If you are struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines or “benzos,” you are not alone. Benzos represent a very common medication class, and the number of people who are receiving a benzodiazepine prescription is increasing. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzo prescriptions increased a whopping 67 percent in a 7-year period.
Some people who are prescribed benzos to help manage anxiety or sleeplessness find themselves becoming increasingly dependent on the medication. This dependency can quickly develop into an addiction, which is defined as being unable to function properly without medication.
Having a benzo addiction can be dangerous because too much of the medication can cause severe symptoms—such as respiratory slowing or even death—but withdrawing from benzos can have equally severe consequences.
Here is everything you need to know about benzo withdrawal, how long benzo withdrawal lasts, and how to deal with benzo withdrawal if you are a college student.
College Students with Benzo Addiction
College can be a stressful time of life, and many college students are prescribed benzos to help with conditions related to being in a challenging academic environment, such as increased anxiety or problems sleeping. The most common types of benzos that are prescribed to college students include the following:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Valium (diazepam)
Many college students given a benzo prescription to help with anxiety or insomnia begin taking it exactly as prescribed. However, as their bodies adapt to the medication, they may develop a tolerance, meaning that it takes more of the medication to get the same relieving effect. Students may also develop a physical dependence on benzos, meaning that when they stop taking them they begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. Physical dependence can develop as soon as 3-6 weeks after a person starts taking benzos.
Because of increased tolerance or dependence, many college students can slide into a pattern of misuse of benzos, meaning that they begin taking them differently than they have been prescribed, such as at higher doses, or more frequently than indicated. Some students may even begin taking benzos without a prescription. Misuse is especially common in college students—according to the American Psychiatry Association (APA), the age group that most commonly misuses benzos is people between the ages of 18 and 25.
When a routine benzo prescription turns into misuse of benzos, you may be facing a benzo addiction. Benzo addictions can be very serious, and sometimes fatal. Also, benzo withdrawal can be medically serious, or even fatal, so you mustn’t try to decrease your dose or stop using benzos on your own, without working with a specialized medical provider.
Benzo Withdrawal While at School
Going through the withdrawal process at school can be very difficult because it can be hard to predict which symptoms you may have, and when they may occur. If you are facing a benzo addiction and the possibility of going through benzo withdrawal at school, you should learn as much information as possible about the withdrawal process. The benzo withdrawal timeline varies from person to person. It can be influenced by the type of benzos that you have been using (short-acting or long-acting), the length of time that you have been taking them, and any other prescriptions or medical conditions you may have.
If you are going through benzo withdrawal at school, you should not try to do it on your own. Serious events, such as fatal seizures, can occur in people who attempt to withdraw from benzos without medical supervision. If you are interested in treating Benzodiazepine addiction in Miami, you have many resources available to guide you and keep you safe.
How Long Does Benzo Withdrawal Last for College Students?
You may be wondering how long does benzo withdrawal last. College students and others facing benzo withdrawal will generally experience more than one phase of withdrawal. The acute phase of benzo withdrawal generally starts 1 to 5 days after you stop using benzos and can last for 5 to 28 days. In the acute phase, symptoms of benzo withdrawal can include the following:
- Panic attacks
- Problems sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle spasms
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Vision changes
- Excessive sensitivity to sounds or body sensations
- Grand mal seizures
After the acute phase, researchers estimate that up to 25 percent of people who use benzos can experience a protracted withdrawal phase, as well. This protracted phase can last 12 months or longer. Protracted withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, depression, ringing in the ears, numbness or tingling in the extremities, or digestive system effects.
Your Journey to Benzo Addiction Recovery Is Possible
It is entirely possible to recover from an addiction to benzos and to find benzo withdrawal relief. In general, medical professionals recommend a gradual reduction in your dose of benzos (also known as a taper), in collaboration with a trained professional who can provide medical and psychological support. Seeking help for your benzo addiction is critical. Your support team can also connect you with important resources related to your withdrawal. They may prescribe medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms or provide advice regarding the best supplements for benzo withdrawal.
Best Addiction Treatment Center in Miami for Benzo Addiction
It can be scary to face addiction, especially when there are negative consequences to continuing your addiction. But no universal answer to how long benzo withdrawal will last. The journey to recovery is as personal as the addiction process itself.
Seeking help for your addiction during the withdrawal process is key to ensuring your safety and your successful recovery. Once you make the decision to get help, you owe it to yourself to select the best addiction treatment center in Miami. Reach out today by calling 800-719-1090 or visiting the Summer House Detox Center at 13550 Memorial Highway, Miami, FL, 33161.