Withdrawing from Benzodiazepines: Symptoms, Safety, and Treatment

It is during this early withdrawal time that the brain may experience the rebound effect with heightened stress, panic, and anxiety levels as well as trouble sleeping. Mental confusion and “foggy brain” feelings are common as well.Within a week of stopping a benzodiazepine drug, acute withdrawal may begin, which can last for as little as two weeks or continue on for several months. Thousands of people suffer from anxiety, depression and insomnia every day, with benzodiazepines being one of the strategies used to treat these conditions. Withdrawal from its long-term use can lead to potentially life-threatening complications, including Takotsubo syndrome. The authors highlight an atypical case of Takotsubo syndrome secondary to benzodiazepine withdrawal, a rare life-threatening complication of acute substance withdrawal. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is not usually marked by significant elevations in blood pressure and pulse as commonly occur in patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal.

During withdrawal some patients may become disruptive and difficult to manage. The patient may be scared of being in the closed setting, or may not understand why they are in the closed setting. In the first instance, use behaviour management strategies to address difficult behaviour (Table 2). Do not try to engage the patient in counselling or other psychological therapy at this stage. A person in withdrawal may be vulnerable and confused; this is not an appropriate time to commence counselling. Physical exercise may prolong withdrawal and make withdrawal symptoms worse.

Overall effects on everyday life

According to the National Center for PTSD, the most beneficial kind of therapy for benzodiazepine withdrawal is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy can help you challenge and reframe unhelpful beliefs and behaviors and replace them with more productive ones. If you experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms during your taper, your care team can help you explore options to address those symptoms and get relief. In most cases, your doctor will reduce your dosage by 5% to 25% in the first week. Every 1 to 4 weeks after that, they’ll reduce your dose by another 5% to 25% of the original dose. The 2022 survey mentioned above also asked respondents to what extent withdrawal symptoms affected their lives.

  • When they are removed, the brain may experience a rebound as GABA and dopamine levels decrease.
  • Patients who exhibit severe psychiatric symptoms should be referred to a hospital for appropriate assessment and treatment.
  • Agents that are commonly recommended include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxeme) and phenobarbital.

When a mental health disorder is also present, called co-occurring disorders, specialized treatment that caters to dual diagnoses may be beneficial during recovery. Protracted symptoms continue to fade over a period of many months or several years. Treating a dual diagnosis with integrated care methods can improve symptoms overall as well. Counseling, support groups, family training and education, and individual therapy all help maintain and sustain long-term recovery.

Management of cannabis withdrawal

In a clinical setting, https://ecosoberhouse.com/ can be inadvertently induced by the injudicious administration of flumazenil. In such cases, larger than expected doses of benzodiazepine drugs may be needed to overcome the effects of the flumazenil and effectively treat the symptoms of withdrawal. The best way to avoid this situation is to avoid the use of flumazenil in any situation in which there is even a remote possibility of inducing withdrawal. The more severely affected patient may require more complex therapy, including the use of barbiturates as substitute agents for benzodiazepines. Other drugs such as valproate also have been proposed as potentially useful adjuncts in treating benzodiazepine withdrawal. Even in a severely effected patient, immediate benzodiazepine replacement is advocated pending the administration of barbiturates.

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