Withdrawal from benzos can be uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. It may also lead to severe symptoms that prompt the question: “Can benzo withdrawal kill you?” This is especially true for individuals who attempt to go through the benzo withdrawal process without professional care. Deaths due to benzo withdrawal are indeed rare, but they have occurred.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, often referred to as “benzos,” are a class of psychoactive depressant drugs primarily used for their sedative and relaxing effects. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies them as Schedule IV drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. They are one of the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide due to their effectiveness in managing a range of medical conditions.
Here’s a closer look at benzodiazepines:
Benzodiazepines have legitimate medical uses and are typically prescribed by healthcare professionals to treat various conditions, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Seizure disorders
- Muscle relaxation
- Alcohol withdrawal
There are numerous benzodiazepines available. Thus, each with different properties and durations of action. Some of the more commonly prescription benzodiazepines include the following:
- Diazepam (Valium): Used for anxiety, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal.
- Alprazolam (Xanax): Often prescribed for panic disorders and generalized anxiety disorder.
- Lorazepam (Ativan): Used to treat anxiety and as a preoperative sedative.
- Clonazepam (Klonopin): Primarily prescribed for seizure disorders and panic disorders.
- Temazepam (Restoril): Used to treat insomnia.
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium): Prescribed for anxiety and alcohol withdrawal.
How Benzos Work
Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain that inhibits neuronal activity. Essentially, they increase the calming effect of GABA, which leads to reduced anxiety, muscle relaxation, sedation, and, in some cases, anticonvulsant effects.
Risk of Dependence and Addiction
Benzodiazepines are effective medications. But they also carry a risk of dependence and addiction. Especially, when used for extended periods or in higher doses than prescribed. Tolerance (needing more of the drug to achieve the same effect) and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation can develop with long-term use.
Caution and Responsible Use
Due to the potential for dependence, it’s crucial for individuals taking benzodiazepines to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions carefully. It’s generally recommended to use them for short-term relief of symptoms whenever possible.
In summary, benzodiazepines are a class of medications with valuable therapeutic applications. However, they must be used responsibly under medical supervision to minimize the risk of dependence and adverse effects. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting or stopping any benzodiazepine medication
Can Benzo Withdrawal Can Kill You?
Abruptly stopping benzodiazepines after long-term use can result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, and even seizures. Therefore, discontinuation should be supervised by a healthcare provider, who may taper the dosage gradually to minimize these effects. But, can benzo withdrawal kill you?
Deaths due to benzo withdrawal are rare, though they have occurred. The best way to ensure someone remains safe during the withdrawal period is to attend a professional benzodiazepine detoxification program at a reputable treatment facility. In addition to minimizing the likelihood of death by benzo withdrawal, a medical detox program also helps individuals develop the skills needed for a successful recovery from benzo addiction.
The severity of benzo withdrawal symptoms varies depending on a variety of individual factors. These factors include how long a person has been dependent on benzos, the amount and frequency of their benzo use, and whether or not they also struggle with other substance use disorders or co-occurring mental health disorders.
The many possible symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
- Tremors and uncontrolled shaking
- Racing heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Excessive perspiration
- Severe headaches
- Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Suicidal thoughts
- Convulsions and seizures
Some of these symptoms can be life-threatening without effective medical attention. Experiencing multiple severe withdrawal symptoms at once without proper care places a person at increased risk for a host of negative outcomes. These outcomes include a return to substance use, adverse physical or mental health complications, and even death.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. When a person starts by completing benzo detoxification and moves on to a personalized treatment plan, they can avoid further harm and begin to heal from any physical, mental, emotional, or social damage they’ve experienced as a result of their benzo abuse.
Safe and Effective Benzo Addiction Help
Many people who develop an addiction to benzodiazepine struggle with negative feelings such as shame, guilt, isolation, and loss of hope. Combined with powerful cravings and other physical symptoms of benzo withdrawal, these feelings keep people trapped in the cycle of addiction. Fortunately, help is available, and treatment works.
The safest way to ensure an individual’s well-being during the withdrawal process is to undergo a benzodiazepine detoxification program at a reputable treatment facility such as Brentwood Springs Detox in Nashville, TN. Consequently, this not only minimizes the possibility of harm from benzo withdrawal but also assists in developing the skills needed for successful recovery from benzo addiction.
In many cases, getting help for benzo addiction begins with detoxification, or “detox.” Detox is the first step and short-term process that allows people to rid their bodies of toxins and addictive substances. Additionally, Brentwood Springs Detox offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help lessen withdrawal symptoms during the process.
While in detox, clients will be under the care of compassionate trained professionals who carefully monitor each client’s health and help them manage any withdrawal symptoms they experience. Once clients successfully complete benzo detoxification, we help them transition into the next phase of their personalized treatment plan. This involves developing the skills that support long-term recovery.
If You’re Worrying, “Can Benzo Withdrawal Kill You?” Contact Us
Don’t let benzo addiction rob you of one more day. At Brentwood Springs Detox Center in Nashville, Tennessee, we specialize in supervised medical detox in a safe and comfortable setting. Our programs make the process of detoxification safe and effective.
Contact us today to learn more about our approach to addiction treatment and benzo detox.