Benzodiazepine Detox in Michigan
Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. They are commonly referred to as ‘benzos’ for short. In fact, many experts are warning that the next major drug crisis will be a benzodiazepine epidemic, making the need for benzo detox more vital each and every year. This is because of several factors, including the incredible rise in benzodiazepine prescriptions.
From 1996 to 2013, the number of Americans who were prescribed benzodiazepines increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million — the equivalent of 67%. A large majority of these prescriptions are coming from primary care doctors rather than mental health professionals. Unfortunately, not everyone who is prescribed this type of medication will take it as directed. Benzodiazepines are currently playing a major role in opioid overdose death rates as well, with 30% of fatal opioid overdoses involving benzos. Since these drugs have a high potential for abuse, people who get addicted often turn to benzodiazepine detox and rehab programs for help.
Drug addiction isn’t easy to navigate, which is why our experts are here to help. Although the first step towards recovery is detoxing, most people need counseling, rehabilitation, aftercare, and help from support groups to remain sober. Here’s everything you need to know about benzo dependence and how our Michigan benzodiazepine detox program can help you start your journey.
Commonly Prescribed Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that help treat anxiety and panic disorders. However, they are also taken for off-label purposes such as in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal and epileptic seizures. In the United States, the most common mental illness is anxiety, with approximately 40 million people (or 18% of the population) experiencing it. This is the primary reason why benzodiazepines are so readily available, as millions of people are prescribed them each year. Some of the most commonly prescribed and abused benzodiazepines include:
Benzodiazepines increase GABA in the brain when taken as prescribed. GABA minimizes activity in parts of the brain that control rational thought, emotions, memory, and physical functions like breathing. Benzodiazepines produce a sedative effect, allowing for a decrease in symptoms of anxiety. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines are extremely dangerous when abused and people who use them long-term may become physically and mentally addicted.
Benzodiazepine Addiction and Dependence
People who are addicted to benzodiazepines regularly seek these drugs in a compulsive and habitual way. They are also likely to engage in risky behaviors that stem from their addiction, such as:
- Withdrawing from others
- Sudden loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Mood swings
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Deceptive behavior
Benzodiazepine addiction has the potential to cause an array of problems in a person’s life, ranging from job loss, divorce, and custody battles to mental illness, self-harm, and health issues. Arguably one of the most concerning side effects of benzodiazepine addiction is the development and continuation of dependence.
Dependence occurs when a person has used an addictive substance to the point where his or her body can no longer function without it. It takes time for the body to adjust to functioning without the substance and this adjustment period is when withdrawal symptoms set in. As a result, when a person who is physically dependent stops their benzo use or decreases how much they are consuming, withdrawal symptoms may develop. Benzo withdrawal is notoriously painful, as it often includes symptoms such as:
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid breathing
- Poor concentration
Additionally, benzo withdrawal produces what is known as a “rebound effect.” This means the cessation of benzodiazepines triggers the onset of anxiety symptoms. These symptoms are overwhelming and sometimes drive people to use again in order to cope with their symptoms. This painful cycle of drug addiction is extremely dangerous and, in many cases, deadly.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Phases
According to the National Library of Medicine, benzodiazepine detox must be able to manage three major phases of the withdrawal process from benzodiazepines.
These phases include:
- One to four days after discontinuation of benzodiazepines often results in rebound effects, such as insomnia and increased anxiety.
- Full-blown benzodiazepine withdrawal lasts an additional 10-14 days. This includes the symptoms mentioned above, although there are dozens of more potential symptoms an individual may experience.
- Some examples are:
- Blurred vision
- Mood swings
- Electric shock sensations
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Flu-like symptoms
- Chest pain
- The protracted symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal, which are most notably a return of anxiety and insomnia once again, and until some alternative therapy is instituted. These prolonged symptoms can linger for several weeks or months, depending on the length and severity of benzodiazepine use.
The Dangers of Detoxing At Home
Benzodiazepine detox does not always result in life-threatening physical symptoms, such as seizures. However, without medical supervision, an individual who is attempting to detox at home may become a danger to themselves or others. This is due to some of the mood and perceptual distortions associated with the withdrawal symptoms.
For example, the increased agitation, anxiety, and paranoia that many individuals experience during benzodiazepine detox are often too unbearable for them to abstain from acting aggressively, and violently towards themselves or (more commonly) others. Increased aggression and agitation necessitates the gradual tapering from benzodiazepines to prevent these severe acute withdrawal symptoms. However, these medications must be administered by a medical professional.
Another common danger associated with the detox process occurs within individuals who become addicted to benzodiazepines and do not comply with their doctor’s instructions. Since drug detox is often a long, multiple-week-long process, most people complete it on an outpatient basis, checking in with their general practitioner regularly throughout the process.
Outpatient Treatment Risks for Benzodiazepine Abuse
- Engage in doctor shopping and obtain prescriptions for benzodiazepines from multiple physicians, eliminating any chance for the completion of detox.
- Obtain more benzodiazepines from overseas online pharmacies, which can be very dangerous. Online pharmacies operate overseas, where lax drug standards and enforcement may allow the sale of benzodiazepines with dangerous drugs in them that are not allowed in the benzodiazepines sold in the United States.
- Lie about the severity of symptoms to the point of which a doctor may feel obligated to slow the tapering process, or prescribe dosages of benzodiazepines not intended for detoxification.
In cases of benzodiazepine addiction and abuse, many people experience paradoxical effects. For example, this means they have increased energy and lowered inhibitions. Although rare (less than 1%), this can result in self-harm and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Benzodiazepine Detox in Michigan
Someone who struggles with benzodiazepine dependence will likely experience some level of withdrawal when they stop using the drug. Unlike most other drugs, the sudden cessation of benzo use can be fatal. Seizures, in particular, are the most deadly threat to those detoxing cold turkey from these substances. However, people who detox under the care of medical professionals will avoid life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
There is no doubt that addiction is an insidious disease, however, that could not be more obvious when it comes to some of the withdrawal symptoms that people experience long after completing a medical detox program. For example, some symptoms like depression and anxiety may persist for a few years after a person stops abusing drugs. Sadly, the risk of relapse increases substantially when these conditions are not properly treated.
If you are addicted to Xanax, hooked on Ativan, or can’t stop combining Klonopin with other drugs of abuse, our benzodiazepine detox in Michigan is here to help.
Benzodiazepine detox is completed through gradually tapering a patient off of the substance using medically assisted treatment. To explain, doctors will slowly reduce the dosage of benzodiazepines over a period of several weeks. Typically, tapering is done at a rate of about 10% per week. This may vary depending on the individual and severity of his or her symptoms. It can also be difficult to gauge how to taper an individual since the symptoms tend to wax and wane. This could mean that one week, withdrawal symptoms may seem to be manageable, and the next week, an individual may be suffering from the most severe symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Furthermore, depending on the type of benzodiazepine an individual has been taking, a longer-acting, and a less potent drug may be used for the tapering process. Some benzodiazepines are more powerful and short-acting, such as Xanax (Alprazolam) and Klonopin (Clonazepam). For individuals who need assistance detoxing from drugs like these, medical professionals may prescribe a drug like Valium (Diazepam) or Librium (Chlordiazepoxide). Both of these benzodiazepines are long-acting, and remain active in the brain for several more hours than short-acting benzodiazepines, allowing for a gradual reduction without severe withdrawal symptoms.
Do You Need Benzo Detox?
If you are addicted to benzos, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to reach out for help from an addiction treatment center. Detoxing without any professional help or supervision can be deadly. It does not matter if you have a Librium addiction, a Xanax addiction, or an addiction to any other type of benzo. Asking for help can save your life.
So do not wait any longer. Our comprehensive substance abuse treatment program in Michigan offers benzodiazepine detox services, residential care, and aftercare treatment. Call us today.