drug from the body.
Benzodiazepine detox can be more challenging if there is long term misuse of very high doses, and we approach each case on an individual basis, taking into account the length of time they’ve been taken, the amount and route in which they were taken e.g. oral/intravenous, your level of dependency, and other personal factors
We try hard to control the withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines during a detox and we are proud of the feedback that our patients give us on the Bonds detox process. We specialise in detox using non-addictive medication to make it as comfortable as possible.
Once the drugs are out of your system, we may use medications to help craving such as Naltrexone to support abstinence. However, probably the most important thing to plan for after detox is to treat the underlying anxiety which will resurface. Without a strong and clear plan to treat this, the risk of relapse to benzodiazepines is high. At The BONDS Clinic, we specialise in holistic treatment plans to tackle challenges like this when there is combined mental health and substance misuse/addiction, which is called Dual Diagnosis.