Gallus Medical Detox leads the industry in medically assisted benzodiazepine detox and we have been particularly successful in treating high-dose benzodiazepine patients. Using our proprietary IV and oral medication protocol, we are able to keep patients comfortable and safe during detox, effectively managing withdrawal symptoms while transitioning them off of extremely high doses of benzodiazepines.
While benzodiazepines can be effective at managing anxiety, insomnia, and even alcohol withdrawal, taking them for reasons other than what was prescribed and for longer periods than necessary increases the risk of addiction.
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, including insomnia and anxiety. Long-term use can lead to dependence, addiction, and cognitive damage.
The reality is that the withdrawal phase of detoxing from benzodiazepines is potentially dangerous or even life threatening without proper medical care. You will know if you need detox by seeking professional medical assistance from a qualified medical provider. Our admissions team would be happy to help advise you as to the best next steps for managing benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
Stopping benzodiazepine medications without medical detox can cause a number of unpleasant and serious side effects during the withdrawal phase. Benzodiazepines alter the brain’s chemistry, causing body and brain functions to slow down. Therefore, abruptly ceasing long-term benzodiazepine use can cause too dramatic a change in brain activity.
Benzodiazepines are prescription tranquilizers and sedatives — such as Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Tranxene, and Klonopin — that are used to treat mental health and sleep disorders such as anxiety and insomnia. This makes them prime candidates for substance abuse.
Benzodiazepines come in two forms. Some benzodiazepines act on your brain and body for longer than others: the half-life of each drug is a helpful way to understand how long a drug’s effects may last.
Short-acting benzos have a shorter half-life. This means that the drugs are processed and leave your body more quickly. Short-acting benzos have a higher risk of withdrawal symptoms, because your body has less time to adapt to working without the drug once you stop taking it.
Long-acting benzos have a longer half-life. This means that the drugs are processed by your body more slowly and take longer to leave the body. You’re more likely to experience a ‘hangover’ effect when taking these drugs.
Today, the mental health community uses the term hypnotic, sedative, or anxiolytic use disorder to describe benzodiazepine abuse or addiction. This term comes from a main mental health book for clinicians, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. In order to be diagnosed with a sedative use disorder, at least two of a possible 11 symptoms must manifest within the same 12- month period. The National Association of Addiction Professionals explains each symptom, five of which are paraphrased here:
The sedative effect of these drugs, as well as their addiction-forming chemical properties, makes them ripe for abuse. Since these are prescription drugs, it is critical to note that some individuals may initially have a legitimate medical reason to use them, but over time, they develop a substance abuse disorder. If a patient who has a prescription for a benzodiazepine follows their doctor’s orders, a substance abuse disorder will not likely set in.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and even dangerous, so it is important to undergo detox with the medical supervision of experienced health care providers at a reputable treatment center.
If you or a loved one are going through benzo withdrawal, or are struggling with addiction to benzos or other forms of substance abuse, reach out to Gallus Medical Detox. Our staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our addiction treatment and the benzodiazepine detox process.
The effects of long-term benzodiazepine use include depression, disinhibition, impaired memory and cognitive skills such as response times and coordination, brain damage, mental health risks and increased risk of car crashes and even hip fractures. These symptoms can ultimately be life threatening.
Many individuals become addicted to benzodiazepines without intending to. They may be prescribed benzos following an injury or illness or for a legitimate anxiety and insomnia or mental health disorder.
With regular use, these individuals may find that they become physically and psychologically dependent on benzos and experience acute withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using the substance, making detox difficult.
In other cases, a person may take benzos recreationally for the “high” they produce and find that they quickly develop an addiction to the drug, leading to lingering substance abuse.
No matter what the circumstances of the addiction, being dependent on benzodiazepines can seriously harm a person’s life, relationships, mental health and physical health. If you or a loved one are struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, it is important to seek professional help for treatment and management of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
Gallus Medical Detox provides the comfort of a residential facility, but with clinical expertise that is far superior to most detox facilities. We are so proud of our proprietary method for treating benzodiazepine addiction that we named it The Gallus Method.
Benzo withdrawal symptoms are dangerous and uncomfortable, particularly during the acute withdrawal phase. But you don’t have to face them alone. Whether you have an addiction to short acting benzos or longer acting ones, Gallus is here to help you.
If you or a loved one are experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, or suspect that you may have a substance use or addiction disorder, contact us today and take your first steps toward achieving recovery comfortably.
At Gallus Medical Detox, we offer safe, effective, and personalized treatment for individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and substance abuse. Our inpatient treatment program is based on the values of compassion, collaboration, and excellence, and our experienced staff are on call for 24 hours to make sure your recovery process is as safe and comfortable as possible.
We offer private rooms with queen beds, free WiFi, and TVs in every room. Patients are welcome to keep their personal electronic devices and contact their friends and family members during treatment.