Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world. They are typically prescribed for occasional use for people suffering from anxiety or insomnia. Unfortunately, you can develop a dependence on benzodiazepines in as little as two weeks of regular use. What’s more, they are among the most difficult drugs to quit. Quitting benzodiazepines abruptly can lead to psychosis or potentially fatal seizures. Therefore, a tapering period is typically necessary. Here’s what you can expect when quitting benzodiazepines. First, you should always taper off benzodiazepines under medical supervision. At the very least, consult with your doctor to work out a tapering schedule. Be sure to tell her all the specific substances you’ve used. Different drugs have different potencies and stay in your system a different length of time, which will affect how you experience withdrawal. The early withdrawal phase can start a few hours or a few days after your last dose, depending on the half life of the specific medication and how much you took. At this point, you are likely to experience some anxiety and insomnia in addition to whatever other symptoms the benzodiazepines were meant to treat. The severity of these symptoms depends on how aggressively you’re trying to taper. If the symptoms are intolerable, you may be able to adjust your taper to be more gradual. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that some discomfort is inevitable. After early withdrawal, usually a few days in, you will begin to experience acute withdrawal. This phase may include symptoms such as anxiety, panic, insomnia, muscle spasms, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hallucinations, cravings, mood swings, and trouble concentrating. For a short-acting drug like Xanax, this phase may last about a week, but for a long-acting drug like Valium, it may last as long as 90 days. After the acute phase of withdrawal many people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. This phase is relatively mild, but may stretch on for several months or as long as two years. During this period, you will likely experience some anxiety and insomnia. Therapy often helps and you may be prescribed some non-addictive medication as well. Since quitting benzodiazepines is such a long process, it’s rarely done in medical detox. Quitting benzodiazepines is difficult and it helps to have as much support as possible.
If you’re struggling with substance use, Recovery Ways can help. We offer intensive outpatient treatment as well as residential treatment. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.