For Women By Women

Benzodiazepines Addiction Treatment

Commonly known as benzos, benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs most prescribed by doctors to help people deal with issues such as anxiety disorders, panic disorders, insomnia, and even alcohol withdrawal. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium, among others. It is estimated that benzos are prescribed at nearly 66 million doctor visits yearly. Benzos can be an effective tool when prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Despite their effectiveness, benzodiazepine medications are also highly addictive. While a significant number of people feel these drugs are "safe" because they are prescribed by a medical professional, these drugs can produce life-threatening conditions when abused. Call Casa Serena toll-free today if you are in Southern California and need help overcoming benzo addiction. Casa Serena is a top-tier women's rehab in Santa Barbara, CA.

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Introduction to Benzo Addiction

As stated in the introduction, benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that have potent anti-anxiety properties. When patients take benzo medication, it acts on a specific set of receptors called benzodiazepine receptors. These receptors are most common in the central nervous system. Benzo medications activate the production of a specific transmitter called GABA. Benzos amplify the effects of GABA neurotransmitters which are responsible for producing a calming effect. For those suffering from anxiety or related disorders, benzos help people become more relaxed and level-headed. Benzodiazepines vary widely regarding how quickly they start to work. For example, diazepam (Valium), Tranxene, and Halcion are known as short-acting benzos. When taken, people will feel the effects of short-term benzos within 30-60 minutes. Benzos such as Xanax and Ativan are long-acting benzos that take more time to work, but the effects last 11 to 20 hours on average. Long-acting benzos such as Librium and Klonopin have lasting effects on the body between 1-3 days. The influx of GABA neurotransmitters in the central nervous system creates intense feelings of calm and peace. These feelings become reinforced, and people will take more benzo medications to get the desired effect. Over time, people build tolerance for benzos and will take higher dosages to get the same effect. Eventually, benzos will take over the body's production of GABA, and people will become dependent on these medications to function on a daily basis. When this occurs, people become dependent and then addicted to benzos.

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Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of
a Benzo Addiction

The signs and symptoms of benzo addiction vary and can be seen across several domains. While people can develop certain sets of symptoms to varying degrees, there are common signs and symptoms that people can exhibit. The following are the most common symptoms seen across different domains.


  • Muscle weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Fainting


  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Failing to meet expectations at work or at home
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Doctor shopping (going to multiple doctors to get more medications)


  • Confusion
  • Slowed thought processes
  • Poor concentration
  • Reduced inhibition
  • Impaired judgment
  • Perceptual disturbances
  • Memory difficulties


  • Increased hostility towards others
  • Sudden and unpredictable mood swings
  • Emotional detachment
  • Intense irritability or anger

There are risk factors that make people more vulnerable to developing a benzo addiction. These include personal or family history of drug abuse and a history of mental illness. People who are more likely to develop a benzo addiction grow up in an environment of constant stress. Additionally, people who experience trauma or are a victim of abuse and neglect are more vulnerable to benzodiazepine addiction.

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How to Decide if You Need Treatment

What is Benzodiazepine
Withdrawal Treatment?

People who are looking to quit using benzos may think that self-detox and other methods of going “cold turkey” are better for them than an official detox program. These self-detox methods are highly inadvisable and can cause great physical and psychological harm. Benzos significantly alter brain chemistry, and the absence of these medications can cause withdrawal symptoms that are both painful and uncomfortable to endure. Common withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Increased anxiety and panic attacks
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Stiffness
  • Seizures

These withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if underlying medical issues or other drugs are being abused. That is why it is important that users undergo benzodiazepine withdrawal treatment. 

Benzo withdrawal treatment takes place in a safe and secure environment and under the strict supervision of experienced medical personnel. Medical staff will utilize various medications that will help make the withdrawal process less painful and more tolerable. Common interventions include medication management, nutrition therapy, and exercise therapy. Once a patient achieves physical and psychological stability, they will be transitioned into an intensive inpatient treatment program. 

For those who complete detox, they will look and feel the best they’ve been for a significant amount of time. While those new in recovery may feel great, they are not fully recovered. Unless they address the underlying causes of their addiction to benzos, they will have a high chance of relapse. Instead, benzo withdrawal treatment needs to be seen as the first step in the recovery process.

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Our Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in California

The struggle with benzo addiction is exhausting and can be defeating. No matter what you try to curb your use or quit altogether, you slip back into benzo misuse, and your problem worsens by the day. While you may feel you are fighting a losing battle, Casa Serena's benzodiazepine abuse treatment program will help you face your addiction head-on—and win. Our evidence-based benzodiazepine addiction treatment program is evidence-based, extensively tested, and administered by compassionate and experienced treatment staff. Our individualized benzo treatment program includes medical detox, individual, group, and family therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, wellness and health programs, and educational programs. We offer several levels of care so you can find the appropriate care program to fit your unique needs. Residential treatment allows you to reside in the facility while you undergo personalized and intensive treatment. Outpatient treatment may be a better fit if you cannot spend extended time away from work and family. We offer intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization programs for those who need detox, better medical care, and immediate mental health treatment. If your addiction is mild and you don't require detox or other immediate care, our traditional outpatient program is an ideal choice. We also offer continuing care through aftercare, sober living, and alumni programs.

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Casa Serena's Benzodiazepine Treatment Center Can Help

Don't let your battle with benzo addiction ruin your life. Casa Serena is one of the premier women's benzodiazepine treatment programs in Southern California. Located in Santa Barbara, our rehab is a destination for those looking to break the grip of benzo addiction. Our dynamic and comprehensive approach to benzo treatment will heal you in mind, body, and spirit. We will put our 60 years of experience to work for you, creating individualized treatment plans and providing the solid support you need to transform your life completely.

Casa Serena provides women's outpatient treatment in Santa Barbara. Contact us today to learn more about how our addiction treatment programs can help you today.
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