Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

on May 6, 2024

Xanax, Klonopin, and other benzodiazepines are highly addictive prescription drugs that can create physical and psychological dependence quickly. Medical detox at ORC can help you stop using these drugs safely, while further treatment can help ensure lasting recovery.

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs prescribed for short-term use in the treatment of anxiety disorders and insomnia.

If you take benzodiazepines for a longer period and develop physical dependence, or if you have misused these drugs and developed an addiction, you can benefit from our comprehensive detox services at Ohio Recovery Center.

If you are experiencing an addiction, further evidence-based treatment at our state-of-the-art inpatient center can get to the root of your addiction and provide the tools you need for long-term recovery.

Benzodiazepine Treatment Options At ORC

Benzodiazepine use can lead to dependence and addiction, making it very difficult, and even unsafe, to stop using these drugs on your own.

A full evaluation and assessment from our medical and clinical teams can help determine your needs for withdrawal management and other treatment services.

Providing you with 24/7 medical care, supervision, and support, detox programs typically last about a week at ORC, while further addiction treatment lasts two to four weeks. 

Our holistic approach to recovery includes plenty of opportunities for social and wellness activities on our beautiful 55-acre campus, including yoga, hiking, sports, movie nights, and more.

Detox Program

It is always recommended that people with benzodiazepine addictions seek assistance through a medical detox program.

This is because benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening at times, including anxiety, sleep disturbances, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, and seizures.

Our medical team can provide a tapering schedule, vitals monitoring, medications, around-the-clock supervision, and more to ensure your safety and success during withdrawal.  

Evidence-Based Therapy

Various behavioral therapies are proven to help people facing addiction achieve lasting recovery. 

At ORC, we provide cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other evidence-based therapies, including group therapy and family psychoeducation.

These sessions will make up the bulk of your treatment, providing insights into your condition, coping skills, general health and wellness education, relapse prevention tools, and more. 

Additional Treatment Options

Peer support groups at ORC provide a safe space to share your experiences, connect further with peers, build relationships, and grow in confidence.

Find centering and groundedness through group meditation and yoga, or play basketball, sand volleyball, baseball, or cornhole to relieve stress. These are just a few of the activities offered at Ohio Recovery Center.

You will also receive support from a licensed case manager during your stay with us, offering help with any issues involving time off from work, legal concerns, and more.

Your aftercare team will ensure that you have access to all the resources you need for continued recovery once you leave us.

To find out if our inpatient treatment center is right for you or a family member, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

Learn More About Benzodiazepines

Classified as Schedule IV controlled substances, benzodiazepines have medical uses, for the treatment of anxiety disorders and insomnia, but also the potential for misuse and addiction. In fact, most people who develop an addiction initially received a benzodiazepine prescription.

Out of concern for public safety, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has temporarily classified five synthetic benzodiazepines, also called “designer benzos,” as Schedule I controlled substances, through July 26, 2025.

This is because these benzodiazepines in particular have increasingly been involved in overdoses in the U.S.

However, any misuse of benzodiazepines can result in an overdose, and buying any pills on the black market comes with an increased risk of overdose because they are often cut with fentanyl.

Benzos are only intended for short-term use, as physical dependence can develop quickly. Tolerance can also lead to taking higher doses to achieve the same initial effects, such as sedation or feelings of euphoria.

Examples of benzodiazepines that are commonly abused include:

Other benzodiazepines include:

Short-Term Side Effects

Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and increase dopamine in the brain. Even when used as prescribed, side effects may occur. 

Short-term side effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • drowsiness
  • memory problems
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • sleepiness

Long-Term Side Effects

Those who participate in long-term use of benzodiazepines have an increased risk of developing dependence and addiction. 

Side effects a person may experience with long-term use include:

  • increased sedation, drowsiness, and other common effects
  • mood swings
  • cognitive impairment
  • withdrawal symptoms if the drug is stopped abruptly
  • benzodiazepine overdose

Taking high doses of benzodiazepines can cause heavy sedation, which can also lead to an increased risk of injury or death from falls, drownings, or motor vehicle accidents.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is a sign of physical dependence, a frequent effect of long-term or even short-term benzo use.

People taking benzodiazepines are not advised to stop their use “cold turkey,” because withdrawal symptoms may be severe.

Benzo withdrawal symptoms include:

  • seizures
  • tremors
  • heart problems
  • headaches
  • anxiety or depression
  • sweating

Due to the severity of these symptoms, medical care and supervision is required when stopping the use of benzodiazepines.

Warning Signs Of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepine misuse can develop into an addiction, a mental health condition that requires professional treatment.

Warnings signs of prescription drug addiction can include:

  • appetite or sleep changes
  • sudden weight changes
  • poor physical hygiene or appearance
  • suspicious or secretive behaviors
  • poor performance at work or school
  • neglecting responsibilities at home
  • prioritizing benzodiazepine use over daily responsibilities
  • continuing to use benzos despite harmful consequences

Polydrug Use 

Combining other medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs with benzodiazepines can be a sign of addiction.

This is called polysubstance abuse, and it comes with serious health risks, including overdose, due to the unpredictable effects of combining drugs.

Find Treatment At Ohio Recovery Center Today

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to benzodiazepines, contact us today. Our treatment specialists can help you get the treatment you need.

  1. Australian Prescriber — Management of Benzodiazepine Misuse and Dependence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657308/
  2. Drug Enforcement Administration — Benzodiazepines https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Benzodiazepenes-2020_1.pdf
  3. The Mental Health Clinician — Benzodiazepine Use, Misuse, and Abuse https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007645/
  4. National Alliance on Mental Illness — Benzodiazepine-Associated Risks https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Benzodiazepine-Associated-Risks
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Commonly Abused Drugs https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/nida_commonlyabuseddrugs_rx_final_printready.pdf
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf
  7. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – Trends in Nonfatal and Fatal Overdoses Involving Benzodiazepines https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7034a2.htm
  8. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Five Synthetic Benzodiazepine Drugs Deemed Imminent Hazard to Public Safety https://www.dea.gov/stories/2023/2023-09/2023-09-25/five-synthetic-benzodiazepine-drugs-deemed-imminent-hazard-public#:~:text=On%20July%2026%2C%202023%2C%20DEA,Controlled%20Substances%20Act%20(CSA).

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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