Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Timeline: What to Expect When Quitting Benzos

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a psychoactive drug class that provide a sedative effect, calm anxiety, decrease seizures, and muscle spasms.  They work by slowing the Central Nervous System to produce a relaxed state.   “Benzos,” as they are sometimes referred to, are prescribed by a physician and are a Schedule IV controlled substance due to their highly addictive nature.  Examples of Benzodiazepines include:

Short-Acting Benzodiazepines:

    • ProSom
    • Dalmane
    • Restoril
    • Halicon
    • Versed

Long-Acting Benzodiazepines:

    • Xanax
    • Valium
    • Librium
    • Tranxene
    • Ativan
    • Klonopin

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, reach out for help today! Call to speak to our compassionate staff confidentially at 800-204-0418 now.

What is Benzodiazepine Withdrawal?

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can occur when tolerance to the drug develops and then it is abruptly discontinued. Withdrawal symptoms will vary for each person and may depend on the duration of consumption of the medication.  Benzodiazepines should never be discontinued abruptly and you should speak to your doctor so they can develop a plan for stopping.   Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Tremors in the hands
  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Changes in perception
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Disrupted sleep

Timeline for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

While the timeline for benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are not set in stone, addiction specialists have found that some symptoms appear sooner than others.  “Rebound” withdrawal symptoms, as they have come to be known, usually occur within days of the last dose and typically subside within ten days.  An estimated timeline for withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Within 6-8 hours of the last dose–You may experience anxiety or insomnia as your first symptoms.  Short-acting benzodiazepines will leave your system sooner, so you may experience withdrawal symptoms sooner than if you took long-acting ones. 
  • Within 1-4 days–This time period is considered to be “rebound” symptoms.  This is when anxiety and insomnia will be more pronounced and other symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, and nausea will occur.
  • Within 10-14 days–For short-acting benzodiazepines, this is when symptoms will begin to subside.  Long-acting benzos will typically be at their worst during this time and will begin to fade after 3-4 weeks.  
  • 15 days and on–During this time, those who have a high tolerance or dependence to the drug are at risk of Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS).  Symptoms of this include:
    • Depression
    • Low sex drive
    • Difficulty concentrating or performing tasks
    • Chronic anxiety and insomnia

The Source Addiction Treatment Center - Fort Lauderdale -Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Timeline What to Expect When Quitting Benzos

Why Go to a Medical Detox for Benzodiazepine Addiction

Discontinuing benzodiazepines in a medical detox facility is the best way to ensure success in your recovery.  You will be monitored by doctors and nurses who will monitor your vitals and can intervene if necessary.  To make the experience more comfortable they may administer medications or fluids.  Medically monitored detox will include:

  • Monitoring vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature as those can indicate if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
  • Collection of blood or urine samples to monitor the benzodiazepine levels in your system.
  • Collaboration with your other medical providers to ensure continuity of care.  They may inquire about medication or medical history so they have a holistic view of your care.
  • Manage pain with medications.

What Happens After Benzodiazepine Detox?

After completion of benzodiazepine detox you may want additional support and the best way to do that is to attend addiction treatment.  The Source Treatment Center strives to provide unparalleled addiction treatment and support to their clients.  They work with a network of detox facilities that meet their high standards and will coordinate everything to make the transition from detox to their facility smooth and effortless.  They understand how intimidating and isolating the thought of addiction treatment can be and will work tirelessly to provide you with the support and compassion you deserve.  If you are ready to experience the freedom of recovery and the warmth of being surrounded by those with your best interests at heart, call The Source at (800)204-0418 or online at  The Source takes great pride in providing an inviting, compassionate environment for their clients and will help you reach your true potential!