"Benzo" Withdrawal

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Question

What drugs are considered benzo's and what kind of withdrawal symptoms can they cause?

Answer

Benzo's refer to a drug class called benzodiazepines (BZD) and any abrupt discontinuation or rapid reduction in a BZD can produce withdrawal symptoms. This includes drugs like alprazolam, clonazepam, flurazepam, lorazepam, temazepam, as well as others. This is why your doctor should slowly taper the drug over a period determined by your physician.

Possible benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms

The signs and symptoms of BZD withdrawal can include a number of things. Common symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, muscle tension, and irritability. Other less common symptoms include nausea, malaise, blurred vision, nightmares, and depression. Rarely occurring symptoms include ringing ears, confusion, paranoid delusions, hallucinations, and seizures. The onset of withdrawal differs according to how long the particular BZD stays in the body after you take it. There are three classes of BZDs: short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting. Symptoms of withdrawal may appear as early as 24-48 hours after discontinuation of short-acting BZDs while it may take up to 3 weeks in long-acting BZDs. The severity and duration of withdrawal is determined by the length of time the BZD was used, how rapidly it was tapered (if at all), and possibly genetics.

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