What to Do After Treatment for Benzos

What to Do After Treatment for Benzos

Adopting healthy habits is an important part of all addiction recoveries

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are a class of drugs that treat anxiety, seizures and insomnia. These drugs work by calming neurotransmitters in the brain that have become over stimulated: when these neurotransmitters become excited (particularly GABA, the chemical that suppresses the nerves), feelings of anxiety result, as does an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and the inability to sleep. Benzodiazepines work in the brain and spinal cord by enhancing the effects of GABA, but these drugs are highly habit forming[i]. According to Medical News Today, benzos are currently some of the most widely-prescribed drugs in the US, especially among senior citizens[ii]. However, using more of the drug for longer periods of time than prescribed by a physician can lead to addiction so seek help both to get and stay clean from these drugs.

Benzodiazepine Treatment Basics

When someone is addicted to benzodiazepines, treatment in an addiction facility is necessary for recovery to succeed[iii]. As with other drugs, medically supervised detox is the best way to ensure treatment success, because this treatment process allows patients to rid their bodies of drugs in a safe and secure way. After detox ends, diagnosis is the next step in the treatment process. Because benzos treat anxiety, the addict may already have an anxiety diagnosis. However, underlying mental illnesses could have gone undetected, which is why a proper diagnosis is so important for recovering addicts. When someone struggles with both mental illness and addiction, treatment is necessary for both conditions at the same time for treatment to succeed. A combination of medications and psychotherapy is usually the treatment of choice for those with this type of Dual Diagnosis.

Once professionals reach a diagnosis, the true treatment can begin. Treatment for benzo addiction involves a combination of individual, group and family therapy, as well as holistic methods to treat the entire person—body, mind and spirit. Nutrition programs, exercise classes, yoga and meditation are all components that help increase the likelihood of treatment success. Once treatment for benzos ends, continuing in ongoing support is vital to recovery. Ongoing support groups offer a place for people to share their feelings, successes and struggles in a safe and non-threatening environment. For people in recovery, ongoing support groups can be both a lifeline and a much-needed social outlet.

How to Succeed After Benzo Treatment Ends

Because benzodiazepines work in the brain and spine, it takes a great deal of time for the central nervous system to recover from an addiction to these drugs. This idea even applies to people who never intended to abuse drugs: many people who struggle with benzo addiction are “accidental addicts,” but it takes the same amount of time for their bodies to feel and function “normally” as for people who abused benzos to get high. It is important to remember that setbacks often come after days of feeling well and healthy again, because this process is natural during benzo addiction recovery. You may have energy for the first time in months, but then feel horrible the next day. Understand that this swing is part of the process, and then you will have prepared for both the bad and good days. On the days when recovery is going well, you may be tempted to commit to too many things; but, if you know ahead of time that bad days are still likely, then you can pace yourself. Listen to your body and rest when you need to reduce the bad days to fewer and farther between.

Along with listening to your body, it is important to remember that recovery is all about the individual. You may know people who have recovered from benzodiazepine addiction, and they may have had a different experience than you have. If you try to make their experiences yours, then will do nothing more than set yourself up for discouragement. In short, make your own goals with your own timelines so as to avoid the habit of comparing yourself with others.

Adopting healthy habits is an important part of all addiction recoveries, but especially for those who struggle with benzo addiction. To get and stay clean, develop an exercise routine, eat a healthy diet, get quality sleep and take time to nourish your spirit through meditation or religious practices. Other tasks are also important, such as regularly attending support group meetings and keeping appointments with your therapist. Remember that proper treatment requires meeting the needs of your body, mind and spirit. Address each area and give it the necessary attention to stay on the road to recovery from benzos.

Find Help for Benzo Addiction

Benzodiazepines can be an important part of treatment for anxiety, seizures and insomnia. If you use the drugs for longer periods of time than prescribed by a physician, then you may become an addict, which means you will need professional help to recovery. If you or a loved one struggles with benzo addiction, then know that we are here for you. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.

[i] RxList Internet Drug Index. “Benzodiazepine Drug Information.” Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.rxlist.com/benzodiazepines/drugs-condition.htm

[ii] Medical News Today. “What are Benzodiazepines? What are the Risks of Benzodiazepines?” Accessed November  9, 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262809.php

[iii] WebMD.: Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center. “Benzodiazepine Abuse.” Accessed November 9, 2015. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/benzodiazepine-abuse