Benzodiazepine Recovery Tips
By Janet Currie
1. Recovery from being an accidental addict to benzodiazepines is serious business. It takes time for the central nervous system to heal and for neurotransmitters to stop being sensitive. None of us had the faintest idea that this kind of situation lay in front of us. So we are dealing with shock at what has happened as well as the real physical and mental/emotional symptoms of withdrawal.
2. Recovery is not linear, as it is with other illnesses or injuries. If we cut our hands, we can actually see the cut heal and the pain diminish over time. In benzo withdrawal we can be well one day and very sick the next. This is normal and we have to look at our healing differently.
3. Recovery is an individual thing and it is difficult to predict how quickly symptoms will stop for good. People expect to be completely better after a certain period of time, and often get discouraged and depressed when they feel this time has passed and they are not completely better. Most patient support programs tell clients to anticipate 6 months to a year for recovery after a taper has ended. But some people feel better a few months after they stop taking benzos; for others it takes more than a year to feel completely better. Try not to be obsessed with how long it will take, because every day you stay off benzos, your body is healing at its own rate. If you do not follow this particular schedule, it does not mean there is something wrong or you are not healing. Even if you are feeling ill in some respects, other symptoms may disappear. Even people in difficult tapers see improvements in symptoms very early on. So don't let these time-frames scare you. The way you feel at one month will not be how you will be feeling at three months or at six months.
4. It is very typical to have setbacks at different points of time (these times can vary). These setbacks can be so intense that people feel their healing hasn't happened at all; they feel they have been taken right back to beginning. Setbacks, if they occur, are a normal part of recovery.
5. When people are in recovery, they have a lot of fears. One is that they will never get better. Another is that their symptoms are really what they are like — perhaps what they have always been like. Both of these fears are stimulated by benzo withdrawal. In other words they are the thought components of benzo withdrawal, just as insomnia is a physical component.
6. There is no way around benzo withdrawal and recovery — you have to go through it. People try all sorts of measures to try to make the pain stop, but nothing can shortcut the process. Our body and brain have their own agenda for healing, and it will take place if you simply accept it.
7. When you are having a bad spell, healing is still going on. People typically find that after a bad spell, symptoms improve and often go away forever. Try to remember this when times are hard.
8. There is no magic cure
to recovery, but you can help yourself by comforting and reassuring yourself as
much as possible. Read reassuring information, stay away from stress, ask
your partner, family and others for reassurance, and go back to the things you
did at the beginning if you are experiencing really tough symptoms.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.
Last updated 21 July 2020