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Benzodiazepines, colloquially known as benzos, belong to a class of medications known as sedative hypnotics. These fast-acting, psychoactive substances are classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as Schedule IV Controlled Substance, meaning they are “defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.” When used properly, benzodiazepines can be effective in treating a variety of ailments and have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for use in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), insomnia, social anxiety disorder, seizure disorders, and panic disorders. The addictive qualities of benzodiazepines lead them to be habit-forming, even when used as prescribed at therapeutic doses. Long-term use of benzos can lead to tolerance, which means that individuals will require higher doses to achieve the same results, as lower doses will be ineffective. A person can become physically dependent on benzodiazepines in as little as 30 days, which is why they are intended for short-term, sporadic use. There are a variety of treatment options available for those struggling with benzodiazepine addiction.

Tapering Off

Benzodiazepines work by interacting with the natural functioning of one’s brain and central nervous system. Therefore, to detox from benzos safely and effectively, the duration of the detox process is lengthened. Unlike many other substances, where detox requires an individual to immediately cease substance use, it is generally recommended for an individual who has consistently taken benzos for two weeks or longer to taper off the substance as opposed to stopping abruptly. The tapering-off method, gradually reducing one’s dose over time, enables one’s body to slowly acclimate to the lessened amount of benzos present in his or her system. An individual detoxing from benzodiazepines will work with a medical professional to develop a plan to effectively take him or her off the medication. Depending on one’s situation, this may include lowering the dose over a single week or several weeks. The timeline to wean off benzos will be different for each person as it will be greatly informed by the individual and his or her unique situation. 

Treatment

Depending on the needs of the individual, continuing the recovery process by attending a formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program may be advantageous. In any formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program each participant will have a customized treatment plan that is expressly developed to ensure each person’s distinct needs are accommodated. Treatment plans may integrate a wide variety of therapeutic modalities, some of which could include any combination of: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT), mindfulness-based therapy, expressive arts therapies, and more. Attending a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program will afford an individual with the opportunity to focus on self-development and cultivate useful coping mechanisms to successfully navigate the long-term recovery process. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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