Benzo Flu: A Guide to Benzodiazepine Addiction, Withdrawal and Treatments

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Benzodiazepines are highly regulated prescription drugs that function as depressants in the central nervous system. They were discovered in 1954 by an Austrian researcher called Leo Sternbach, and doctors have been utilizing them since the 1960s to treat a range of diseases. Interestingly, over fifty distinct benzos are currently available worldwide.

Because they reduce nervous system activity and responsiveness, benzodiazepines are useful for treating various symptoms and illnesses. The effects can also be pleasurable for many patients, causing ‘highs’ or long, uninterrupted sleep. And this is often one of the common reasons many people abuse and get addicted to the drug.

How do Benzodiazepines work?

The activity of Benzodiazepines can be better described as a catalyst. It simply triggers the production of GABA in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter, and neurotransmitters are chemical signals that may attach to particular receptors on cells. Neurotransmitters, like car keys, only function when put into their appropriate receptors. When the conditions are right, a neurotransmitter may start a cellular process.

So following the release of GABA in the brain, the activities of the nervous system will be greatly reduced, thanks to the numbing effects of the neurotransmitter. This nervous system sedation has several effects, including sleep inducement, forgetfulness, zero anxiety, calmness, and more.

Risks of Benzodiazepine Use

Benzodiazepines operate by enhancing GABA binding to central nervous system receptors. Consequently, the user’s overstimulated central nervous system calms down, and they feel more at peace. This neuroadaptive mechanism may become tolerant with repeated use, which can take two forms: either a larger dosage of benzodiazepines is necessary to produce the same effect or the impact is dramatically diminished even if the same quantity of benzos is taken.

Tolerance to the medication is one cause that may develop into physiological dependency or addiction to benzodiazepines. Such dependence or addiction occurs when a person’s body reacts to a substance to the point where the drug is necessary for proper functioning.

In addition to the risk of addiction, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms arise when a person abruptly quits taking the drug. Delirium, hallucinations, and psychosis are also possible adverse effects of the drug.

Benzodiazepines withdrawal syndrome

If your body is chemically dependent, it will not operate correctly until that substance is introduced. Similarly, if you suddenly stop taking benzodiazepines or dramatically reduce your dose, you may develop a series of symptoms and signs known as the benzo withdrawal syndrome. This refers to symptoms and signs following the sudden cessation of benzodiazepine use. This happens after drug dependency has developed. Depending on how long you have used the drug, this problem may occur in different stages. The early, acute, and prolonged stages of benzodiazepine withdrawal all have different symptoms.

Weaning off benzos or taking other medications as prescribed may alleviate benzo withdrawal symptoms in the early stages. This can lessen the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms and become easier to manage. The second stage of benzo withdrawal is known as the “acute stage,” It may last anywhere from five days to two weeks. Most individuals suffer withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, insomnia, anxiety, and sweating during this time.

And lastly, the protracted withdrawal stage might result in depression, cravings, and mental fogginess. Withdrawal symptoms might last weeks or months. It may take longer for people who have been using Benzo for a prolonged period to get over the withdrawal symptoms since their bodies will most likely require more time to get used to functioning without the drug.

What is Benzo Flu?

Benzo refers to the flu-like symptoms that occur during Benzo withdrawal. These signs and symptoms are the brain’s response to the withdrawal of the drug’s influence.

Each person will have unique benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. Several variables, including the average Benzo dose consumption and the duration of Benzo use, may influence the severity and length of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of benzo flu include the following:

  •   Body aches
  •   Headaches
  •   Increased blood pressure
  •   High heart rate
  •   Nausea and vomiting
  •   Digestive problems
  •   Diarrhea and constipation
  •   Abdominal pain
  •   Weakness and fatigue
  •   Sweating and chills
  •   Insomnia
  •   Muscle spasms and pain
  •   Dizziness
  •   Blurred vision
  •   General malaise

Preventing the Benzo Flu

There is no way to determine whether or not Benzo flu will occur after you stop taking Benzos abruptly. However, taking proactive actions to prevent the unpleasant consequences of withdrawal might reduce the length and severity of benzo withdrawal symptoms.

There are various ways to ease the symptoms of Benzo flu, just as there are for other varieties of flu. Take your flu medications, drink lots of water, stay away from coffee, ensure you sleep for at least eight hours at night, eat only meals rich in essential nutrients, and avoid alcohol consumption. Doing so will help you recover faster from the flu. You should also adhere to the drug prescriptions of your medical practitioner, as these drugs would help you heal faster. Even if the medicines cannot stop the Benzo flu, they may be able to mitigate its effects.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Benzo Flu

Based on these symptoms and the patient’s previous usage of benzodiazepines to treat other medical illnesses, a medical specialist may diagnose Benzo Flu in a patient. After the diagnosis is carried out, the patient can choose from two treatment options: pharmaceutical and nonpharmacological.

Medication is used in pharmacological therapies to decrease withdrawal symptoms and help in benzodiazepine tapering. Treatment methods that do not rely on medications include:

Medical detox

This is a method of safely withdrawing from benzodiazepines while under medical supervision. It involves gradually reducing the medication dosage to minimize the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Behavioral therapies

These can also be effective in treating Benzo Flu. These therapies help individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors contributing to their addiction. This therapy can also teach coping skills to manage stress and prevent relapse.

Well-defined treatment plan

This is essential in treating Benzo Flu. This plan should include ongoing medical care, therapy, and support groups. Addicts and those in withdrawal may benefit from visiting a support group due to the emotional and customized help they provide.

The Way Forward

While it may not be easy to quit addiction and go through the drug withdrawal stages, you can be provided with the right support to make the process easier. 

We understand the hazards and difficulties of benzo withdrawal and are here to help you get through it. Our primary objective is to provide you with compassionate, tailored treatment from our team of highly qualified medical specialists and ensure your physical and emotional wellness during and after withdrawal.

Contact us today to get further details on how you can start your treatment and rehabilitation process. Call us at  865-800-0947

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