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Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Detox and Withdrawal

Benzo withdrawal is hard and the symptoms are often almost the same as those that would be experienced from withdrawal of the medication or drug that people took in the first place. It is very important to have some awareness of what you are likely to expect in terms of signs and symptoms of withdrawal of benzo in order to increase the chance of successful recovery.

Understanding Benzo Withdrawal

The symptoms of withdrawal will depend on a lot of different factors, including how long the drug was taken and at what dosage. However, it is reasonable to expect a six to 12 months withdrawal period, with a gradual improvement. It is also common to find symptoms fluctuate between being tolerable and being horrible.

It is also important to understand the difference between tolerance withdrawal, which is where people continue to have cravings but these are of a psychological nature, and acute withdrawal, which is the initial stage where the body detoxes off the drug. The problem with benzo is that it impairs people on a neurological, cognitive and intellectual level. This can make it difficult for patients to voice what they are experiencing. However, these impairments are not permanent.

Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal

During acute withdrawal, you can expect:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Anxiety, which can include panic and terror attacks
  • Impaired concentration
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Muscle cramps, spams and fasciculation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Aches and pains
  • Dry mouth
  • Disturbances in taste and smell
  • Hearing impairment
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Chest pains
  • Increased auditory sensitivity
  • Impaired concentration and memory
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Headaches
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Stiffness
  • Rebound REM sleep
  • Hypersomia
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Metallic taste
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Paranoia
  • Photophobia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Tachycardia
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression (possibly severe)
  • Postural hypotension
  • Tremors
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of appetite leading to weight loss
  • Sweating
  • Depersonalization
  • Dysphoria
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Paraesthesia
  • Tinnitus
  • Mood swings
  • Visual disturbances
  • Indecision
  • Mood swings
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Dangers and Complications

It is incredibly important to withdraw of benzo under proper medical care, because it is possible to experience serious and possibly life-threatening complications if you rapidly stop taking the drug. These complications include:

  • Potentially lethal convulsions
  • Catatonia, which can be permanent or deadly
  • Coma

One of the other issues that is very important is the severe depression that often comes with withdrawal. It is not uncommon for people to experience both suicidal and homicidal thoughts, and to act on these as well. Self-harm, including taking other addictive substances, is also very common, which can lead to overdose. At Creative Care, we specialize in dual diagnosis as well, which means we understand how to offer holistic treatment to people who suffer from both a substance abuse problem and a mental illness.

Interestingly, some people come off benzo and experience almost no withdrawal symptoms. It is not known why this variation between individuals exists, although some preliminary tests on animals suggest that a genetic component may be at play. Unfortunately, not tests exist at present to determine how each individual will experience withdrawal. We will work closely with you in order to help you prepare for your withdrawal and to support you, regardless of the symptoms you will experience.