Benzodiazepines and Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal is not-easy.
It is important to get through detox.
Benzodiazepines can help..
Withdrawal is one of the obstacles that keep people from getting sober. In fact, when it comes to recovery, dealing with the withdrawal stage is one of the hardest challenges for addicted individuals. This is because withdrawal can be incredibly painful and even fatal, in some cases.
To help patients get through initial detox, medications are oftentimes used. Benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed medications for alcohol withdrawal.
Benzodiazepines for Alcohol Withdrawal
Benzodiazepines or ‘benzos’ are a large group of medications that depress the central nervous system. Generally speaking, these drugs can cause drowsiness or sleepiness because they slow down brain activity.
These medications can slow down nerve impulses throughout the entire body by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. The exact mechanism by which each benzodiazepine works is not yet fully understood. However, it is known that benzodiazepines can drastically reduce the brain’s output of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and dopamine.
These neurotransmitters are necessary for coordination, alertness, memory, muscle tone, heart rate, blood pressure, and emotional responses. The use of benzos can put a person in a relaxed state by impairing all of the neurotransmitters.
Benzodiazepines can help reduce the impact of alcohol withdrawal in a number of ways. This is because alcohol use impacts the way the brain functions, causing drastic changes all over the nervous system, and throughout the body. This rewiring becomes more severe the longer alcohol abuse continues.
Eventually, the brain becomes dependent on alcohol to function properly, which is why people experience withdrawal when they quit alcohol all of a sudden. With the sudden cessation of alcohol intake, the brain is thrown into disarray. This causes withdrawal symptoms that range from moderate to life-threatening.
Withdrawal can be extremely painful. It can cause seizures, hallucinations, nightmares, heart palpitations, and vomiting, among other unpleasant effects.
Benzodiazepines can treat symptoms including seizures, nausea, vomiting, irritability, chills, headaches, insomnia, pain, anxiety, and panic. The following benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat alcohol withdrawal: Diazepam (also known as Valium), Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), Oxazepam (Serax), and Lorazepam (Ativan).
Benzodiazepines should only be taken under the supervision and prescription of a licensed medical professional, preferably within a rehab setting. This is due to the fact that benzodiazepines themselves are addictive. They carry a number of side effects that can harm a person if the drugs are misused.
Despite this risk, they are frequently prescribed in outpatient settings as well. The type of Benzodiazepine prescribed and the manner in which it is used will vary depending on a number of factors.
Side Effects of Benzodiazepines
Different benzodiazepines have different side effects. The problem is that many of these side effects mirror the symptoms of withdrawal, so it can be tricky to determine if the medication is causing more problems. This is why proper medical assistance is important.
Common side effects of benzodiazepines include: drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lightheadedness, constipation, weight gain, constipation, change in appetite sedation, memory loss, tiredness, and sexual dysfunction.
Some of the side effects are more severe, but less common: addiction, jaundice, seizures, fainting, movement disorders, respiratory issues, and reactions with other medications. If a person is taking other medications, they need to inform their physician before taking benzodiazepines.
Benefits of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines have their own set of risks, which is why inpatient treatment is very helpful for those who are struggling with alcohol addiction. But these medications offer a wide variety of options and benefits so that each individual case can be treated in an appropriate manner. Used properly, benzodiazepines can eliminate the most challenging obstacle towards sobriety: withdrawal.
These medications make it possible for alcoholics to overcome the worst symptoms of withdrawal successfully so that they can start on longer-term recovery.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.