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Benzo Detox: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

woman looks away representing addiction and genetic predisposition

Benzos (benzodiazepines) are not typically prescribed for long-term use due to the risk of developing physical and psychological dependence.

When someone discontinues benzodiazepine use, withdrawal symptoms manifest during benzo detox. Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines can include a resurgence of uncomfortable psychological issues as well as physical manifestations like nausea and diarrhea as the drug is eliminated from the body.

While withdrawal side effects can be distressing, benzodiazepine detox is not usually life-threatening. That said, the optimum approach to detoxing from benzos is under the guidance of medical professionals who can provide appropriate supervision and care. Read on to discover how to get off benzos with as little discomfort as possible.

woman holding legs representing detoxing from benzos

Benzo Detox Symptoms

Benzo detoxification can be challenging, as it often involves a range of distressing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can vary in presentation and duration, depending on factors like the specific benzo used, the duration of use, and the person’s unique physiology. Here are some common benzo detox symptoms:

  • Anxiety: Many individuals experience heightened anxiety during benzo withdrawal. This rebound anxiety can manifest as generalized anxiety, panic attacks, or a sense of restlessness.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty sleeping is one of the most common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia during detox can trigger further psychological discomfort.
  • Tremors: Shaking or tremors, particularly in the hands, is a physical symptom associated with benzo withdrawal.
  • Muscle pain: Some individuals may experience muscle pain or tension.
  • Headaches: Headaches can be a persistent symptom during the detox process.
  • Sweating: Excessive sweating, especially during the night, is a common symptom of benzodiazepine withdrawal.
  • Heart palpitations: Detox can lead to irregular heartbeats or a racing pulse.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Benzo withdrawal symptoms may include gastrointestinal complications like nausea and vomiting.
  • Seizures: In severe cases, benzo withdrawal can lead to seizures, especially in the event of abrupt discontinuation.
  • Hypersensitivity: Increased sensitivity to stimuli like light, touch, or sound can be aggravating.
  • Aches and pains: Generalized bodily discomfort, including aches and pains, is common.
  • Abnormal sensations: Some people detoxing from benzos report unusual sensations like skin-crawling or goosebumps.

Benzo detox should be conducted under medical supervision, especially for anyone with a history of heavy and prolonged benzo use. Professional guidance can help manage these symptoms safely and provide appropriate care during the withdrawal process.

Benzo Withdrawal Timeline

Benzo withdrawal can vary in duration and intensity depending on various factors, including the specific benzo used, the duration of use, and individual differences. Here’s a general timeline of benzo withdrawal:

Early symptoms (within 24 hours)

Withdrawal symptoms often begin within the first 24 hours after discontinuing benzo use. Early symptoms may include anxiety, restlessness, tremors, and increased heart rate.

First few days

During the initial days of withdrawal, symptoms usually intensify. Anxiety can become more pronounced, and physical symptoms like sweating, nausea, and muscle pain may develop. Insomnia and sleep disturbances are common during this phase.

First week

The first week of withdrawal is normally marked by ongoing symptoms. Anxiety and restlessness may continue, along with mood swings and cognitive issues like confusion. Seizures can occur in severe cases.

Two to four weeks

Following the initial acute phase, withdrawal symptoms may gradually improve over the course of two to four weeks. However, psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and cravings can persist.


In some cases, benzo withdrawal can extend for several months. This is more likely in individuals who have used benzos for an extended period or at high doses. Prolonged withdrawal can involve lingering symptoms, particularly psychological ones.

PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome)

For some individuals, a condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (commonly abbreviated to PAWS) can occur. PAWS can involve intermittent or persistent symptoms like anxiety, depression, and cognitive difficulties that can last for months to years after discontinuing benzo use.

How to treat benzo withdrawal, then? 

Benzo Withdrawal Treatment

Benzo withdrawal treatment involves a multi-faceted approach aimed at managing symptoms, ensuring safety, and supporting individuals in their recovery journey. 

  • Medical supervision: Benzo withdrawal can be challenging, and in some cases, life-threatening due to the risk of seizures. Medical supervision is essential, especially during the acute phase of withdrawal. Healthcare professionals can monitor vital signs and provide necessary interventions.
  • Tapering: In many cases, a controlled and gradual tapering of the benzo dose is recommended instead of abrupt cessation. This tapering process can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and make the process more manageable.
  • Medications: Certain medications may be prescribed to alleviate specific withdrawal symptoms. For example, medications like diazepam (Valium) may be used during the tapering process due to its longer half-life, making it easier to taper off.
  • Psychological support: Benzo withdrawal can lead to psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Therapy, including CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and counseling, can be instrumental in addressing these issues.
  • Supportive care: Adequate sleep, nutrition, and hydration are key during benzo detox. Healthcare providers may offer guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this period.
  • Support groups: Group therapy or support groups can provide a sense of community and understanding for those going through benzo withdrawal. Sharing experiences with others can be reassuring and encouraging.
  • Post-withdrawal care: After successfully managing withdrawal, individuals may continue with ongoing therapy and support to prevent relapse and address any underlying issues contributing to benzo use.

If you need to withdraw from benzos, seek professional help. Attempting withdrawal without medical guidance can be risky. Always consult with a healthcare provider to create a personalized withdrawal plan tailored to your specific needs.

man looking out at landscape to represent benzo withdrawal treatment.

Get a Safe & Effective Benzo Detox at Drug Rehab Centers

If you or someone that you care about is addicted to benzos, we can help you initiate a full recovery at Drug Rehab Centers. We will connect with a range of suitable benzo addiction rehabs in California.

Call today to learn more about supervised detox programs that provide the safest and smoothest pathway to benzo withdrawal. We can also put you in touch with rehab centers that offer a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and virtual treatment options.

Call our friendly team today at 844-739-2005 and start your recovery from benzo addiction tomorrow.

Joe Gilmore
Author: Joe Gilmore


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