What are Benzodiazepine Detox Programs Like in New Jersey?

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Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and alcohol withdrawal. While these medications are very useful when taken as prescribed, they do have extremely addictive properties. Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium slow down the central nervous system (CNS) and increase the reuptake of GABA in the brain. This produces relaxing, calming, and euphoric effects. People who get addicted to these effects may abuse benzodiazepines and become physically and mentally dependent on them, resulting in painful and scary withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is never something people should attempt to go through alone. Instead, it is best to detox at a medical facility. Benzodiazepine detox centers in New Jersey provide medical supervision and clinical support along with established safety protocols to keep patients safe and comfortable as they begin their recovery journey.

Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines

As the opioid epidemic continues to harm communities across the country, benzodiazepines are becoming an increasing concern. In 2019, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that over 16% of opioid overdose deaths involved benzodiazepines.[1] While these medications are only available with a prescription from a doctor, they are commonly diverted from medical use and sold on the streets.

Some of the most commonly abused benzodiazepines include:

  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Restoril (temazepam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)

While there are many different types of benzodiazepines, they all produce a similar set of withdrawal symptoms.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is mentally and physically painful. In severe cases, symptoms can even be life-threatening. People who have been taking benzos in high doses and over a longer period of time may be more prone to more serious withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms may come and go in the days and weeks after a person stops taking benzodiazepines. Oftentimes, previous users will experience “rebound symptoms,” or symptoms that a person was numbing by using benzos, and that reappear after stopping the medication. These symptoms include anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, and sleep disturbances.[2]

Other common symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:

  • Increased tension
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sweating
  • Stiff muscles
  • General discomfort
  • Hand tremors
  • Cravings

Benzodiazepine withdrawal may also produce severe and life-threatening symptoms that require medical attention. These include:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Psychotic behaviors
  • Suicidal thinking

How long withdrawal lasts is highly dependent on the extent of a person’s addiction as well as whether they were taking short-acting benzos or long-acting benzos. Long-acting benzos, like Valium, Klonopin, and Librium produce less intense symptoms that last for a long time. Short-acting benzos, on the other hand, such as Xanax and Halcion, may produce more severe withdrawal symptoms that don’t last very long.

Clinical Management of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

The treatment a person obtains during benzodiazepine detox in New Jersey is highly dependent on their symptoms, what type of benzo they were abusing, and their underlying health conditions. Upon admission to a detox center, patients will meet with clinical staff for a comprehensive evaluation. Staff will learn about the patient’s:

  • Medical history
  • Family medical history
  • History of drug abuse
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Current health status
  • Prescription medications

This information is used to create a custom-tailored treatment plan that will meet the patient’s needs. After the initial consultation, patients will begin detoxing.

The most popular way to manage benzodiazepine withdrawal is through tapering. Tapering is the practice of gradually reducing the dose of medication to wean a person off of it. This way, doctors work closely with patients to slowly reduce their dose, eliminating withdrawal symptoms safely and comfortably.

Another method of benzodiazepine detox is commonly referred to as “cold-turkey.” Cold-turkey is when people stop their drug consumption altogether. Rather than slowly tapering down, they stop using drugs suddenly and face the worst of their withdrawal symptoms. However, detoxing cold turkey from benzodiazepines can be dangerous and result in potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Medications Used During Benzodiazepine Detox

In addition to a benzo taper, doctors at benzodiazepine detox centers in New Jersey will use a variety of medications to help patients manage their withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The medications may vary depending on which symptoms a person is experiencing.

Although there are no FDA-approved medications to treat benzodiazepine withdrawal, there are medications used to relieve some of the discomforts.[3] These include:

  • Buspirone – a non-addictive medication that is used to treat anxiety.
  • Acamprosate – a medication used to treat alcohol dependence that can also relieve feelings of anxiety, sleeplessness, and restlessness.
  • Flumazenil – a benzodiazepine overdose remedy that may also help reset GABA receptors and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Doctors may also administer vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies to help boost the immune system and promote a healthier body. These natural substances may be able to reduce withdrawal symptoms and the duration of withdrawal.

Find a Benzodiazepine Detox Center in New Jersey

While detox alone is not enough to secure long-term sobriety, it is the first vital step towards starting a new life. Whether you need help finding a benzodiazepine detox program in New Jersey or you need help convincing a loved one to go to rehab, our team at New Jersey Addiction Interventions can help. Don’t wait any longer – pick up the phone and call today.

References:

  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1711840/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896864/

Medically Reviewed: May 14, 2021

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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