If you have been taking or abusing benzos for more than a few months, you may be wondering if you quit taking them, are benzos dangerous? Whether you were prescribed benzos by your healthcare provider or abusing them for the effects they cause, you need to remember quitting cold turkey could have serious adverse side effects.
What Are Benzos?
Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are a class of prescription medications that are used to treat a wide range of conditions, such as:
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pain
- Muscle tensions
In addition, certain benzos are used for sedation or general anesthesia before surgical procedures.
Some of the more common names you may know benzos by are:
Are Benzos Dangerous?
It is crucial to remember that any type of drug use, whether prescribed or abusive, does carry certain risks. How you are affected by benzos can easily vary from how another person is affected. Keeping this in mind, some of the common side effects you could experience include:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Impaired coordination
- Slurred speech
- Problems thinking
- Memory loss
- Feeling isolated
In cases where you are abusing benzos and injecting them or snorting them, you could experience:
- Nasal passage damage
- Vein damage
- Increased risks of infections (HIV, hepatitis, sinusitis, etc.)
- Blood clots
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Bloody noses
Long-Term Effects of Using Benzos
The longer you take benzos, the more you are at risk for several long-term effects. For example, you could start to exhibit dementia-like symptoms where you cannot recall past events and have problems thinking and solving problems.
Another long-term effect is the worsening of or development of additional mental health problems, such as depression, paranoia, panic attacks, anxiety, anger, aggression, violence, and personality changes.
Are Benzos Dangerous and Addictive?
You can develop an addiction to benzos due to the chemical changes that have occurred in the brain. When you take benzos, they force the body to release natural endorphins that make us feel good.
The drugs also cause an increase in GABA, a neurotransmitter inhibitor. GABA binds to nerve endings throughout the central nervous system and slows down and suppresses the signals sent to the brain, such as muscle pain.
Essentially, your brain remembers the effects brought about by benzos as a positive behavior. So, it is easy for your brain to develop a craving for these effects and encourage continued benzo use.
However, the brain also develops a tolerance to the effects. Unfortunately, this results in taking higher doses of benzos to experience similar effects. Plus, the longer you are on benzos, whether prescribed or abusing them, the harder it becomes to stop.
Even taking benzos for just a few months and then abruptly stopping can trigger undesirable withdrawal symptoms like cramping, vomiting, tremors, uncontrolled sweating, uncontrolled shaking, and seizures. Sadly, many people return to abusing benzos to avoid these adverse side effects of withdrawal.
Are Benzos Dangerous to Detox From?
Benzos are dangerous to detox from on your own and quit cold turkey. Instead, you need to have a supervised detox treatment plan in place that gradually weans you off the benzos. When you quit cold turkey, withdrawal symptoms can begin to manifest within a few hours and can continue for days or even weeks.
When the benzos are removed from the body, the brain needs time to heal from the effects of the drugs. As such, GABA and endorphin levels can drop dramatically since the medication forced their release.
So, now the brain has to attempt to compensate. Unfortunately, there is an imbalance, and it can take weeks or even months for the brain to return to normal levels of GABA and endorphins.
Therefore, quitting benzos without supervision could be dangerous. This is why supervised detox is highly recommended. Supervised detox uses several approaches and treatment methods to help minimize the adverse withdrawal effects as benzos are detoxed from the body safely.
For example, your dosage is reduced gradually rather than halted all at once. Another option is medication-assisted treatments (MAT), which use non-addictive medications that mimic the effects of benzos while you are weaned off of them. Eventually, you are also weaned off the MAT drugs after being fully detoxed from benzos.
Finding Help for Benzo Addiction
You have several options for finding help for benzo addiction. Your healthcare provider may be able to help if they prescribed the benzos. If you are abusing benzos without a prescription, you can find help at an addiction treatment center. Most rehab centers offer a wide range of programs and treatment options.
Benzo Detox and Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN
When searching for benzo detox and addiction treatment, you can find the help you require at Detox Nashville in Tennessee. We pride ourselves on the exceptional mental health and medical services we provide with our supervised detox programs. Once you are detoxed, we can assist you with detox aftercare treatment options to help you avoid lapses and relapse with personalized rehab treatment programs.
For more information about our supervised benzo detox and addiction treatment programs in Nashville, please feel free to contact us to speak with an intake specialist today.