How Long Are Benzos Prescribed For?

Various benzodiazepines have different strengths, potency, action times, and half-lives. Based on this, how long are they prescribed for? Let's find out the reason for wide spread benzo misuse and addiction.

Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are a type of psychoactive sedative medication that is most commonly used to treat many conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures and has even been regularly used during alcohol withdrawal. 

It works on your brain by causing it to be less sensitive to outside stimulation, and it creates a calming effect on both the body and the mind. In addition, your body produces a natural chemical known as gamma-aminobutyric acid responsible for memory, reasoning, emotions, and essential functions like breathing. Benzos increase the effects of this chemical to reduce anxiety and cause sedation. 

How Long Are Benzos Prescribed For?

Dosing Protocols for Benzodiazepine Use

There are many different benzos with different strengths, potencies, action times, and half-lives. All of these things are taken into consideration when someone has prescribed benzos. The reason the benzos are being prescribed will also determine how long they are prescribed for. The most commonly prescribed are Klonopin, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Restoril. All of these have different levels of strength and use.

Generally speaking, most benzos should only be prescribed for short-term use as all of them have a high potential for abuse and addiction. However, it mostly depends on the strength, dosage, and what it is being used for. For example, benzos like Xanax and Ativan are stronger and also more fast-acting. These are best for short-term use and used as needed. These kinds of benzos would be best for anxiety and panic-related attacks or episodes.

More About Benzodiazepine Dosing Methods

If an anxiety attack were to happen, you would take your medication as needed to stop the panic attack. Benzos, like Valium, however, are much weaker and do not have as quick of an onset. Nevertheless, they are helpful for insomnia and can be used more regularly to prevent insomnia.

There is no set time each benzo should be prescribed for, as it is dependent on what your doctor thinks and how you react to them. But it is always best not to take them long-term as they are habit-forming.

The Risks of Long Term Benzo Misuse

Long-term use of benzodiazepine has the potential for experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks. This occurs when your body has become dependent on the drug to function, and then you suddenly stop using them or miss a dose. This can occur even when the medication is being taken as prescribed, which is why t is not recommended for long-term use.

In addition to withdrawal symptoms, a person taking them long-term can experience cognitive impairment. Benzos can cause effects like drowsiness, decreased reaction time, poor motor coordination, and even amnesia. The longer they are taken, the worse it can get.

Biggest Concerns With Long-Term Benzo Dependency

The biggest concern with long-term benzo use is abuse and addiction. When this happens, you feel like you can no longer function without it as it begins to take over your life and every thought. The longer an addiction is left untreated, the higher the chances for an overdose to occur. 

The central nervous system affected by benzos is an essential part of the brain’s system and controls many of the body’s most vital functions, including respiration and the heart. When a benzo overdose happens, the central nervous system slows down to extreme levels until you barely breathe, so not enough oxygen is getting to the brain. If help is not found in time, this can be deadly.

Help for Benzodiazepine Addiction and Abuse

If you or someone you love is ready to take the necessary steps to get sober, starting with a medically assisted detox process is best. Once detox is completed, we recommend you get into a treatment program. 

Finally, if you are ready to turn things around, we offer a great and helpful treatment program to get you back on your feet using proven evidence-based treatment. Don’t hesitate to call us today to discuss your options. Different benzos have different strengths, potencies, action times, and half-lives. These things are all considered when prescribing benzos.