While detox and withdrawal management for anyone suffering from addiction and substance use disorder is very similar in terms of what the process looks like, the specific timelines and protocols for detox and medical stabilization vary depending on the substance or substances being misused by the patient.
Benzodiazepines are one of the common prescription drugs that people misuse and seek out detox services to find recovery. While many people misuse benzos in conjunction or combined with other drugs, many others find themselves addicted to benzodiazepines as their only substance misuse issue, often receiving them as a prescription from a doctor.
Benzodiazepines are a type of medication known as tranquilizers and are one of the most commonly prescribed medications throughout the country. The medications act on the body’s central nervous system and produce sedative effects, muscle relaxation, and lower the levels of anxiety in a person. Benzodiazepines (often referred to as “benzos”) are commonly prescribed to treat the following conditions or issues: anxiety, insomnia, severe muscle spasms, tremors, and acute seizures. They are also often used in medical detox protocol for those suffering from drug and alcohol withdrawals.
There are 15 FDA-approved benzodiazepine medications prescribed in the United States. Some of the most common benzos are:
When misusing these drugs, there are numerous dangers for addiction and the need for medical care when getting off benzodiazepines. Misusing benzodiazepines can cause physical dependence. Additionally, benzodiazepines withdrawals can be fatal if not medically treated and under the care of a dedicated detox facility and 24-hour medical team.
When entering benzodiazepine detox for misuse or addiction, a patient will be assessed for their history using a biopsychosocial questionnaire with an intake specialist. Immediately following admission, the patient will be seen by medical staff, who will diagnose withdrawal symptoms and begin medication protocols. The patient will also be seen by a psychiatrist, who will monitor the ongoing withdrawal symptoms alongside the nursing staff and change the medication protocol as necessary in order to provide the safety and most comfortable detox experience for the patient. Depending on the medical history and ongoing medical issues experienced by the patient, a benzodiazepine detox experience could last between 7 and 14 days, to make sure the patient is safely medically stabilized.
Some of the typical medications used during a detox for benzodiazepines include:
- SSRI antidepressants, that are often used for anxiety issues
- Beta-blockers, which are often used for physical withdrawal symptoms, including tremors
- Clonidine, which is often used to maintain a patient’s blood pressure range
- Ondansetron, or other similar medications, which is often used for nausea or vomiting
- Anticonvulsants, which are used if a patient has a history of seizures
Overall, due to the half-life of benzodiazepines, a safety Benzodiazepine Detox includes a slow taper of the medication, to mitigate any risk for the patient. Benzodiazepines withdrawal can cause additional medical complications and carries a risk of fatality, which is why it is always best practices and safety and most comfortable option to enter a detox where medical professionals can appropriately manage and monitor a patient.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.