IN THIS ARTICLE:
Benzodiazepines (benzos) are a common class of anti-anxiety medication that includes Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. These medications can be extremely addictive when used in supra-therapeutic doses and can be extremely difficult to quit using. It is often necessary to enter a detox center when attempting to quit, as untreated withdrawal can be dangerous, and sometimes even fatal. After detox, it is highly recommended for someone to continue treatment as this class of drugs can cause long-lasting, post-acute withdrawal symptoms that can benefit from continued care, support, medication, and therapy.
How We Treat Benzodiazepine Addiction
At The Summit Wellness Group, we utilize an integrated approach to treatment that includes medications, medical monitoring, behavioral therapy, psychiatric care, and holistic treatment techniques that aim to provide the most comprehensive level of care possible. Our goal is to provide a diverse array of tools and techniques for recovery. We know that the more tools someone has to aid in their recovery, the better chances they have to achieve healthy, long-term sobriety.
Our integrated approach to treatment is based on our experience that while these techniques may be effective on their own, they are more powerful when used in combination. Just treating the mind or body on its own is ineffective and often results in relapse. We provide the highest level of care possible by using complementary therapies that can benefit each other, thereby increasing someone’s chances of recovery.
Customized Treatment Plans
Everyone has lived a unique experience and, subsequently, will have different needs, concerns, and goals when they enter treatment. Our treatment plans are highly customizable and take into account the varying needs of each client. We work with our clients to determine their specific desires and limitations and can tailor a treatment plan to uniquely fit their particular circumstances. Cost is also a large component as well, so our customized treatment plans aim to provide the best and highest level of care while also being economical for our clients.
Some of the factors that we consider when creating a tailored treatment plan include:
- The specific benzo that someone used
- The amount of benzos someone regularly used
- The duration of benzo use
- Possible co-occurring drug use
- A clients commitment to their recovery
- Pre-existing mental or physical health conditions
- Someone’s current living situation
- Insurance coverage, if any
Our Georgia Benzodiazepine Detox Program
The Summit Wellness Group does not have an on-site detox program, however, we do have partnerships and connections to a variety of detox centers in the Atlanta area. Suddenly ceasing benzo use can produce psychological and physical symptoms, and if left untreated, it can be an extremely unpleasant experience in the best of cases. Withdrawal from benzos can also be very dangerous, sometimes even deadly, and entering a medical detox program is highly recommended. These centers can reduce the risks and the discomfort of the benzodiazepine withdrawal and detox process. Once detox has been safely completed, we can begin the treatment process in earnest. 1
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Medication Management
Withdrawal from benzos can often result in a prolonged, post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), and this may result in minor symptoms persisting for many weeks or months after acute withdrawal has completed. Luckily, there are medications that can treat these symptoms and reduce the discomfort that someone experiences. There are no non-benzo medications that are FDA approved to treat all of the symptoms of benzo withdrawal, including PAWS. That being said, there are medications that can be used to treat individual symptoms as they arise. 2
Some of the common classes of medication used to help with benzodiazepine treatment include:
- Non-Benzo Anti-Anxiety Medications (such as buspirone)
- Sleep Aids (such as trazodone or melatonin)
- Antidepressants (such as paroxetine or sertraline)
- Certain Anticonvulsants (such as tiagabine or sodium valproate) 3
The post-acute withdrawal syndrome from benzodiazepines can last for some time, and medications may be necessary during this time. Different people respond to medications differently, and it may take some time for a client to find the right medication for them. Our psychiatrists and medical staff will monitor the effectiveness of prescriptions and can adjust doses and medications as needed to provide maximum relief during treatment.
Therapy At Our Georgia Benzodiazepine Rehab
While medication may help in a very direct manner, clinical therapy can provide more indirect, but nonetheless real, benefits. Our integrative talk therapies aim to reduce stress, anxiety, and help someone develop healthier coping skills moving forward in their recovery. This approach is effective on its own, but when combined with medication, psychiatric care, and holistic treatments it can be extremely effective.
Some of the integrative talk therapies that we utilize in our treatment programs include:
- Motivational Interviewing
- Group Therapy
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Trauma-Informed Care
Motivational interviewing and group therapy are complementary therapies that can help someone recognize their own desire for recovery and share a common goal with others who are likewise committed to their treatment and recovery. Motivational interviewing can allow someone to express and articulate why they want to enter treatment, and vocalizing these desires to another person can help make them more concrete and real. Group therapy is a shared group session that can help clients connect with each other about their struggles, hopes for recovery, and shared intent throughout the treatment process. Having a sense of community and fellowship can be an extremely powerful motivator for someone’s recovery.
CBT is a therapeutic technique that can be used to help someone recognize and understand the interplay between their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Gaining a deeper understanding of the way that these may influence each other is the first step towards changing ways of thinking that may be unhealthy. Through consistent CBT sessions, someone can work to change these unhealthy patterns and develop new, healthier coping skills and ways of dealing with thoughts and emotions without acting them out impulsively.
Trauma-informed care is a general attitude that overlays all that we do here at The Summit Wellness Group. Traumatic experiences are, unfortunately, quite common in those who struggle with substance abuse issues. This can be especially so in those with an addiction to benzodiazepines, as these medications are often prescribed initially to help someone deal with anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders may arise from biology or past traumatic experiences, and while someone may have begun using benzos as prescribed, abuse and addiction are not uncommon end results. We take great care to treat all of our clients with empathy, compassion, and respect as we are well aware that trauma is a common experience of those who have lived through addiction. We aim to create a healthy and comforting environment at The Summit Wellness Group which may help someone fully embrace their treatment and recovery.
Psychiatric Benzodiazepine Treatment
There is a known and established connection between mental illness and addiction, and while the exact relationship is unclear there is a markedly higher incidence of mental illnesses in those with substance use disorder than in the general population. This is more relevant when talking about benzodiazepine addiction, as these drugs are primarily used to treat psychiatric disorders such as generalized anxiety and panic attacks. Having supportive care from a dual diagnosis treatment center and can be crucial for a positive treatment outcome and successful, long-term recovery. 4, 5
Some common mental health issues that frequently occur alongside benzodiazepine addiction include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
Having a co-occurring mental health issue alongside a substance use disorder is not necessarily detrimental to someone’s recovery. That being said, it can make recovery more difficult, especially if someone fails to receive the appropriate care and treatment for both co-occurring disorders at the same time. Dual diagnosis treatment can be extremely effective, as a reduction in symptoms in one condition may make treatment for the co-occurring condition easier or more effective. In this way, receiving dual diagnosis care can greatly improve someone’s chances of recovery as opposed to treating one condition at a time.
There are additional medications that may be used after acute benzodiazepine withdrawal has completed. Certain medications are avoided during acute benzo withdrawal, as they can increase the risk of dangerous complications such as seizures.
Aside from the medications listed above, other medications that can help treat co-occurring mental illnesses include:
- Mood Stabilizers
- Atypical Antidepressants
Holistic Georgia Benzodiazepine Rehab Services
While medications and therapy are a critical component of treatment, holistic therapy can be an extremely effective adjunct therapy that can provide unique benefits. The goal of the holistic therapies that we employ is to support mental and physical health and to promote healing. These can be effective on their own but are most powerful when combined with clinical therapy, medications, and psychiatric care.
Just a few of the holistic therapies that we use in our treatment programs include:
- Therapeutic Fitness
- Adventure Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Chiropractic Care
- Art Therapy
- Guided Meditation
These techniques are geared towards restoring healthy physical and psychological functions by putting healthy stress on the body and brain. The more physical holistic therapies can help encourage balanced neurotransmitter function, promote healthy sleep, and increase appetite all of which will speed and aid the recovery process. The mental approaches will help reduce stress and anxiety and can help lessen depression through mindfulness and meditative practices. When combined with contemporary science and medicine, these practices can accelerate and solidify the healing and recovery process.
Our Aftercare Program
The Summit Wellness Group makes a commitment to each and every client, and this commitment does not end when someone completes the treatment program. Recovery is a lifelong endeavor, and we are walking this path alongside our clients. Our aftercare program can last as long as it needs to; so long as someone benefits from it they are welcome to continue coming. The more support, care, and compassion that is available to someone, the better their chances for long-term recovery are.
We also have multiple connections with recovery communities in the metro Atlanta area and we will leverage these connections to put our clients in touch with others in recovery. This could include helping someone find a sponsor, a long-term sober living facility, or finding a recovery fellowship that suits their individual needs. The road to recovery is long and it can be difficult at times. One thing to remember is that recovery is possible, and it can begin whenever someone is ready. Don’t wait any longer. Give us a call and begin your recovery today.
- The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association: Complicated Withdrawal Phenomena During Benzodiazepine Cessation in Older Adults
- Australian Prescriber: Management of Benzodiazepine Misuse and Dependence
- Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: The Effectiveness of Anticonvulsants in Psychiatric Disorders
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders Research Report
- Psychiatric Services: Benzodiazepine Use and Abuse Among Patients With Severe Mental Illness and Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders