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A medical detox facility is staffed with doctors and nurses trained in helping patients cope with the withdrawal symptoms of early drug or alcohol abstinence.
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Detox is a crucial first step in most people’s recovery journey. However, benzo detox options can be difficult to find, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
If you or a loved one has been taking high doses of benzodiazepines for a prolonged period of time, detox presents a number of potentially fatal medical risks, psychological challenges, and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that can be difficult to tackle alone.
Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are prescription medications that work on the nervous system in the body. They are central nervous system depressants prescribed — such as Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Tranxene (clorazepate), and Klonopin (clonazepam) — to treat anxiety, panic disorders, sleep disorders, alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and muscle spasms.
Benzodiazepines can be effective at managing a number of anxiety-related conditions. However, taking them for reasons other than what it was prescribed, and for longer periods that necessary, increases the risk of addiction.
Benzos are commonly misused and bought on the black market to be used recreationally. The street names of benzos include: bars, zanies, tranks, candy, downers, k, k-pin, super valium, circles, forget-me, roofies, bicycle handle bars, school bus, zanbars, z-bars, eggs, jellies, moggies, vallies, ladders, french fries.
The effects of long-term benzodiazepine use include depression, disinhibition, impaired memory and cognitive skills such as response times and coordination, brain damage, and increased risk of car crashes and even hip fractures.
Benzodiazepine use is a problem in the United States. A recent study found that the amount of these types of drugs prescribed to Americans has more than tripled since the mid-1990s, and that benzodiazepines are responsible for approximately one-third of all deaths from prescription drug overdoses. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription increased 67 percent, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million (Source: The American Journal of Public Health (2016)).
Some doctors warn that the benefits of benzodiazepines can be overestimated and may cause the very symptoms a patient is trying to overcome: insomnia and anxiety. Long term use can lead to dependence, addiction, and cognitive damage.
A benzodiazepine detox program is used to treat individuals who are struggling with an addiction and may meet the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder. Substance use disorder is a serious medical condition affecting an estimated 21 million Americans (SAMHSA, 2017).
What is often most challenging about substance use disorders is that 95 percent of people do not see their substance use as problematic, and for those who do, only one out of nine people actually get the care they need (SAMHSA, 2019).
There are many reasons why people don’t seek the help they need, including feelings of shame and fear about the process of detoxification. Many fear that detox will be uncomfortable, painful, and even fatal.
The reality is that detoxing from benzodiazepines is potentially dangerous without proper medical care. You will know if you need detox by seeking professional medical assistance from a qualified medical provider and the advice of SAMHSA.
“For alcohol, sedative-hypnotic, and opioid withdrawal syndromes, hospitalization or some form of 24-hour medical care is generally the preferred setting for detoxification, based upon principles of safety and humanitarian concerns.”
– SAMHSA Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment Improvement Protocol, TIP 45
Stopping benzodiazepine medications without professional intervention, such as medical detox, can cause a number of unpleasant and prolonged side effects. Benzodiazepines alter the brain’s chemistry, causing things to slow down. Therefore, abruptly ceasing long-term benzodiazepine use can cause too dramatic a change in brain activity, leading to unpleasant side effects including:
There are various types of benzodiazepine detox. Not all benzo detox options are the same, however. Many medical detox centers use outdated protocols and oral medications within the confines of psychiatric facilities, leaving patients feeling dehumanized while they stay in a sterile and cold environment.
You can read more about what to consider when picking the right medical detox for you in our blog, How to Pick a Medical Detox Facility.
Gallus Medical Detox provides the comfort of a residential facility, but with clinical expertise that is far superior to most detox facilities. We offer safe, effective, and personalized treatment. We are so proud of our proprietary method that we named it The Gallus Method.
The key features of Gallus Medical Detox include:
We have addiction treatment centers in Arizona and Colorado, with more opening throughout the US this year.
At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we bring compassion to the commotion. Peace to the pain. Empowerment to the powerless. If you or someone you know needs support with addiction problems, bring us your battle. Call us today and take the best, first step towards recovery: 720-704-1432
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