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 / Benzodiazepine / How Long Does It Take To Detox From Benzos?

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Benzos? (Timeline)

Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs whose main chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepane. Medically, benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat seizures, anxiety, and insomnia.

Though they have a calming effect, the drug is highly addictive, with a total of 12.6% (30.6 million) adults reported having used benzodiazepines within the past 12 months – 10.4% (25.3 million) were prescribed users while 2.2% (5.3 million) were abusers who accounted for 17.2% of overall use.

 

Continued benzodiazepine abuse is associated with mental disorders, emergency room visits, and suicidal indentation. However, abruptly stopping a benzodiazepine can lead to withdrawals that vary in severity, typically occurring within 24 hours and lasting from a few days to a few months.

   

If you are looking to stop benzodiazepine consumption, it’s highly recommended to do so under the guidance of a professional caregiver and other tools that make the process more comfortable. This post focuses on how long it takes to detox from benzodiazepines, including the standard detox timeline and withdrawal phases.

Benzodiazepine Detox Timeline

There is already an established standard timeline for benzodiazepine withdrawal triggered when a person abruptly stops or dramatically reduces consumption. However, exactly when the first symptoms will appear, how long they will last, and the type of benzodiazepine influences the severity. 

 

Withdrawal symptoms will kick in after 24 hours; in extreme cases, they could last for several months. The symptoms will vary from individual to individual, as well as the length of benzodiazepine abuse and the strength of the dose consumed. Prolonged withdrawals are also a standard feature, with 10% of users still feeling withdrawal symptoms years after they stopped the habit. Here is a general idea of the benzo withdrawal timeline stage by stage:

  • Days 1-2: - The initial withdrawal symptoms include the rebound of insomnia, anxiety, and loss of appetite, among others. These symptoms appear 6-12 hours after stopping the consumption of short-acting benzodiazepines, while long-acting benzo's symptoms appear after 24-48 hours.

 

  • Days 3-7: - Insomnia and anxiety will intensify after 3-7 days for short-acting benzos. Mental symptoms such as irritability or agitation are usually set at this stage. A caregiver might monitor your condition for signs of a seizure and recommend other drugs to manage the symptoms.

   

  • Days 8-14: - At this point, you might start feeling better, but symptoms will continue on and off. This primarily affects individuals who consume stronger, long-acting benzos, which tend to stay in the system for much longer.

  • Day 15-28 and beyond: - Acute withdrawal symptoms will start subsiding though some clients might experience protracted withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, persistent cravings, or anxiety. It is highly recommended that you continue receiving mental health support for as long as necessary.

 

For shorter-acting benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Restoril, and Ativan, withdrawal symptoms typically kick in 24 hours after the drug is purged out of the patient's body. The symptoms will worsen gradually until they reach their peak on the second day, where they will slowly improve in two or three days. Acute withdrawal symptoms for short-acting benzos can last around two to four weeks.

 

Withdrawal symptoms for longer-acting benzos such as Valium and Librium usually take longer to appear. Some symptoms may occur after two days or even a week for some longer-acting benzos. After the first symptoms appear, they will continue getting intense until they reach their peak after two weeks of abstinence. They will then slowly start improving in the coming week or two. Acute withdrawal symptoms for long-acting benzos can last between two and eight weeks.

Medically Reviewed:

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Phases

Benzos withdrawal often occurs in three phases: early, acute, and protracted. Each of these phases has its timeline. When going through these phases, you should be under the guidance of a withdrawal plan developed by a professional health practitioner. 

Early withdrawal: Early/immediate withdrawal symptoms, also known as rebound symptoms, occur shortly after the individual has stopped consuming benzodiazepines. During this stage, the patient might start to experience the symptoms of conditions such as anxiety that benzodiazepine was treated initially. You can use other drugs or drug tapering to make rebound withdrawal symptoms a bit bearable and manageable.

   

Acute withdrawal: These withdrawal symptoms kick in a few days after the early signs. This is the stage where most of the withdrawal symptoms are at their highest, and most users that have gone through the entire timeline claim it was their most challenging phase. Acute withdrawal symptoms usually last for around 5 to 28 days; for some, they could last for a few months.

 

During this phase, your physician will regularly monitor the patient and recommend other drugs to help manage the symptoms.

Protracted withdrawal: Many symptoms subside after the acute withdrawal phase, but some side effects might linger for some time. According to the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 10-25% of individuals with prolonged benzodiazepine use experience withdrawal symptoms that last 12 months or longer. Protracted withdrawals are also known to raise signs of their own, known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).

 

Some of the symptoms associated with PAWS include:

  • Mood swings

  • Insomnia

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Poor Concentration

  • Loss of sex drive

Rolling Hills Recovery Center offers free 24/7 benzo addiction support. Call today and confidentially speak with our addiction specialists at 855-559-8550.

Treatment Following Benzodiazepine Detox

The final stage of the detoxification program involves helping the individual transition into other drug abuse treatments. While medical detox is essential in recovering from benzodiazepine abuse, it is often used to make withdrawal symptoms bearable. It is not a permanent solution and will likely be used with additional treatment.

 

Inpatient or outpatient treatment programs are an excellent place to start since they help participants acquire vital skills that can help them maintain their new sober lifestyle for the long term. These programs effectively address underlying issues that lead to addiction, including emotional, mental, and social factors, which are considered when providing a range of coping skills and relapse prevention techniques.

Treatment at Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Get Benzodiazepine Treatment Services at Rolling Hills Recovery Center

At Rolling Hills Recovery Center, we provide personalized addiction treatment plans that work. Our primary objective is to provide the tools you need to live a life free from addiction by utilizing a comprehensive array of innovative approaches that provide the best evidence-based practices for treating addictive disorders.

 

Visit us today to learn more about our treatment and programs.

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Benzodiazepine detox timeline
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