Benzo Withdrawal Timeline

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Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Benzos (benzodiazepines) should be tapered off slowly under the supervision of a medical professional to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. Although the Benzo withdrawal timeline can take some time, stopping Benzo use abruptly can be dangerous and lead to intense withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and other issues.

How To Ease Benzo Withdrawal

Here are some general guidelines for easing Benzo withdrawal:

  • Seek Medical Supervision: Consult a healthcare provider who can guide you through the withdrawal process. Your healthcare provider can create a personalized withdrawal schedule based on your specific situation and history of Benzo use.

  • Gradual Tapering: Tapering involves gradually reducing the Benzo dosage over time. This method allows your body to adjust more smoothly and minimizes withdrawal symptoms. Your healthcare provider may decrease the dose by a small percentage every week or two, depending on your needs.

  • Medication Adjustments: In some cases, your doctor may prescribe other medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms, such as antidepressants or anticonvulsants. These should be used under medical supervision.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can support your body during withdrawal. Focus on exercise, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

  • Support Network: Inform your close friends and family about your withdrawal process. Having a support network can provide emotional support and encouragement during the withdrawal process.

  • Avoid Other Substances: Steer clear of alcohol, illicit drugs, and other sedative medications during withdrawal, as they can exacerbate symptoms and interfere with the recovery process.

  • CBT (Cognitive-behavioral Therapy): CBT or other therapeutic approaches can be helpful in addressing the psychological aspects of withdrawal, including anxiety and stress.

  • Attend support groups: Consider joining support groups or counseling sessions specifically tailored for people experiencing Benzo withdrawal. Connecting with others going through similar experiences can be reassuring and informative.

If you or a loved one suffer from a Benzo addiction, reach out to us at Avenues Recovery so we can guide you on your path to sobriety.

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What is a Benzo Withdrawal Seizure?


A benzos withdrawal seizure refers to a type of seizure that can occur when a person abruptly stops or significantly reduces their use of Benzo medications. Withdrawal seizures typically occur in individuals who took high dosages of benzos for a long period of time. Seizures have also occurred when patients used benzos for less than 15 days even when taken as prescribed by a doctor. There have been reports of Benzo withdrawal seizures ranging from single-episode seizures to multiple seizures, coma and death. The quickest withdrawal from benzos should be in a hospital setting for high-dose abusers, but must be done slower in an outpatient facility for those who took benzos for medical reasons.

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What is Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Treatment?


  • Benzodiazepine Detox: The first step to withdrawal from benzos is detox, which means getting the drug out of the addict’s system. If detox is done without medical supervision, the results can be deadly.

  • Medically assisted Detox: Although most people detox from benzos by slowly tapering off the amount, with medical supervision, there are two drugs one can take that minimize the withdrawal symptoms. 

The two drugs that help with Benzo detox are:

  • Buspirone - this drug is often prescribed to those dealing with anxiety disorders. It has also proved helpful to be taken by those tapering off of Benzos. The only downside is that they take two to three weeks to start working.

  • Flumazenil - this drug is usually given as an antidote [1] for someone experiencing a benzos overdose. It has also been proven beneficial to decrease withdrawal symptoms for someone tapering off of benzos. It can also be used for a quick detox from benzos, but it should be done with caution as rapid detox can make withdrawal worse.


When Do Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms Start?


Most benzos symptoms begin within 24 hours of withdrawal and can last up to a year. A small percentage of patients (10%) will still have withdrawal symptoms a year after use. These are generally patients who were highly dependent on benzos and who did not taper off from benzos with the help of a medical professional. 

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How Long Do Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms Last?


Those who took short-acting benzos will have withdrawal symptoms sooner than those who took long-acting benzos. Some short-acting benzos are more potent than the long-acting benzos so the withdrawal in those cases will be even stronger. If you or a loved one suffer from a Benzo addiction, reach out to us at Avenues Recovery so we can guide you on your path to sobriety.

What Are Some Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms?


Benzos withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased sweating
  • Strong heartbeats (palpitations)
  • Headaches
  • Stiff muscles

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What is a Typical Benzo Withdrawal Timeline? 


The benzo withdrawal timeline begins several hours after one stops taking the drug and can last for as long as six months: 

First 6 - 8 Hours: The first signs of withdrawal are usually insomnia and anxiety which may occur several hours after stopping benzos use. For those taking short-acting benzos it can be as soon as six to eight hours.

Days 1 - 4: Returning anxiety and insomnia can peak after a couple of days. Other symptoms which may peak at this time are nausea, increased heart, breathing and sweat rates. People who used long-acting benzos will start to feel the first withdrawal symptoms now.

Days 10 - 14: The symptoms of withdrawal may continue 10 - 14 days after quitting benzos. Those withdrawing from long-acting benzos will have symptoms that peak at this time, fading within 3 - 4 weeks from the quit date. 

Days 15 + - People heavily dependent on benzos may experience symptoms for as much as six months after withdrawal. These symptoms are called PAWS - post-acute withdrawal symptoms. These long-term symptoms can be avoided if one uses medical intervention for benzos withdrawal.

Start your Benzo Withdrawal

Fighting Benzos addiction on your own is extremely tough! Reach out to us today at Avenues Recovery so that our experienced addiction counselors can ease you through your withdrawal period and help you reach sobriety in a supportive and confidential environment. 



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