Benzo Treatment Centers In Florida

What Are Benzos?

“Benzos” are benzodiazepines. Street names for benzodiazepine drugs are “benzos” and “downers.” Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative (nervous system depressant) medication. That’s right, it’s a prescription medication you can become dependent on. Drug addicts often abuse these drugs to get “high.” Benzos can cause addiction similar to opioids such as:

  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • GHB
  • Hydrocodone

How Do They Work?

Being a sedative means it slows down the functions of the body and the brain. Typically, benzos are used to help with anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. Using benzos short term is usually safe but long-term use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and other negative effects.

There is a natural chemical messenger in your brain (neurotransmitter) called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your body.  GABA reduces the activity in the areas of the brain responsible for:

  • Reasoning
  • Memory
  • Emotions and essential functions such as breathing

When a person feels anxious, the brain is overstimulated. When you take benzodiazepines, the brain sends messages to counteract the overstimulation. This reduces the symptoms of anxiety.

Benzodiazepines increase the effects of GABA on your brain and body which means they can:

  • Make you feel relaxed and sleepy (sedation),
  • Reduce your feeling of anxiety, and
  • Relax your muscles

Can You Get Addicted To Benzodiazepines?

Yes, benzos are habit-forming. You can become addicted to them even if you take them as prescribed by your doctor or health care professional. If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you are more likely to develop an addiction. Also, if you use them over a long period you may develop a tolerance. This means that you will need higher doses to treat your condition or disease because you have become tolerant of the weaker formula of the drug.

Although some people might have a genetic disposition to become addicted to drugs, there is no doubt that factors in the environment also play a major part. The more common environmental influences are:

  • Low social and economic status
  • Unemployment
  • Peer pressure

Benzo Addiction Symptoms

When used as prescribed, benzodiazepines relieve anxiety and insomnia. Occasionally, people taking benzos may feel drowsy or dizzy. This side effect can be more noticeable at higher doses. And higher doses can cause more serious side effects. Signs and symptoms of  addiction include:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Goosebumps
  • Uncontrollable leg movements

More serious effects include:

  • Memory problems
  • Changes in behavior (such as increased risk-taking)
  • Delirium (mainly in older people)
  • Possible increased risk of dementia (not scientifically proven yet)

Signs of Chronic Misuse

Signs of continuous misuse can be very general and include changes in appearance and behavior that affect relationships and performance at work and home. Signs in children include sudden changes in mood or decline in school performance. Chronic misuse can cause symptoms that imitate many of the conditions that caused them to be used in the first place including:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Headaches 

Benzodiazepine Overdose

An overdose of benzos can lead to:

  • Extreme sedation 
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Rapid and weak pulse
  • Coma
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Death

An overdose can be fatal if the person:

  • Uses benzos with alcohol or opioids
  • Is older and takes too much
  • Is taking other drugs and the effects build up in their body

Common Benzodiazepines

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

All benzodiazepines are habit-forming and can result in physical dependence. And dependence can lead to a tough withdrawal if the individual chooses to stop using the drug. Of course, withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person but there are some common symptoms. Generally, medical experts don’t recommend using benzodiazepines for more than 2 weeks. If you use them for 3-4 weeks and then stop suddenly, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal From Benzodiazepines

Withdrawal happens when a person suddenly stops taking benzos (not recommended by doctors). The withdrawal symptoms vary in severity and typically begin within 24 hours and may last from a few days to a few months. Research showed that 4-% of people who take benzodiazepines for longer than 6 months experienced moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms.

There is a wide range of withdrawal symptoms that can occur when you stop using benzos. They include:

benzo treatment centers
  • Panic and anxiety
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Headaches and muscle pain


Because there is no definite guide to the symptoms, timeline, or severity of withdrawal, each person may experience withdrawal differently. It depends on factors such as:

  • Duration of taking benzos
  • Dosage
  • Misuse of prescription
  • Using benzos without a prescription
  • An underlying mental health condition
  • Using other drugs at the same time
  • Misusing other drugs or alcohol

There are three potential phases for benzodiazepine withdrawal and each one has an estimated timeline. A person withdrawing from benzos should always have the guidance and supervision of a medical professional. Never quit suddenly without consulting a professional and developing a plan with them.

benzo treatment centers

1. Early or Immediate Withdrawal

Early withdrawal systems are sometimes called rebound symptoms and occur shortly after you stop taking benzodiazepines. Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting drugs, like Xanax, might start sooner than from long-acting drugs like Valium.

However, during the early stages of withdrawal, the person might notice the symptoms of the condition that the drug was being used to treat start to return or rebound. For instance, symptoms of insomnia or anxiety might come back or get worse after stopping the medication. Tapering off of the drug or using another drug to ease the withdrawal symptoms may make early withdrawal symptoms more manageable.

2. Acute Withdrawal

After the initial withdrawal symptoms, acute withdrawal begins. This is generally within a few days. Symptoms typically last 5-28 days, although some may last for several months.

Most of the withdrawal symptoms will occur in this stage. Individuals who have gone through acute withdrawal often say that this stage is the most difficult. During this stage, doctors may need to monitor the person and recommend other drugs to control the most problematic symptoms.

3. Protracted Withdrawal or Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

Even though many of the symptoms diminish after the acute phase, there may still be some lingering side effects. Research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported that an estimated 10-25% of people who used benzodiazepines for extended periods may have withdrawal symptoms that last for 12 months or longer.


Protracted withdrawals might cause their own set of symptoms including:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

These symptoms can be disturbing and might affect a person’s quality of life. They may appear without any warning and can be a significant cause of distress. Supportive counseling and other therapies or medication can help manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Self-Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

People who abuse drugs frequently deny they have a problem. They play down the intensity of their drug use or blame it on job or family stress. However, the most important thing that can be done at home is recognizing that there’s a problem and exploring getting some help.

It is very difficult to recover from benzodiazepine addiction because they change the chemistry of your brain. Trying to quit cold turkey is not likely to be successful and can be dangerous because of the symptoms of withdrawal.

Treatment for Benzo Addiction

The treatment of chronic abuse of benzodiazepines can be done with medical supervision, preferably at a hospital or drug rehab center.  

Step 1:

Medical Detox

In a benzo detox center with medical supervision, the first step consists of a gradual reduction of benzodiazepines to prevent withdrawal and seizures. This is usually much easier than the prolonged recovery phase during which the person tries to stay drug-free.


There aren’t any medications approved for the treatment of benzodiazepine-use disorders. There are only a few medication treatments available.  Treatment might include antidepressants for depression and sleep problems as well as mood stabilizers. But for patients who have a co-existing mental disorder (called a dual diagnosis), an integrated therapy program addressing both issues is necessary. 

benzo treatment centers

Step 2:

Treatment Program

The purpose of detox is to prepare you for a treatment program. Depending on the severity of your addiction and your practical needs, you will enter one of these common programs:

Inpatient Treatment

In a residential program, you will live at the treatment facility in a secure structured environment with 24-hour supervision, 7 days a week. This is the highest level of care.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A PHP is similar to a residential program in that you will spend fully supervised days at the treatment facility. The difference is that it is 5 days a week and you will go home at night. You receive the same access to therapies and activities as a residential program.

Outpatient Programs

In an outpatient program, you spend less time at the facility and in therapy sessions. There are two types of outpatient programs Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a regular Outpatient Program (OP). The difference between the two is the amount of time spent at the facility and in treatment.

Step 3:


After completing detox, when the individual is stabilized and the physical withdrawal symptoms have subsided, they are ready for the psychological phase of treatment.

There are a number of evidence-based therapies available for substance use. Some of the most common and most effective are:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is the most widely used therapy for benzodiazepine dependence. Both research and clinical practice have shown evidence that it actually produces change, unlike many other forms of psychological treatment. 

CBT treatment typically involves training to change thinking patterns. Strategies involve:

  • Learning to recognize your distortions in thinking that are causing problems and reevaluate them in the light of reality.
  • Learning problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
  • Learning to develop a better sense of self-confidence in your own abilities.

It also involves efforts to change behavior patterns. Strategies include:

  • Facing your fears instead of avoiding them.
  • Using role-play to prepare for possibly uncertain interactions with others.
  • Learning to calm your mind and relax your body.

The therapist and patient will work together to develop an understanding of the problems and create a treatment strategy. Therapists emphasize what is going on in the person’s life now, rather than what has led up to their problems.

benzo treatment centers

Individual Therapy

Individual counseling, sometimes called talk therapy, psychotherapy, or treatment is a process where patients work one-on-one with a  trained mental health clinician in a safe and confidential environment. This type of counseling allows people to: 

  • Investigate their feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. They can 
  • Work through challenging or powerful memories, 
  • Identify parts of their lives they want to change
  • Understand themselves better
  • Set personal goals
  • Work toward the change they want

Individual therapy is very helpful if the individual has depression, bipolar disorder, or any other significant mental health diagnosis that requires treatment at the same time as the substance use disorder (dual diagnosis).

benzo treatment centers

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists who lead therapy sessions of typically 5-15 people. Some people attend only individual therapy and some only use group therapy.

Although any counseling for drug addiction is better than none, group therapy is generally preferred over individual therapy. During a group therapy session, you’re more likely to be challenged and supported by people who are also going through drug treatment.

Some of the principles of group therapy are:

  • Instilling hope: Group members will feel hopeful when current or former members progress toward their goals.
  • Universality: Group therapy brings together people who have similar experiences.
  • Imparting information: group members and therapists can help each other by sharing information and advice.
  • Altruism: members can support, reassure, and help each other.
  • Development of socializing methods: Group members can give and get feedback that can help them handle social interactions outside the group.
  • Imitative behavior: members of the group may imitate the behaviors they see in the more experienced members or the therapists.
  • Emotional release: Sharing feelings, experiences, and pain with a group can help release anger and pent-up emotions.
  • Existential factors:Group sessions provide time and a place for exploring uncomfortable existential factors such as loss and death. Members also develop a stronger feeling of self-reliance by understanding that they are in control of their actions, behaviors, and choices.

Getting Benzo Treatment In Florida

That little pill that eases anxiety and insomnia is not as innocent as you might have thought at first. A lot of people take them. Unfortunately, a lot of people misuse and get addicted to them. You or someone you care about can get help for an addiction to benzodiazepines in a treatment center in South Florida. Miracles Recovery Center is experienced in substance abuse treatment and counseling. Our staff is compassionate and caring and waiting for you. Contact us now. 


benzo treatment centers

 Subscribe For Weekly Motivation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.