How to Taper off Benzodiazepines Treatment Options

For short-acting benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam, rebound symptoms may appear between doses,1 which typically leads to dose escalation with temporary relief of these symptoms,4 as in this case scenario. This patient has developed numerous concerning adverse effects, including tolerance, physiologic dependence, and withdrawal. Additionally, her use of supratherapeutic doses of alprazolam poses a safety concern. Because risks of continued use outweigh any potential benefits, tapering her down and off of the medication should be discussed. The discomfort caused by withdrawal can be medicated with prescription-strength doses of safer alternatives like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Buspirone is a noncontrolled prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders.

  1. Finally, your doctor may appreciate receiving some literature on benzodiazepine withdrawal, for example the articles mentioned under Further Reading at the end of Chapters 1 & 3 and of this chapter.
  2. They provide peer support and open forums to discuss addiction-related experiences.
  3. In 2017, doctors wrote nearly 45 million prescriptions for Xanax (alprazolam).
  4. However, studies like these are important as they establish that what we do works.

A popular way to begin a benzodiazepine detox is through tapering, which involves gradually weaning off of benzo usage. It is recommended to conduct this method alongside a doctor so that safe amounts are removed cocaine addiction each week. This way, your body has a chance to rid itself of benzos slowly, and the withdrawal symptoms will not be as intense. During this time, the body and brain fight to get rid of the benzodiazepines.

In 2017, doctors wrote nearly 45 million prescriptions for Xanax (alprazolam). Statistics suggest that one in 20 people in the U.S. fill a prescription for benzodiazepines each year. Quitting cold turkey can increase your risk of extreme and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including delirium and grand mal seizures. Buspirone is a non-addictive drug that helps relieve anxiety, a symptom that is very closely tied with benzo detox. This medication can take several weeks to kick in, and not everyone is willing to wait it out.

Low doses are used to manage insomnia and anxiety by producing sedation, moderate doses are used to help prevent seizures, and higher doses are used to treat insomnia. It aims to help people and their families who are affected by addiction to benzodiazepines, tranquilisers, sleeping tablets and any other drugs which have similar effects. Tell your midwife and other healthcare professionals if you’ve been taking benzodiazepines through your pregnancy. Antidepressant and mood-stabilising drugs may help with the withdrawal effects of benzodiazepines.

The Dangers of Tapering Off Incorrectly

It is not recommended to taper without the assistance and recommendations from your prescribing doctor. Although flumazenil is more often used as an overdose remedy, this fast-acting drug can assist in detox as well. It blocks the chemical actions of benzos by attaching to the brain’s GABA receptors — the same receptors affected by benzos. Essentially, this medication “tricks” the body into thinking that it is still receiving doses of benzodiazepines.

The advantages of discontinuing benzodiazepines do not necessarily mean that every long-term user should withdraw. Nobody should be forced or persuaded to withdraw against his or her will. In fact, people who are unwillingly pushed into withdrawal often do badly. On the other hand, the chances of success are very high for those sufficiently motivated.

Dangers of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal and Detox

Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can result if a person suddenly stops using benzos or drastically reduces use. There are several options that can help when you are tapering off benzodiazepines. In general, these medications can help with feelings of anxiety or panic. Medications may include buspirone or the rescue medication flumazenil. Other therapies, including counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), may be helpful for people looking to manage symptoms without relying on other drugs.

People with a long-term dependence on benzodiazepines may find it difficult to stop taking benzodiazepines. Attempts to discontinue use of these drugs often result in withdrawal symptoms and fast relapse. Therefore, a gradual reduction of usage is recommended over abrupt cessation. Inpatient requires you to move into a hospital or residential treatment center for the duration of treatment, which may last for weeks or months, depending on your needs. Typically, inpatient and residential programs include individual and group counseling, education, behavioral therapies, and medication if needed.

Supportive Care

They are mostly used for treating sleep problems such as insomnia. Most symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are unpleasant and distressing but not life threatening. Most of them are actual schedules which have been used and found to work by real people who withdrew successfully.

How Long Does Withdrawal From Benzodiazepines Last?

Examples of benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium). It’s common to experience both physical and mental health symptoms during withdrawal. Xanax is a prescription medication that’s used to treat anxiety and panic disorder. Your doctor’s agreement and co-operation is necessary since he/she will be prescribing the medication. Many doctors are uncertain how to manage benzodiazepine withdrawal and hesitate to undertake it.

Flumazenil takes over the GABA receptors, ridding the body of the existing benzodiazepine drugs that remain. Your doctor is an excellent resource for helping you wean off benzos. They can design a taper schedule to decrease your benzo dose gradually. This may involve prescribing lower doses of medication(s) so you do music therapy in addiction recovery not need to cut up higher-dose pills. An addiction treatment facility or specialist can also help with this process if your doctor is not available or you’d like additional treatment or support. Medically assisted detox and addiction treatment is your best bet if you are trying to taper your drug or alcohol use.

The key to achieving this goal is to follow the tapering schedule to the very end. By the end of your taper, you might be cutting pills into halves or quarters. Many people experience irritability and agitation, which can cause problems at home, work, or school. You might be easily annoyed or short-tempered with family or friends. Insomnia, another symptom, can also contribute to these feelings of anxiety and agitation.

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