5 Things You Should Know About Benzo Withdrawal


shutterstock_250781602The Brain

Two systems in the brain work opposite one another: glutamate and GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). Glutamate is like a gas pedal which gets things started. GABA slows things down. Benzodiazepines damage GABA receptors so glutamate is free to push the brain into hyperspeed which over-excites the entire body. When GABA receptors are damaged, the body has a harder time calming down. The central nervous system goes into overdrive and the limbic system (responsible for fight or flight) continues to alert the body around the clock. When this occurs, a person may experience symptoms such as fear, terror and panic. Severe depression, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, burning skin and other symptoms can occur after taking benzos.


Find a Doctor

Most doctors are not well educated on the dangers of benzodiazepines or the withdrawal process and symptoms. For this reason, an individual needs to self educate. Online communities exist for support run by survivors of addiction to benzos and more people are turning to this for help and guidance. This may also lead to finding a doctor who understands benzos and the withdrawal process to provide appropriate assistance. Always consult with a medical doctor with experience in this area before attempting to withdraw without assistance.


Time Heals

No pills can speed up the process of detoxing from benzos. For a price, many drugs and vitamins offer to make the process easier when, in fact, they may make it worse. Vitamin D, B and magnesium, for example, may increase the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Medical marijuana can also increase the severity of symptoms including anxiety, depersonalization, fear and paranoia. The best way to go through a benzo withdrawal is slowly and allow the body to do what it needs to heal itself.


Food Triggers

Certain foods can trigger symptoms to be more severe. During withdrawal, many people experience food sensitivities including salmon, cane sugar and honey. MSG should be avoided as well as caffeine and alcohol. Benzo addiction survivors often move towards vegan, Paleo and other diets which are found to be helpful in feeling better throughout the process. Avoid certain foods and do what works best depending on the individual circumstances.


Avoid Dosing Up

Some individuals are advised to take more of the drug if it is a struggle to taper off. “Kindling” can occur where, when the dose goes down then up, coming down can be harder the second time as the brain has been ‘kindled.’ If the drug has been out of the system for more than four (4) weeks, going back on the drug can backfire. Tolerance may have occurred and to reinstate the drug does not bring relief and the symptoms of withdrawal may be more severe.
Freedom is possible. Lead Recovery is committed to the health and recovery of every one of our patients. For more information about Benzo our addiction recovery services, contact our front desk at 800-380-0012.