Alcohol detox process involves the experience of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on how long you have been drinking. Mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that you are likely to experience are nausea, headaches, insomnia, and fatigue. Severe symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations, anxiety, and agitation may require your doctors to place you on benzodiazepine therapy.
Benzodiazepines act by depressing the central nervous system to treat conditions like insomnia, general anxiety disorders, and seizures. The use of benzodiazepine therapy in managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms outside South Florida rehab centers is generally safe, if used for a short period. Benzodiazepine therapy for alcohol detox can, however, increase your medical costs in the long term due to the risk of benzodiazepine dependence.
Long term benzodiazepine therapy is associated with both physical and psychological dependence on benzodiazepines. Most rehab centers in South Florida, however, provide programs for managing benzodiazepine dependence, in case you develop a dependence.
Rehab centers prescribe benzodiazepines with a long duration of action, commonly diazepam and chlordiazepoxide during alcohol detox . You can only use the drugs for three days to avoid the development of dependence.
Benzodiazepines are the safest medications for alcohol detox compared to other medications. Since alcohol is still in your system, other sedating drugs can interact with the alcohol to cause severe side effects or worsen the alcohol withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing. Diazepam, for example, is safe alongside alcohol overdose.
Short-acting benzodiazepines like lorazepam can also be used to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Their use is, however, not common since you will need to take frequent doses that can increase the risk of developing a dependence.
Statistics show that more than 40% of alcohol detox patients using benzodiazepines for over six months, experience benzodiazepine dependence. Dependence to benzodiazepines, therefore, usually occurs due to prolonged use of the drugs. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can also occur if you stop taking the drugs abruptly. Abrupt quitting of your benzodiazepine therapy also leads to a rebound of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
The severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms will also depend on factors such as dose and combination with sedative medications. The duration of action of the benzodiazepine you are prescribed will determine when you start to experience withdrawal symptoms. If you are on short-acting benzodiazepines, for example, you will notice withdrawal symptoms a few hours after your last dose because the levels of the drugs lower quickly in your system. If you use long-acting benzodiazepines, the symptoms manifest within 48 to 72 hours after your last dose.
Some symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are similar to those of alcohol withdrawal. Anxiety, irritability, headache, palpitations, and insomnia are some of the similar symptoms. The symptoms are usually severe and at times, fatal, especially if you experience hallucinations, seizures, and depression. To avoid dependence on benzodiazepines, most doctors will recommend tapering your dose gradually over a few days.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal treatment.
Once you develop a dependence on benzodiazepines, you will occasionally feel like your body cannot function without the drugs. As a result, your doctor will prescribe some medications to relieve the symptoms and discomfort. You can also identify some of the things that trigger your craving to the drugs and avoid them. Some of the common medications prescribed include:
- Antihypertensive drugs.
- Anticonvulsant drugs.
Low levels of benzodiazepines will cause misfiring of neurons causing cardiovascular symptoms such as palpitations, due to increased blood pressure. Antihypertensive drugs such as clonidine, aim at relieving symptoms associated with overactivity of the cardiovascular system. Benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system, and withdrawal will result in the overactivity of neurons. Most anticonvulsants drugs work by inhibiting neurotransmitter activity by binding to GABA receptors in your brain. Anticonvulsants are particularly essential to patients whose symptoms include seizures. If not treated, the seizures will progress and become difficult to manage.
A doctor will preferably prescribe you a sedating anticonvulsant such as trazodone, to help you deal with insomnia as well. Phenobarbital is also frequently used because it relieves anxiety. Antidepressants are also prescribed to patients that experience depression. Selective serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor class of antidepressants such as citalopram are commonly used. The use of benzodiazepines in alcohol detox is safe if used for a short period. In case you have used the drugs for an extended period and developed a dependence on them, we offer benzodiazepine withdrawal management programs within the eastern United States. You can contact us on 833-846-5669 for help.