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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, Side Effects, Tapering and Alternatives

Medically Reviewed Fact Checked
Benzodiazepine withdrawal requires special expertise to avoid the pitfalls that too many have fallen into in their quest to get off these powerful drugs … not just a “drug rehab.”

You probably know that just coming off your benzos is not going to be enough … because without them you feel like life is unbearable. Specializing in this exact population for 17+ years has given us a huge volume of information and a long track record of success.

We Truly Are Benzo Experts …

Alternative to Meds has published evidence on our clients’ successes as a result of properly done benzodiazepine withdrawal. Client follow-ups for up to four years prompted us to publish the success of over 100 formerly medicated participants. We found that not only did this overwhelming majority stay medication-free, but felt symptomatically better since getting off the benzos. Our program has helped thousands to regain command over their lives and we are confident that we can help you as well.
15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Up to 87 ½% Long-Term Success Rate.
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benzodiazepine withdrawal results
We do not approach medication and benzodiazepine withdrawal merely as a drug rehab. The appropriate level of care is much more medically based. We clean up the underlying neurophysiology using environmental medicine (holistic detoxification methods based upon genetic variations).

Drug rehabs send us the throwaways they can’t treat … the worst benzo cases … and we get an 87.5% long-term success rate with them as documented by Dr. Michael Corrigan, a third-party researcher that teaches medical statistics at Marshall University.

What Types of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Do We Treat?

At Alternative to Meds Center, we treat all drugs in the benzodiazepine class. To learn more about each different type of benzodiazepine, click on the benzodiazepine drug type. We provide information, resources, facts, and FAQs on the most widely prescribed benzodiazepines, as well as information on safely quitting benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepine class drugs can cause extremely severe withdrawals; so it is important to know how to taper and quit benzodiazepines safely and as comfortably as possible.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Tapering and Alternatives Book

ATMC Benzodiazepine withdrawal info

This book is a brief overview of 17+ years worth of experience accumulated from cases we helped at the Alternative to Meds Center. It is based upon residential observation (which is far more informative than outpatient care). Every case is different, so while this is not a “how-to” or rule book, this information can give you a tour of various methods and methodologies we have used with confidence, and that contributed to our 87.5% documented success rate. Topics covered include various tapering and cross-over techniques, as well as the role of excitotoxic poisoning in protracted withdrawal. Protracted withdrawal is unnecessary but is more common than it needs to be, simply due to the lack of guidance and preparation given to physicians while in med school.

Traditional medical practice has found some success in using medications, primarily, for patients who suffer from stress-related mental health conditions. But the improvements that patients experience may be temporary due to tolerance, and at times accompanied by intolerable drug side effects.

Alternative to Meds Center knows there is a healthier way to treat people. Prescription medications may help alleviate certain symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and other disorders but their effectiveness requires a gradual increase in dosage and frequency of use over time. This can be the double-edged sword of habitual medication use. In this mainstream method of treatment, it is highly likely that drug dependency arises. There are also harmful side effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal that present between doses, or when attempting to titrate or eliminate use. Through more than a decade and a half of internal research and case studies, we have found more effective and less invasive ways to remove benzodiazepine dependency in our patients and achieve resolution of their original symptoms.

Serious Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

While some persons can discontinue benzodiazepines fairly easily, others experience some harsh and difficult reactions.

Serious benzodiazepine withdrawals can include:
  • Akathisia*
  • Suicidality
  • Delirium, psychosis
  • Rebound anxiety (can be severe)
  • Seizures

*The Akathisia Alliance states that Akathisia is a very common symptom of benzodiazepine withdrawal, yet many clinicians are unaware of the phenomenon.

Common Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

The below list is not a complete list, but these have been reported with significant frequency in the medical literature. 

Common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can include:
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased tension
  • Hand tremors
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea, dry-retching
  • Irritability
  • Muscular pain and stiffness
  • Perceptual changes
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight loss
  • Headache

Learn what we’ve discovered and how you can put benzo use behind you.

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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Information

Each benzodiazepine drug type has its own unique chemical structure, side effects, and symptoms of withdrawal. However, there are many common questions about the benzodiazepine class of drugs in general. Below is a collection of some information that we get asked about most often about benzodiazepines and benzo withdrawal.

Are Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms Permanent?

Coming off benzodiazepines too quickly can lead to protracted withdrawals that can last for years if improperly treated. Don’t lose hope. There are many methods to ease and soften the process that we use at Alternative to Meds Center, aimed toward recovery of health. An education component is given, teaching clients how to sustain their newly recovered health after leaving the program.

How Long Does Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Fatigue Last?

While improper benzodiazepine withdrawal can seem like a never-ending hell, true relief from benzo withdrawal symptoms can be achieved for most of our clients within an 8-week time frame. Some clients may opt for a longer stay if desired. Clients are given follow-up and guidelines to follow for when they return home and can continue their taper under their doctor’s supervision.

What are Benzodiazepines Used for?

Benzodiazepines have several labeled and off label uses. Primarily, benzodiazepines are used for their effect on the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor. By enhancing the effect of the GABA receptor in the brain, benzodiazepines produce hypnotic, sedative, anxiolytic, and muscle relaxant effects. These effects can be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, seizures, and panic attacks, and can be life-saving in certain drug and alcohol withdrawal scenarios. However, there may be benefits that can be procured using alternatives to medication, once safe benzodiazepine withdrawal has been accomplished.

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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