Benzodiazepines (often called “benzos”) are a class of drugs prescribed to treat clinically severe anxiety. Neurological conditions and psychiatric disorders make up the major uses of this drug, but people can use it for other purposes. Benzos include familiar drugs such as Xanax and Valium as well as less common drugs like Restoril. Let’s discuss how benzos affect the body and how long they stay in the system.
Benzos work by affecting a brain chemical known as gamma-aminobutyric acid. Also known as GABA, this is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that suppresses neurons and their functions. With seizures and anxiety, the medications are some of the best medical treatments available for these conditions.
Benzos can help you sleep but are also used for relaxation and anesthesia. They can treat withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other drugs. They are powerful in targeting the neurotransmitters in the brain and the spinal cord, making them often used for relaxing and getting oneself into a hazy mood.
The various types of benzodiazepines might all seem to be similar, but they vary in:
- The rate of onset
- The duration of their effect
- Their potency
- Their tendency to stay in your system
What Are the Most Common Benzodiazepines?
Benzos are schedule IV drugs. They all have the potential for abuse, but they are regularly prescribed to treat various medical conditions.
- Xanax, Librium, Ativan, and Valium can treat anxiety disorders.
- Valium, Klonopin, and Onfi can treat seizures.
- Valium, Ativan, and Versed can act as anesthesia.
- Restoril, Halcion, and Prosom can give the patient better sleep and address insomnia.
- Librium and Valium often work for withdrawal from alcohol.
- Xanax and Valium can act as muscle relaxants.
Benzos replaced barbiturates owing to their increased rates of success and reduced risk levels. They are a depressant to the central nervous system, which is the brain and the spinal cord. They pose a severe risk whenever mixed with drugs of a similar nature. For instance, mixing benzos with alcohol can be dangerous, but the drug treats people with alcohol withdrawal effects.
A growing number of benzos prescriptions have led to more people taking the drugs recreationally. Xanax is one of the most prevalent ones. It relaxes the muscles, among other uses.
How Long Do Benzos Stay in the System?
Different benzodiazepines spend various amounts of time in the system. The drug’s half-life usually measures these times. Half-life refers to the time taken by your body to process and get rid of the drug. Usually, five half-lives are needed to remove the active components of a drug from your body.
Some benzos get eliminated from the system pretty quickly, while others will remain for much longer.
The following is an estimate of how long benzos stay in the system:
- Valium: 10-30 days
- Ativan: 5 days
- Xanax: 5 days
- Halcion: 7-15 hours
- Klonopin: 5 days
- Ambient: 1 day
There are three categories: the long-acting class of benzos, the intermediate-acting, and the short-acting. Such classifications enable professionals in the medical industry to prescribe different benzos for different conditions.
Long-acting benzos make people feel drowsy or hazy when their dose is too high. Abusing the medication can lead to an accumulation of a sedative feeling. On the other hand, some of the fast-acting benzos will be likely to cause confusion and memory loss.
Consuming the benzos with other drugs causes the benzodiazepine to get metabolized more slowly. Alcohol intake alongside a benzo means that the liver will metabolize the alcohol over the other substances. It means that the benzo will be in your system for much longer when you take it along with other drugs.
Some other factors also affect how long benzos stay in your system:
- Liver functioning and metabolism
- Body size and weight
- General health
Someone who has a much faster metabolism will get rid of the benzos from their body systems much more quickly. It is why younger people who are well-hydrated might be able to eliminate all signs of the drug from their body systems within a matter of hours. Multiple factors determine how long the body can retain the drugs and how long its side effects will last. Knowing this is important and determines how long you will feel the effect of a benzo.
For someone who uses benzos to get rid of anxiety and other issues they are dealing with, it is possible to become addicted to the drug. The fast action of the drugs and the parts of the brain they are known to affect makes them very addictive. People looking to recover from alcohol withdrawal will often use benzos to manage better, but addiction could develop.
Benzodiazepine addiction brings with it a wide variety of side effects. These include:
- Memory impairment
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
- Respiratory depression
- Heart rate change
Benzos are known to alter your brain’s chemistry, which is one of the reasons that recovering from an addiction can be very hard. It is made even harder without counseling and guidance from professionals.
If you are addicted to benzos, or you know someone who is, do not be afraid. There is help and counseling available. Even individuals with long-standing addictions have hope and a future, and they should not go on the journey alone. They deserve to get help and dedicated care and attention. It is the reason the Granite Recovery Center is here for you.
Granite Recovery Center
Research has indicated that a third of the people who have been using benzos for at least six months will face health issues. They may experience seizures when they try to quit. This makes it important to go through withdrawal under the supervision of professionals at an addiction treatment facility like Granite Recovery Center.
The recovery process for benzos addiction begins with a detoxification process. It ensures that the substance has been eliminated from the body. Withdrawal from benzos is complicated, and the detox process will need medical supervision until it has been completed. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Upon stabilizing from the detox, the patients will be taken through various programs for counseling and therapy. The settings for these sessions are usually very welcoming and friendly. They ensure that each patient gets a relaxed, calming, and comfortable environment where they can recover. They get to have a moment away from all the outside world’s pains and stresses in this environment. They are introduced to a safe and supportive environment where they have ample time to recover and learn how to think in a new frame of mind.
Overcoming Benzos Addiction
Most addictions start working at an unnoticeable level. It is usually the result of the brain prompting the patient to take more benzos. After detox, the brain will take some time to recover, so individuals may face temptations to relapse. Reaching out to friends during such instances will help a person maintain a conscious connection and prevent them from reverting to misusing the drug.
Granite Recovery Center gets addicted individuals on the path to recovery. You get the best time to heal with instruction from counselors and supportive peers. You also get monitored for progress throughout the treatment.
At a rehab facility, an individual gets to experience a different world from where they were using drugs to cope with stress. Drugs often let people escape the world, but the experience doesn’t last long, so they will soon experience cravings. It is the brain trying to prompt them into taking more of the drugs. With the change of environment that comes from entering rehab, the brain gets to be rewired so that it does not continue asking for more. As individuals learn how to deal with stress and triggers without turning to drugs, they can feel more peace of mind and leave drug use in their past.
Is Your Loved One Addicted to Benzos?
Intervention is one of the most effective ways for someone addicted to benzos to get help and overcome their addiction. A person with an addiction may not realize how bad things have gotten, so an intervention allows you to confront your loved one and encourage them to get help.
Addiction to benzos is potent and requires professional counseling to get over. The drug’s effect stays on and imprints itself on the brain even after the person has stopped taking it. Going for a long time without taking the drug causes them to have cravings and begin looking for the drug again. Without help, this habit can lead to a worse addiction that is difficult to manage. The person’s health using the drug keeps on deteriorating, and they could suffer severe consequences unless you help them seek treatment.
When your loved one enters a rehabilitation center, a professional will assess them for the signs and symptoms of benzo addiction. These will provide useful clues to the professionals who oversee their detox process explain how to taper off the drug. Detoxification is not the end of the recovery process but is often just the beginning, followed closely by the counseling phase.
Counseling and Ongoing Treatment
The users of benzos can attest to the drugs’ power to keep individuals in the cycle of addiction. Benzos change the chemical design of the brain and make it even harder to overcome compulsive use. The drugs treat anxiety and seizures, which means that a person may not become addicted when taking a medically prescribed drug. However, over time, they may find that it is difficult to quit using benzos. This is why counselors help teach patients in rehab to overcome their cravings and deal with stress in a healthier way.
The counseling stage is a friendly and supportive process that transforms the lives of many people with drug addictions. At Granite Recovery Center, everything possible is done to ensure that an addicted individual can make it through the healing process. Addiction specialists and medical professionals all work hard to ensure that the addiction is gently faced and treated.
Monitoring for signs and symptoms of progress determines when the patient is ready to return to life outside the rehab facility. It also helps identify when dependency on the drug is eliminated and not experiencing any side effects.
With Granite Recovery Center to the rescue, individuals struggling with addiction will no longer have to feel alone. They will gain access to all the counseling they need and support to get over the addiction.
Your friend or family member no longer needs to stay addicted to benzos. Help is available for them, and you can support them along their recovery journey. If you need advice about encouraging your loved one to seek treatment, reach out to our staff today.