As a patient who has been prescribed medication, it is sometimes hard to fully grasp the power of the drugs that we are taking. That to say, some people take the drugs even without prescription. The reasoning for taking the medication is not important. The important thing is how the drug is going to affect you now that you have taken it. While there are many different types of drugs that people take, benzodiazepines are a class of drug that is used to treat anxiety. Because so many people have anxiety or at least claim that they do, benzodiazepines like Xanax are very commonly prescribed. Before we get too much into the actual dangers of getting off of benzodiazepines on your own, we are going to talk a little bit more about the drug in general.
What are Benzodiazepines?
So, what does it mean when someone refers to a drug as a ‘benzo’? Well, to put in into a few words, benzodiazepines are a group of drugs which all work similarly in the brain. The drugs are effective for providing quick relief from anxiety. Within an hour or so, users should feel relief and results from the drug. While benzodiazepines work very well, they have a short half-life. What a short half-life means is that the drug does not stay in your system for very long. After you take a benzodiazepine, the drug will be completely out of your body within a few days. While this is positive in the eyes of recreational users for the reason that it won’t show up on a drug test, it is a very negative thing for many people. The shorter the half-life of a drug (along with a few other attributes), the more addictive that it is. As you can expect, Benzos are very addictive. Not only do they sedate users and create an enjoyable buzz, they also are physically addictive to the body. When any drug of any kind has a high risk of dependency in both physical and mental terms, you know that it is bad news.
Getting off of benzodiazepines
A simple search on the internet will reveal to you just how many people are struggling and wanting to get off of benzodiazepines. The thing is, it takes time and effort to do it. A lot of people go through agonizing pain and frustration in the process. For those who are unaware, benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium are very hard to get off of. Even if you make sure that you taper off of them (meaning that you lessen your dose over time), you can still experience horrible withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Blurred Vision
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
Many specialists note on the fact that they would rather help someone get off of heroin than they would help get someone off of benzodiazepines. That is simply because benzodiazepines are one of the hardest drugs to get off of. When it comes to getting off of them, keep in mind that you have to be very careful. The only two major drugs that have the ability to actually kill you if stopped cold turkey are alcohol and benzodiazepines. Yes, you read that right. If someone stopped taking their benzodiazepine pills suddenly without warning, their body could literally stop working and they could die from the withdrawal symptoms. Keeping that in mind, one can understand the importance of tapering off of the drug. Let’s talk a little bit more about how one should go about getting off of benzodiazepines.
Where do I start?
Most people are put off by the idea of withdrawal symptoms and decide to continue taking their medication. However, continued long-term use of benzodiazepines has been linked to serious health risks that will likely convince anyone that they need to get off of it. If you want to get off of them, you need to make a leap of faith and go for it. If you decide to do it, you need to never give up and stick it out the entire time. So, the first step that you will actually take to getting off of these addictive pills is talking to your doctor. Doctors are trained and have studied the effects of certain drugs and how they interact in our bodies. Basically, what is to be taken from that is the fact that your doctor knows more about your body that you do. Even if you think you know how to get off of the pills, you still need to talk to your doctor. From here, your doctor will likely advise you about how you should go about tapering the dose down. You will be given some kind of instruction as to how much of the dose you will cut out each night. Depending on the dose that you are on, you may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year to fully get off of your benzodiazepines. Either way, you will be off of them quicker than you ever would if you do not start the tapering process. While you are speaking with your doctor, be sure to discuss possible side effects and how you should go about relieving them.
It will be a journey
In an ideal world, there would be no such thing as addiction and we would never have to deal with things like this. While that is true, it is simply not the way that things are. The sad part about the thousands of people who are addicted to benzodiazepines is that most of them were given the medication by a doctor. While it seems as if no doctor should hand out a drug so powerful and destructive, other people see it differently. Benzodiazepines have helped many people to overcome bouts of anxiety or depression. They have the ability to save someone’s life, but as do most good things, it comes with a catch. Eventually, you will have to get off of the drug for the simple fact that it destroys your body over time. While you are tapering off of the drug, be sure to embrace the journey. Challenge yourself to not relapse or take a higher dose ever again. See it as a personal challenge that once you overcome, will open you to a new life. All in all, be sure to be careful. Like we said before, these drugs can literally kill you if you are not careful. Always use expert advice and seek help whenever you need it. To start seeking counselor help today, call 866-802-6848 where you can get 24/7 assistance.