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Deadly Twins; Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

Alcohol and benzodiazepines are two substances that are commonly used for their sedative effects. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. They work by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows down the activity of the brain and nervous system. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant that also slows down the activity of the brain and nervous system. When these two substances are combined, the effects can be dangerous and even deadly.

One of the main reasons why it is so dangerous to mix alcohol and benzodiazepines is because they both have a sedative effect on the body. When taken separately, they can cause drowsiness, impaired coordination, and slowed breathing. However, when taken together, the effects are amplified, which can lead to extreme drowsiness, confusion, and even coma. In some cases, the combination of alcohol and benzodiazepines can cause respiratory depression, which can be fatal.

Another reason why it is dangerous to mix alcohol and benzodiazepines is because they both have a negative impact on the liver. Benzodiazepines are metabolized in the liver, and alcohol is also processed by the liver. When taken together, they can put a significant strain on the liver, which can lead to liver damage or failure. This can be especially dangerous for individuals who already have liver problems or who are taking other medications that are processed by the liver.

Finally, mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines can also increase the risk of addiction and dependence. Both substances are highly addictive, and when taken together, they can create a powerful and dangerous addiction. This can lead to a range of negative consequences, including financial problems, relationship issues, and even legal problems.

In conclusion, mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines is a dangerous and potentially deadly combination. The sedative effects of both substances can lead to extreme drowsiness, confusion, and respiratory depression. Additionally, the combination can put a significant strain on the liver and increase the risk of addiction and dependence. It is important for individuals who are taking benzodiazepines to avoid alcohol and to talk to their healthcare provider about any concerns or questions they may have. For those struggling with addiction, the risks are very high and working with a treatment center, addiction boarded physician and a seasoned addiction counselor is typically recommended.


How to Understand Why Benzodiazepine Detox Is So Hard

For a person struggling with addiction, detoxing from any drug or substance can feel nearly impossible. But, a benzodiazepine detox can feel both hopeless and terrifying, all at once.

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are powerful drugs designed to work with the nervous system. They’re typically given to people who suffer from anxiety, panic disorders, tremors, and insomnia.

Because they are such powerful substances, abusing them can lead to severely dangerous symptoms.

With that in mind, there’s no wonder as to why someone who is misusing or abusing benzos should seek treatment immediately to fight back against the addiction. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Withdrawal Takes Longer

While some drugs come with intense withdrawal symptoms, most of them only last a matter of days. That isn’t the case with benzos. Depending on the benzodiazepines that were taken and how they were abused it can take weeks, months, or even years to completely get rid of withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately, those symptoms can be extremely intense and hard to deal with on your own. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with benzodiazepines include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dysphoria
  • Tremors
  • Muscle tension
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

While these symptoms can weaken over time, other side effects of withdrawal, including a decreased sex drive, depression, and poor concentration, can linger on for months. Some can even impact people for years.

What to Expect From a Benzo Detox

The most crucial thing for a benzodiazepine detox is to get the drug removed from someone’s system entirely. Within the first 6-8 hours of withdrawal, an addict can experience intense bouts of anxiety and insomnia, and those will peak throughout the next few days.

With that extreme anxiety often comes symptoms like sweating, a racing heart, and nausea.

The first few weeks are often the toughest. As mentioned, some symptoms do last and can even seem to come up randomly, months after quitting.

What’s the Best Treatment for a Benzo Addiction?

A benzodiazepine detox is often the best way to kickstart a treatment program, as it usually is with any synthetic or designer drugs. While certain prescription drugs can help with benzodiazepine addiction, the best route is often a rehab program combined with some addiction therapy.

Choosing the best kind of treatment often depends on the addiction itself. What’s more; is that it’s often hard for an addict to admit that they need help in the first place. This mindset is another reason detox is so hard.

In many cases, an inpatient rehab center (at a Medical Detox level of care)is the best solution. Inpatient programs typically monitor addicts as they go through withdrawals, making sure they are safe and as comfortable as possible. It allows them to be in a temptation-free environment, and can even provide medical care if needed.

Outpatient programs are less invasive as they allow you to come and go. But, for those who are dependent on benzos, that can be too tempting, especially as you start to experience withdrawal symptoms and revert to using. And more importantly, speak to an addiction-savvy doctor first. Your physical safety through detox should be the primary focus at the beginning.


Finding Support During Detox

During a benzodiazepine detox, the focus should be getting the drugs out of your system. Long-term, however, addicts frequently need more support to keep the drugs out. Because withdrawal symptoms last so long and can feel so powerful, as stated above, it’s not uncommon for people to relapse.

So, in addition to rehab centers, a reliable support system is necessary to stay clean and sober. Because benzos are so problematic, attending support groups and going to therapy on a long-term basis can help you to manage your former addiction and even get to the root of what initially caused it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, it’s never too late to get help. A benzodiazepine detox is hard, but it’s doable with the right resources, support, and time.

Feel free to contact me for more information or visit my page on counseling on synthetic and designer drugs to learn more about how I can help.