Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are prescription medications that treat acute anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and related conditions. While they’re highly effective in the right context, they carry a risk of dependence with long-term use and can cause withdrawals when discontinued. Understanding the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal is crucial for anyone using these medications.

Why Are Benzos Addictive?

There is no easy answer to this question, as addiction is a multifaceted health issue caused by genetic, neurochemical, psychological, social, and environmental factors. However, from a purely neurochemical perspective, benzodiazepines are addictive because they rapidly increase dopamine levels and activate the “reward center” in the brain while quickly calming the sympathetic nervous system.

This neurological reward response—especially when paired with a sudden relief from (often chronic) anxiety and distress—creates a strong urge to continue using benzos, even if you know they’re potentially dangerous.

Common Benzodiazepine Brands

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin

Appropriate Use Of Benzos

Benzodiazepines aren’t all bad—they are highly effective for short-term anxiety, agitation, and panic occurring on rare occasions, such as during a psychiatric hospitalization or before a stressful medical or dental procedure. That being said, relying heavily on them for chronic conditions like social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder is not good because this can put you on a fast track to benzo addiction.

Healthy Benzo Alternatives

If you’re struggling with anxiety or panic attacks but want a safer, long-term solution, consider talking to a psychiatrist about more sustainable, non-addictive medications, like SSRIs, SNRIs, or buspirone. These safer meds can also be paired with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), exposure therapy, meditation, yoga, and other forms of supportive care.

Common Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Increased Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Insomnia & Sleep Disturbances
  • Muscle Tension & Pain
  • Hyperventilation
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Gastrointestinal Distress
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Depression
  • Suicidality
  • Hallucinations & Delusions
  • Grand Mal Seizures

Why Choose Medical Detox?

Benzo withdrawals are not something to take lightly. Sometimes, quitting cold turkey can cause seizures, psychosis, and even death. In a detox center, you’ll have access to 24/7 symptom management and nursing care to help you get through the first step towards recovery as safely and comfortably as possible.

Overcoming Your Prescription Pill Addiction In Utah

At Nexstep Medical Detox, we’re committed to providing a safe, professionally-staffed, and judgment-free environment for you to detox from benzodiazepines and other addictive substances. We encourage you to contact us today to inquire about the intake process.