If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone close to you is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction. First off, let me tell you: you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide have become addicted to benzos and experienced the hell that is withdrawal. But even when things seem their bleakest, there’s one question that keeps popping up: does it get better?
Well my friend, I’m here to tell you… it sure as hell does!
What Are Benzos Anyway?
Before we delve into withdrawal and recovery (and trust me we will delve), let’s first discuss what benzodiazepines actually are.
Benzos belong in a class of drugs called tranquilizers – yes like the cheesy ’70s music. They work by depressing your central nervous system activity which leads to feelings of calmness and relaxation(1). Common benzos include Xanax(holy grail of recreational use), Valium (leisurely Sunday morning vibes) and Klonopin (oh K-pin how I miss thee).
Now don’t get me wrong- these drugs can be extremely helpful when used correctly under medical supervision for conditions such as anxiety or insomnia but when abused they can lead to dependence/addiction characterised by tolerance building effects leading to false sense of security in large doses / withdrawals cause excruciating discomfort leading many individuals into compulsive behaviour more out of necessity then pleasure
Addiction & Dependence
In order for an individual using these type medication(most especially done outside prescribed limits)the brain becomes dependent on them over time thus creating psychological attachment culminating in symptoms displayed during active usage(euphoria etc.)With time upon stopping abruptly physical/mental repercussions sets resulting often times unnoticed until recognition sets in / physician administered tests confirm measure of ingestion /presence of the intoxicating agent.
Benzos last relatively shorter period on a person’s body system than other substances making it more challenging to take note when consumption goes over limit
What Are Withdrawals like?
So you’ve been abusing benzos for some time now, and you’ve decided enough is enough. Welcome to withdrawal, my friend!
Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on factors such as how long you used benzos and how much.(2) However, common symptoms include anxiety(persistent), insomnia (yaye money saver!!), panic attacks (all day everyday)and even seizures (3)(oh boy this shouldn’t be taken lightly).
The length and severity of withdrawals also varies between people but most often associated with physical or emotional mood swings roller-coaster style, suicidal thoughts/to attempts ,an array from resembling flu-like feelings & sensations, returning them back into active use which can result to fatal health hazards if left unchecked immediately
But Does It Get Better?
Yes it does! Though withdrawals are hellish(evil), there is light at the end of that dark tunnel. As your brain gets rewired after detoxification(aimed towards breaking dependency effect)from the drug usage/ neurochemicals readjustment commences leading gradually into behavioural pattern alterations reducing craving leading finally to recovery(4).
Now I’m not here to sugarcoat things(mytherapistdoesenoughofthatalreadythatswhatineverlikedabouttheabusersmanualhashahadayguys####!), recovery isn’t easy(duh!)-but it’s possible(hooray!). You’ll likely experience post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which means occasional anxiety/depression/cravings(or flashbacks?)/insomnia that lasts longer than usual nice work benzodiazepines way to mess us up even more). But it’s all part of the healing process.
What Can I Do To Help Myself?
Recovering from benzo addiction requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes medication, counseling and psychosocial therapies.(multiwhat?brainchemistrychecksareenoughforme)Firstly medical observation & diagnosis by qualified personnel to proffer suggestion for detoxification (this will involve medical supervision as medications could be given to alleviate withdrawal symptoms which step down in dosages overtime) alongwith rehabilition(active/follow-up psychotherapy + lifestyle adjustments/addicts support therapy through sexual addiction groups or institution- AA/NA/MFRS/, SOS etc,)
Here are some tips that might come in handy:
- Familiarise yourself with ground rules prior starting.
- Acknowledge potential set back situations
- Keep track of progress daily
- Make conscious effort reducing exposure and influence around factors/places/people/equal to abuse history
- Objective Evaluations either done by Nursing psychologists/Counsellors – this aimed at tracing flip-flops during recovery aiding identification of triggers thus setting rearview check pointers.
Recovery isn’t a destination but rather continuous voyage braving waves one day at time
The Final Verdict
If you’re struggling with benzo -related addiction(throw away those Xanax&valium usage now/dont think twiccef there’s another party invite! &-lol ok maybe not so much), remember two things: you can recover,and you don’t have to do it alone(itwasonlycoolwhentheyhadloveforusduringthepartyremem???)Speak up(yay let’s fight stigma)-tell someone about what you’re going through. Recovery is tough-but fighting it on without professional help makes a long process longerAnd hey, when all else fails…just look at Charlie Sheen(Now where the did that come from???).
Stay strong friends, happy detox(not sure I should be encouraging this)and remember: it does get better!!
- NIDA. (2019). DrugFacts—Benzodiazepines.
- American Family Physician. (2000). Benzodiazepine withdrawal.
- Ashton, H., & Heinmann, S.D.(1980)..A Long-Term Follow-Up of Patients Withdrawn for Benzodiazepine Dependence Without Subsequent Remedy.. British Journal of Addiction to Alcohol & Other Drugs
4.. Fredericksen LK., Kong G and Shea MT (2018) The Usefulness of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Symptoms Associated with Trauma-Related Stressors: A Literature Review Advances in Social Work 18(215): 155–172
Hey there, I’m Dane Raynor, and I’m all about sharing fascinating knowledge, news, and hot topics. I’m passionate about learning and have a knack for simplifying complex ideas. Let’s explore together!
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