If you’re considering getting admitted into a benzo detox center, you might be wondering: How long does benzo detox last? This is an excellent first question that many should be asking; benzodiazepine abuse is more common than you may think. There’s a long history of the medical field’s studies and services geared toward understanding benzo abuse and its treatment, including benzo detox.
Benzodiazepines are also known as tranquilizers. Familiar brands of these drugs include Valium and Xanax. They are some of the most commonly prescribed U.S. medications, but they are also very potent and highly addictive. If you or someone you love is taking benzos for a medical purpose, make sure to monitor the drug use — because a benzo addiction may develop even in people that are not prone to misusing addictive substances.
How To Detox From Benzos
If you take benzos to treat medical conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, panic, seizure disorders, and muscle spasms or tensions, you may find it more challenging to figure out how to detox from benzos. You’d be dealing with typical withdrawal symptoms while also dealing with increased symptoms of the condition for which you were prescribed benzos.
Because detoxing from benzos can be so complicated — and because the benzo detox timeline can be unpredictable — it’s generally recommended that people struggling with benzo misuse get admitted into medical detox.
Medical detox usually involves clients tapering off benzo use with professional care and support. In addition to ensuring clients’ safety, the staff of a detox center can also help to alleviate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, medical detox could involve substituting a longer-acting benzodiazepine for a shorter-acting one that’s FDA-approved during the tapering process to make withdrawal smoother.
How Long Does Benzo Detox Last?
Benzodiazepines are not intended to be taken long-term. Prolonged use can cause the brain to become both physically and psychologically dependent on them. Withdrawal symptoms may occur when benzos are removed from the client’s bloodstream. The intensity and frequency of these symptoms may stretch the detoxification period.
The type of drug may also affect the duration of the detoxification period. For example, if a client is addicted to shorter-acting benzos, withdrawal may start earlier. With longer-acting benzodiazepines, withdrawal symptoms may take a few days to arise. Clients that took benzos for several months or more and in high doses are also likely to experience more withdrawal symptoms that last longer. Clients are typically released from detox only when they’re completely stabilized, which means that most or all symptoms should have stopped happening.
The method of taking doses also affects the onset of withdrawal. For example, injecting or snorting benzos sends the drugs straight into the bloodstream–if this is the typical way a client doses, their withdrawal will probably manifest sooner. Ingesting a benzo pill creates a less intense high, which means that clients who dose this way will have a slower onset of withdrawal symptoms.
Most benzo withdrawal symptoms begin within 24 hours of starting detox and last from a few days to several months. However, prolonged withdrawal isn’t uncommon. About 10% of people who have abused benzos still feel withdrawal symptoms years after detoxification.
What Is the Benzo Detox Timeline?
Benzodiazepine withdrawal — and eventual detox — typically occurs in three main phases:
- Early withdrawal phase: This usually starts within a few hours to a few days of the last benzo dose and may last for a couple of days. The client may experience a return of anxiety and insomnia symptoms as their brain rebounds and adjusts to a system without benzos. Symptoms the benzos suppressed may come flooding back. The tapering process frequently used in medical detox can help to dampen this uncomfortable effect.
- Acute withdrawal: Some days after the last benzo dose, the acute withdrawal phase–which can last between two weeks to several months–begins. This phase constitutes the bulk of the withdrawal and detox period. Symptoms include agitation, anxiety, benzo cravings, blurred vision, clouded thinking, diarrhea, hallucinations, insomnia, mood swings, muscle spasms or tensions, nausea or vomiting, panic, seizures, short-term memory impairment, trouble concentrating, twitching, and weight loss due to decreased appetite. Specific medications may be most beneficial in targeting some of these symptoms. Suicidal actions or thoughts may occur during the acute withdrawal phase, and therapy may help diffuse these complicated emotions.
- Protracted withdrawal: Some clients may experience another phase of protracted withdrawal syndrome. This condition can last for several months or years after benzo detox. Some withdrawal symptoms may continue to occur randomly and without warning.
There is no universal timeframe for benzo detox. Instead of focusing on the timeline, consider getting into medical detox–this way, no matter what happens or how long detox lasts, you’re sure that you’ll have access to life-saving medical care.
Find Out More About Midwest Detox Center’s Programs and Services
Looking for a benzo detox center in Ohio? Contact Midwest Detox Center by calling 833.647.0392 or reaching out to our team online.