Benzodiazepine Detox

When it comes to the percentage of Americans who use a specific substance – legal or otherwise, the statistics might surprise. It’s estimated that 2% of our population uses cocaine, a relatively small number compared to illegal heroin and fentanyl, which has swelled to 8% – and possibly higher since the last round of surveys were conducted.

However, both of those numbers seem modest regarding the percentage of Americans who currently use benzodiazepines – which checks in at a staggering 14%. This amount may not seem shocking to some, considering that benzodiazepines are obtained through a doctor’s prescription – until you consider the fact that benzodiazepine detox can be deadly.

A great deal of the people prescribed benzodiazepines rarely have a firm understanding of the gravity of the situation in terms of how bad the detox period can be. And rarely is a contingency plan in place to provide the patient an alternative or detox plan if the prescription is no longer available to them or if they decide to quit.

Other than the generic “this medication has the potential to be habit-forming” cautionary print on the bottle or literature the patient receives from the pharmacy, many are left to fend for themselves when dependence, and even worse, detox takes hold. Most individuals rarely understand what benzodiazepines are and what is taking place in their brains when they begin their prescriptions.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, otherwise known as benzos, are a form of sedatives prescribed to patients who have challenges associated with anxiety, stress, and panic disorders. Benzos work by calming or relaxing a person, which is done by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter in the brain known as GABA.

GABA inhibits the movement of stress and anxiety signals sent to and from the brain, helping patients avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of acute anxiety or panic attacks or providing long-term relief. Depending on the specific type of medication, some benzos are more for short-acting relief, and others provide long-term benefits.

The most commonly used benzos in the United States are clonazepam (Klonopin), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium). Each of these acts in the same manner on the brain, with slight differences in the length of effectiveness and strength.

Certain benzos are also written off-label for other disorders, such as insomnia, seizures in children, and to combat the effects of alcohol withdrawal. However, all benzodiazepines must be used with caution and under the watchful eye of a physician. Long-term use leads to dependence and almost always requires a benzodiazepine detox.

What Is a Benzodiazepine Detox?

What Is a Benzodiazepine Detox

A benzodiazepine detox is a process of eliminating all traces of the medication from your body. Several forms of benzodiazepine detox exist as options for an individual suffering from benzo use disorder attempting to recover. These forms include:

  • Cold turkey benzodiazepine detox is when someone suddenly refrains from all benzo use. This form usually takes place within a home setting with no medical assistance and is often the most dangerous form of detox.
  • Medically supervised detox occurs in a hospital or rehabilitation facility specializing in the detox process. Individuals are monitored around the clock to treat the most intense symptoms of withdrawal.
  • A tapered benzodiazepine detox may occur in a rehab facility or at home. Benzo tapers are much safer and more effective when individuals are monitored by their primary care physician. This process entails slowly decreasing the amount of the specific medication until the individual can safely abstain from all benzos.

The process of detoxing from benzos, although uncomfortable, is necessary to avoid other challenges associated with this variety of prescription drugs. A wide range of side effects can lead to more significant long-term health challenges after prolonged use.

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Are There Side Effects of Benzodiazepines?

Although benzodiazepine use may have short-term benefits, the side effects associated with prolonged use greatly outweigh any potential advantages. These side effects are present in several different areas of a user’s mental and physical condition, all of which are broken down in the section below.

General Side Effects

The following side effects are all a product of long-term benzo abuse that don’t necessarily fall under any specific category. It’s worth noting that many of these conditions may subside after abstinence. These side effects include:

  • Impaired concentration as well as short and long-term memory loss
  • General depression and disinterest in any hobbies, activities, and life itself
  • Sexual dysfunction, including impotence and decreased sex drive

Even more severe cognitive side effects like the ones listed below typically subside after six months with the help of mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Cognitive Side Effects

Cognitive impairment is another side effect of long-term benzodiazepine use, with areas such as attention span, visual-conceptual, and verbal learning sustaining significant damage. Neuroimaging studies have found transient changes in the brain; however, no abnormalities have ever been found – making a recovery possible after abstaining from using benzos.

Sleep Effects

Although benzos are prescribed for insomnia in certain situations and may put people to sleep, these medications have a significant effect on the architecture of users’ sleep patterns. Not only is sleep time decreased overall, but a substantial amount of REM and deep slow-wave sleep is lost as well.

These two forms of sleep are also known as stages three and four and play the most significant role in restoring energy and mood. The general idea behind the way benzos affect sleep is that the user is, in essence, hindered because of the benzos and not actually achieving well-rested sleep.


A 2018 study also showed increased risks of dementia in individuals who used benzos for an extended period. While the reports did indicate a causative role in terms of benzos and dementia, the exact relationship between the two required further study and examination.

One of the most significant effects of long-term benzo use is the withdrawal caused during the detox period. The withdrawals from benzo drugs have the potential to be fatal – which places further emphasis on the importance of finding an appropriate facility for detox and treatment.

Withdrawals from Benzo Drugs

Withdrawals from Benzo Drugs

Withdrawals from benzo drugs are some of the most dangerous when compared to all other substances that cause withdrawal symptoms during the detox period. A wide range of withdrawal symptoms exists during the benzo detox process with varying degrees of severity depending on the length of use and amounts used during the period of abuse.

Specific stages of the withdrawal process exist, containing specific symptoms that manifest during each respective stage. The following list highlights these withdrawal symptoms in no particular order:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness/vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Stomachache
  • Muscle aches
  • Cramps
  • Hot/cold chills
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Convulsions
  • Seizure

In some of the worst cases, withdrawals from benzo detox may potentially be fatal. This is when the process of benzodiazepine detox becomes critical for wellbeing and long-term recovery.

The Process of Benzodiazepine Detox

The process of benzodiazepine detox can look different for each user depending on the avenue they choose to take on their journey toward recovery. Regardless, it’s an incredibly uncomfortable process and, in the worst cases, can include severe health risks.

One of the best ways to approach the process of benzodiazepine detox is with a customized detox plan. Additionally, methods for managing anxiety without benzos must also be considered for the period after detox.

Having a source that aids with both of these processes is crucial – and one of the primary reasons to choose a Hawaii benzo detox.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Reasons to Choose a Hawaii Benzo Detox

There are several reasons to choose a Hawaii benzo detox if you struggle with benzo use disorder. Consider the following driving forces behind making this critical decision:

  • Help with avoiding the most severe risks of benzodiazepine detox
  • Licensed medical and mental health staff on hand to monitor and provide care
  • Comfortable environment with access to medications
  • Other benefits like IV administration and nutritional elements ensure dehydration and malnourishment don’t disrupt the recovery process

Understanding the risks of detoxing from benzodiazepines is essential before making an informed decision.

What Are the Risks of Detox from Benzodiazepines?

Significant risks exist as a result of the benzodiazepine detox process. Luckily, the medically assisted detox process is available to provide relief or prevent the following situations and side effects:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Severe rebound anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Nausea
  • The potential for seizures
  • Inability to form complete thoughts
  • Confusion
  • Coma

The potential for these situations to arise highlights the importance of medical detox measures.

The Importance of Medical Detox Measures

Importance of Medical Detox

Physicians and other medical staff provide specific care and take measures to give additional comfort to clients during the detox process. What are some of the specific forms of treatment available during the process of medically assisted detox?


Certain medications are provided during the medical detox process to provide clients with additional levels of comfort and pain relief. Medications prescribed may include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Sleep aids
  • Medications to lower blood pressure
  • Anti-nausea medication


Nutritional measures are also taken during the detox process. Clients are provided with a custom nutritional plan to provide essential vitamins and minerals to maintain strength. In some facilities, specific food items are delivered that may promote direct relief from the side effects of detox and withdrawal.

IV fluids for hydration will also help clients avoid the dangers of dehydration. If a client is unable to keep food down, nourishment may also be provided intravenously.

Mental/Moral Support

There isn’t much in the way of counseling provided during detox because of the focus on the physical portion of the recovery. However, staff will still be available to offer moral support during the detox process.

This can be important for helping clients maintain higher morale and keeping a positive attitude. Some of the most detrimental side effects of detox are often mental. Having some form of positive influence is critical to avoiding depression and loneliness.

Medical detox measures give clients a much higher chance of completing the detox process than an at-home, cold turkey detox. The odds of relapse are much higher when clients choose the latter, not to mention the physical dangers that exist during withdrawal.

Sometimes outside elements provide the healing properties that generally aren’t considered during the recovery and detox process.

The Hawaiian Islands and Their Healing Powers

It’s not uncommon for people from all walks of life to venture to the Hawaiian Islands to experience the many healing properties of the area. The healing comes from the water, the earth, the people, and the surroundings of the entire geographic region.

The ocean situated off the Kona Coast circulates from international waters with minimal river run-off. Because of these properties, this part of the water offers pure saltwater for healing.

Pele, the Volcano Goddess, is considered a Goddess of New Earth and grants profound, spiritual healing experiences to all who pay homage and believe in the magic of Hawaii’s volcanoes, mountains, and lakes. Pele’s sister is Poli’ahu, the Goddess of Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain in the world from base to peak.

Additionally, there are many healing lakes in Hawaii, including one near the top of Mauna Kea that civilizations like the Maya, Inca, Hindu, and Aztecs consider as part of a vortex that has something to do with Lemuria, a Pacific continent that sank 13,000 years ago.

Regardless of what beliefs you gravitate toward, Hawaii provides a beautiful backdrop for recovery. Even if it’s as simple as the natural beauty that generates tranquility, peace, and a positive mindset – there couldn’t be a better setting to begin your sobriety than the Hawaiian Islands.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Long-Term Recovery from Benzodiazepines Is Possible

With the right treatment team by your side, combined with the right environment and personal level of willpower, long-term recovery from benzodiazepines is possible. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we specialize in helping clients with long-term recovery by taking a holistic approach to treatment.

We use a combination of the following treatment options to help our clients overcome their substance abuse challenges:

  • Trauma-informed therapy
  • Person-centered therapy
  • Life-contract
  • Mission-based therapy
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • Art therapy and journaling
  • Nature immersion
  • Ho-oponopono – This is a traditional Hawaiian custom designed to fix damaged relationships, help let go of negativity, and embrace new, positive change.

Each client also has a personal treatment team specializing in more traditional treatment forms such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dual-diagnosis. Group recovery meetings also give clients a chance to interact with peers.

This is all accomplished in a beautiful oceanside facility equipped with the finest amenities and welcoming, luxurious living quarters. And this is all with the backdrop of the beautiful Hawaiian mountains, surrounded by the healing waters of the Pacific Ocean.

If you are ready for a unique, holistic approach to recovery, contact one of our Intake specialists at Exclusive Hawaii Rehabs today!