Benzodiazepine Rehab & Addiction Treatment
All drugs, even medicinal drugs like benzodiazepine, can lead to addiction if taken in excess. At Rehab Recovery, we have a professional and extensive understanding of how consuming and overwhelming addiction to prescription drugs can be. This is why our benzodiazepine rehab options are second to none: we are here to help you.
Drug addiction is a difficult habit to overcome alone: addiction is a brain disease. The chemicals in narcotics alter the brain’s functioning which affects your choices, your actions, and the way you feel.
Your dopamine receptors are responsible for the pleasure you receive performing certain activities. This means that when using drugs, the high you feel from the drug will eventually take priority over other activities with extended use, and soon you will require more of the drug to maintain your sense of pleasure.
What are benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines (or “benzos”) are a type of pharmaceutical drug that operates on the central nervous system. More specifically they attach to gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors in the brain and reduce stimulation of the nerves. It has a calming effect on the user.
What are they used for?
Benzos can be used to treat:
Who might be prescribed Benzodiazepines?
People suffering from severe anxiety, sleeping disorders, and panic attacks, enough to significantly impact their daily life, can benefit from taking benzodiazepines. Benzos are not always suitable for every uncomfortable emotion, such as grieving and bereavement.
Taking benzos for longer than 4 weeks is not recommended because they are a very addictive sedative. Your doctor may advise you to take benzodiazepine medication irregularly, or not once a day. In fact, benzos are most effective when not taken as a continuous treatment.
Dangers of benzodiazepine addiction
Patients may still be susceptible to benzodiazepine addiction due to ignorance. Doctors prescribe various types of benzos for a multitude of reasons. While they may lay out a responsible method for benzodiazepine use, ultimately the onus lies with the patient to adhere.
Benzodiazepine medications are very addictive, however, and the patient may continue taking benzos well after the 4-week period is over. They may also seek out more benzodiazepine medication when their supply runs out.
Unfortunately finding more benzodiazepines, either through a doctor, a family member or friends, or a street vendor, is far too easy despite the dangers of overdosing. Research is erupting that suggests a strong link between brain disorders (like Alzheimer’s and cognitive impairment) and benzodiazepine addiction.
Do I need to go to rehab?
There are some indicators that may increase your likelihood of abusing benzodiazepines:
- Family history: You may have a family history of, or genetic predisposition to, substance abuse
- Friends: If everyone in your social circle uses benzos liberally, the peer pressure may influence you to do the same
- Emotional upsets: During difficult moments in life, as in divorce, unemployment, or depression, it may be easy to turn to drugs for relief.
When your benzodiazepine addiction becomes a major issue in your daily life, you need help. If you or someone you know is mixing benzodiazepines with other narcotics, seek medical attention immediately.
Helping a loved one to rehab
If you know that someone you love is misusing benzodiazepines, remember that addiction is a brain disease. They may not be consciously aware of their addict behaviour, so staging an intervention with several friends and family members is necessary.
They need a reality check of how their actions have changed to accommodate their drug addiction, as noticed by the people closest to them. Do not let up the conversation during an intervention until the person agrees to go into rehab.
Types of benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines come in many forms to treat a variety of conditions. Below are some common types of benzodiazepine medications, along with their brand names and the symptoms they treat:
- Alprazolam (Xanax) – Treats anxiety disorders and anxiety caused by depression
- Clonazepam (Klonopin) – Treats seizures and panic attacks
- Clorazepate (Tranxene) – Used to relieve anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Diazepam (Valium, Zetran) – Treats anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and muscle spasms
- Estazolam (Prosom) – Treats insomnia
- Flurazepam (Dalmane) – Treats symptoms of insomnia
- Lorazepam (Ativan) – Treats anxiety disorders and seizures
- Midazolam (Versed) – Used to sedate patients having minor surgery, dental work, or other medical procedure
- Oxazepam (Serax) – Used to treat anxiety disorders or relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Temazopam (Restoril) – Treats insomnia
- Triazolam (Halcion) – Treats insomnia
Managing benzodiazepine dependence
Misuse of benzodiazepines puts you at a high risk of developing benzodiazepine dependence. It may sound wise to go cold turkey to reverse it, but stopping suddenly can cause fatal seizures. Instead, the best way to manage this dependence is to undergo detox at a local rehabilitation facility.
During detox, most addicts experience withdrawal symptoms as their brains struggle to return to chemical equilibrium. Most rehab programmes will assist their patients with medical attention for withdrawal symptoms, as well as substitute drugs to taper off benzodiazepines safely over time.
What are my treatment options?
Benzodiazepine rehab is readily available:
- Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment at a rehab facility is recommended for those who need constant monitoring to quit their addiction. Rehab centres provide medicinal assistance and social and emotional support through group and one-to-one therapy. They will plan a programme personally for your detox process
- Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment is more lenient, where the patient usually visits a rehab centre through the week but still lives at home. However, the effectiveness of this method depends on the patient’s willpower, health, the severity of withdrawal symptoms, and other details
- Intensive outpatient treatment: Intensive outpatient treatment is essentially the same as inpatient treatment, except the patient is allowed to go home at the end of the day. These patients are required to attend rehab for a certain number of hours or days per week
- Hospital setting: A medical hospital is recommended for patients whose health may be in danger due to withdrawal symptoms. At a hospital, you will be treated with medical attention when you need it
Other things to consider are the location of the centre (near or far from influences), demographic of other inpatients (men, women, other substance abusers), available amenities, and cost and affordability.
What happens during treatment?
When you first enrol for benzodiazepine treatment, a medical professional will evaluate your current state of health to determine a detox programme specifically for you. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you will stay at a rehab centre for inpatient treatment anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
As detox begins, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. During your stay, a doctor will be on hand to supervise your health and provide medical assistance when you need it.
Behavioural therapy will reinforce abstinence after your inpatient treatment is over. This can vary from weekly visits to a rehab facility for check-ins, group or family therapy, or living in a sober community.
What happens during a benzodiazepine detox?
During benzodiazepine addiction, one will inevitably encounter withdrawal symptoms, whose severity will depend on how long the user has been addicted.
Withdrawal from benzodiazepine
Immediately the patient may experience many confusing thoughts and shifts in perspective on reality and his sense of self. Other symptoms include:
- Severe anxiety
- Weakness and muscle pain
- Mental fog
These symptoms may be intense and last anywhere from one to two weeks after initiating the detox.
Even well after the rehabilitation phase (up to 18 months), patients will experience these symptoms and mental confusion, albeit at a weaker state.
Therapies to overcome benzodiazepine addiction
Benzodiazepine treatment is different for everyone, but the same general steps are utilized. All patients begin with detox and medical stabilization to deal with withdrawal symptoms. When those symptoms subside, patients are then put through therapy that works best to instil a drug-free attitude after rehab.
Finally, for aftercare, a strong programme is set up for the patient in order to prevent relapse. Some therapies are listed below:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Cognitive behavioural therapy is a practice where the therapist and patient work together to help the patient recover from mental illness. In addiction treatment, CBT is used after the detox period. It is useful for discovering the harmful thought patterns of the patient that lead to substance abuse. The therapist helps him to replace those patterns with healthier coping strategies to handle stress in life
- Motivational interviewing: This technique involves sitting with a therapist and realizing your own potential to change your life. A motivational therapist will ask questions that guide the client’s attention towards their own ambivalence of their addiction. Rather than directly leading the patient, the therapist persuades him and supports him in changing his own life goals and quitting the addiction
Behavioural therapy: Behavioural therapies are effective in engaging patients in their healing. Patients become aware of their attitudes and behaviours that lead to drug abuse. There are numerous behavioural therapies available to assist patients in dealing with stress in a drug-free manner
- Group support: Peer support groups are defined by receiving and giving assistance to people in similar standings. A study in 2016 by Kathlene Tracy and Samantha Wallace found that peer support groups were effective at treating substance use, engaging patients in the treatment process, and limiting substance-related behaviour
- 12-step work: The 12-step therapy process is designed to help substance abusers come to terms with the reality of drug abuse. During this process, patients learn to accept how dangerous drug abuse is, to surrender to the support of peers, and to be involved in the 12-step meetings
- Relapse prevention strategies: There are several causes that influence a former substance abuser to use again. Relapse prevention tackles these causes to increase abstinence in patients after benzodiazepine treatment. Some topics addressed by relapse prevention strategies are coping mechanisms, lifestyle factors, urges and cravings, and outcome expectancy
The benefits of inpatient rehab
Inpatient treatment for benzodiazepine abuse allows clients to receive personalized treatment in a comfortable setting with minimal triggers. During detox, patients will undoubtedly experience many uncomfortable symptoms, and they will receive medical attention if their health is compromised.
After the worse is over, these patients will also have the luxury of around-the-clock relapse prevention therapy and health monitoring by trained medical professionals.
What happens after rehab?
After benzodiazepine rehab, patients will continue with aftercare designed to uphold drug abstinence in the future. They will have the opportunity to choose from outpatient treatment and peer group support, to attending a 12-step programme with other people also in recovery. They can also participate in family therapy for more encouragement.
The important thing to remember is that you are not alone once you leave our benzodiazepine rehab centres. We are here to support you before, during, and after your inpatient period. Recovery is not a medical condition with a simple solution: it is a combination of crucial aspects such as support, talking therapies, self-efficacy, and access to the right coping mechanisms.
We are here to help you find meaning in life again and we will be here for you after your treatment has concluded, in the form of counselling, group support, a free 12-month aftercare plan, and direct access to our support staff via a telephone line.