The benzo withdrawal timeline can be short or long but typically involves uncomfortable physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. As you may realize, not knowing exactly what to expect can prevent a person from going through with the process. Hopefully, the information you read here will inspire your benzo detox and withdrawal journey at a rehab near you.
Benzo Misuse and Drug Addiction
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are drugs that depress or slow down activity in the brain. The drugs come in short-acting and long-acting forms and are widely prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Benzo acts on the central nervous system. It sedates the patient to help them relax or sleep better.
While the medication is safe when taken as directed, there are people who misuse the drugs for the sedative effects. Acts of misuse include taking drugs prescribed to someone else or taking benzo in illicit ways. For example, crushing the tablet to snort, smoke, or inject into a vein. Doing any of this increases the drug’s effects and the risk of addiction.
Long-term drug misuse often leads to physical and psychological dependence on benzos. At this point, you may lose control over benzo use and experience cravings or withdrawal symptoms if you skip a dose. You may also find it difficult to quit without substance abuse treatment.
Common Symptoms During the Benzo Withdrawal Timeline
Getting the 411 on what goes on during the benzo withdrawal timeline helps you to prepare for what’s to come. Although the withdrawal process and duration are different for each person, almost everyone will experience benzo withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms include “rebound” symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, seizures, and panic attacks as well as:
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness or headaches
- Agitation, irritability, or tremors
Factors that determine the length of the timeline include whether the short or long-acting drug was used and for how long. People living with a co-occurring disorder and those who use benzos with alcohol or other drugs may experience more severe or long-lasting symptoms.
The Benzo Withdrawal Timeline Stage by Stage
Here’s a general idea of the benzo withdrawal process and how long benzo withdrawal symptoms last.
Days 1-2 – Anxiety, trouble sleeping, nausea, headache, and loss of appetite are among the first set of symptoms. They typically show up within 6-12 hours of the last dose of the short-acting benzo. It can take 24-48 hours for initial long-acting benzo withdrawal symptoms to arrive.
Days 3-7 – Symptoms usually peak while insomnia and anxiety intensify around days 3-7 for those withdrawing from short-acting benzos. Mental symptoms such as agitation or irritability may set in at this time. Your doctor may also monitor you for signs of seizures at this stage or administer medication to lessen the symptoms.
Days 8-14– You may feel much better, although some symptoms can continue off and on. This is especially the case for people addicted to long-acting benzos which take longer to leave the body.
Day 15 and beyond – Acute symptoms improve or start to subside. Some clients experience protracted withdrawal symptoms such as persistent cravings, anxiety, or insomnia. Therefore, they should continue receiving mental health support for as long as needed.
Following up With Benzo Addiction Treatment
The catch to ending benzo abuse is having to endure the benzo withdrawal timeline. On the bright side of things, you will feel like your old self again and ready for behavioral therapy. During benzo abuse treatment, you will realize the destruction of drug abuse and will learn positive ways to cope.
The following programs and therapies are designed to walk you through the entire process from drug detox to aftercare:
- Inpatient Drug Rehab
- Outpatient Treatment
- Chronic Relapse Track
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- 12-Step Program
Credited to: Right Step