After you have been in treatment for benzodiazepine abuse, you need to take into consideration some of the unique circumstances surrounding addiction to this medication.
There are many different drugs classified as benzodiazepines, which are sometimes called benzos. This form of medication is known as a tranquilizer and some common forms include: Klonopin, Xanax, Vicodin and Ativan. These are also some of the most commonly prescribed medications. Leaving rehab can be a scary time, but know you can do it. You can live with a clear mind again. Here are some important things to consider after you have left rehab:
Talk to Your Doctor
After you have gone through treatment, it is urgent to talk with your doctor. Communicate how you feel and any symptoms you are having. You will likely experience some varying degrees of withdrawal from the use of benzodiazepines.
In many cases, it is normal to have to taper down on use instead of stopping “cold turkey.” Some common withdrawal symptoms include: nausea, dizziness, twitches, chills, profuse sweating, spasms and tremors. In some cases, the withdrawal from extended use of benzodiazepines can be life threatening. So talk to your doctor and communicate openly about how you feel.
Learn About the Withdrawal Process
Normally, the withdrawal process is managed by slowly reducing the dosage and transferring the patient from a slow acting to a long acting form of the drug. Still, full resolution of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome can take up to six months or even longer.
In some cases, the physiological dependence on benzodiazepines is accompanied by a withdrawal syndrome. This often includes poor sleep patterns, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, shaking hands, profuse sweating, difficulty thinking clearly, extreme nausea, some weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness and a host of perceptual changes. Other cases have reported more serious developments such as seizures and psychotic reactions. Some of these withdrawal symptoms will be more extreme depending on your chemical makeup, your genetics and other factors. For example, a panic attack can include pain in your chest, trouble breathing and other symptoms that may make you think you are having a heart attack. Do not hesitate to go to your doctor to get appropriate treatment and/or medical attention.
If your current doctor is the one who prescribed you a benzodiazepine, ask for an alternative form of treatment. Also be sure to let your doctor know you are in treatment from substance abuse related to benzos. Some forms of alternative treatment include: yoga, meditation, exercise, diet, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, creative therapy and more. If your doctor will not consider any other forms of treatment for you, ask why that is the case and consider getting a second opinion if needed.
In some cases, you may even face three rounds of withdrawal from using benzodiazepines. Withdrawal from normal dosage benzodiazepine treatment can result in a number of symptomatic patterns. The most common stage is experiencing anxiety and insomnia within between one to four days of stopping use. The second pattern of withdrawal usually lasts one to two weeks.
Finally, a third pattern may represent the return of anxiety symptoms, which then persist until some form of treatment is instituted. Physiological dependence on benzodiazepines can occur following prolonged treatment with therapeutic doses, but it is not definitive how many patients experience a withdrawal syndrome.
Use Your Support Network
As you are now living a sober life it is essential to have a support network to help you stay clean. This means having supportive friends, family and loved ones with you in the recovery process. You must communicate with them and not isolate yourself or you will face more challenges. If you are lonely, this can quickly lead to depression. You must use your support network or in some ways you don’t really have one.
Consider going to a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous where you can connect with and share stories with others who feel just like you do. If this sounds a little scary, get one of your friends to go with you to an open meeting—that is a meeting open to everyone. Not all meetings are the same. Many churches have support groups for addiction as well. There are many different ways to connect—don’t hesitate to get the help you need.
One of the most important parts of any support network is to have a good therapist. This is an individual who has years of training in addiction to help you grow and get healthy again. In most cases, you will participate in talk therapy where you just talk about how you are feeling and what is going on in your life. It has been proven to be very helpful and healing. Once you get professional help you will start to see what some of your triggers are for your addiction and replace them with healthy behavior that is good for you and the relationships around you.