Benzodiazepines Relapse: How To Overcome Challenges

Last Updated: July 6, 2021

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Benzodiazepines relapse is a common occurrence among the addicts. In fact, it happens to so many people. That’s why it is critical to know the mathods preventing relapse to stay clean for life.

Benzodiazepines: An Overview

Benzodiazepines or simply Benzos are a class of medications that depress CNS. These effects make them a very useful medication. Doctors use them to treat a wide range of mental and physical disorders. They include insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, and abnormal muscle contractions.
Unfortunately, these are also the same reasons why so many people abuse them. Consequently, they develop a tolerance. As a result, they start taking more to satiate their ever-increasing urges. The result is a harmful addiction. This puts them in the front row of many serious health effects.
In addition to the approved uses, they use often it just to get high. In the end, they to end up becoming another victim of the addiction.
Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium are some of the typical examples.

A Closer Look At Benzodiazepines Relapse

Benzodiazepines RelapseOne stays sober for a certain duration of time. Then, after a while, severe discomfort and urges for a high drag a person to using it again. This is what they call a Benzodiazepines relapse. While one may consider it as a failure of the overall addiction treatment program, this is not so.
Benzo relapse refers to one of the serious effects of its addition.
They act by altering the levels of a brain chemical which they call Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). As a result, one feels calm and sedated after taking it.

A person might attempt to set oneself free from the addiction. Therefore, one may enroll in a detox/addiction treatment program. Then follows a common story.
As a matter of fact, the tendency to go back to the addiction goes away. It happens as the period of non-use lengthens. Nevertheless, it is a serious problem that leaves a rehab effort in jeopardy.

Triggers Of Benzodiazepines Relapse

Learning about the triggers can prepare one to handle the situation in real time. Moreover, one may also apply precautionary measures to keep them at bay.

  • Cravings: Strong urges to take the benzo again may arise during the period of withdrawal. Essentially, these are more powerful during the first few days after the last dose. A war against the Benzodiazepines relapse is half won if a patient can endure this phase.
  • Bad company: Does person continue to stay in touch with the other addicts? There is a high probability to join the party again.
  • Stress: Stress is a normal part of the daily life. However, an addict may perceive a stressful situation to cheat on the drugs. In part, using Benzos causes relaxation and transient freedom from stress. This might be another reason why they abuse it.
  • Other mental illnesses: Do they have any other co-occurring mental disorder? In this case, the risk of an addict to have Benzodiazepines relapse is higher. In addition, similar may be the case when they abuse more than one drug.

Benzos Relapse Complications

Benzo relapse is as harmful as its addiction. Of course, this can lead to a full-blown addiction if one does not take timely measures.
Other complications may include:

  • Health getting worse: Many physical and mental illnesses have their roots in the addiction. In the same manner, Benzodiazepines relapse may lead to other serious problems. They are overdose, seizures, memory problems, psychosis and the list never ends. Unfortunately, some might not be lucky enough to survive due to the complications.
  • Probable failure of the addiction treatment program: If a patient get back, one will have to start all the rehab efforts and dealing with all the side effects of Benzos again. In this case, it means right from the first step again. All the hard work will vanish within no time. It will cost more than money, time and dream of a drug-free life.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Failure to stay sober negatively impacts each aspect of one’s life.

Benzodiazepines Relapse: Can It Be Prevented?

Most probably, yes.
At the moment a preventive approach does not exist. In other words, nothing can guarantee a full proof protection from Benzo relapse. Nevertheless, some measures may cut down the risk by a huge margin. Here are some tips to follow.
Avoid the triggers: This is the second step of the Benzo relapse prevention strategy. The first is identifying them. At this point, one can take measures to avoid them completely. Patient can do it after identifying what makes them more likely to restart on the drug. If that’s not possible, try not to become a victim of the urges. For example, avoid bad company, limit alcohol intake or start a new hobby to keep oneself busy.
Follow a routine: Living within the boundary of a schedule may not seem like the most enjoyable idea. However, a disciplined life is key to ensuring one will stick to goals. Make a list of things-to-do and stay motivated to get them done at the right time. Setting time limits can make one more disciplined. Make sure to include healthy activities in the routine.
Stay in touch with the loved ones: Positive motivation and emotional support go a long way in preventing Benzo relapse. In fact, a strong emotional support system plays a pivotal role. They will remind the responsibilities and long-term treatment goals.
To know more about Benzodiazepines relapse or its addiction, talk to the experts. They can provide an accurate information on a variety of addiction-related topics. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable to a journey to sobriety. In fact, with their guidance, one can expect a swift and complete recovery.
Need a professional help to fight an addiction? Get the best rehabs page here.

Page Sources

  1. Mol AJ, Oude Voshaar RC, Gorgels WJ. The role of craving in relapse after discontinuation of long-term benzodiazepine use. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2007 Dec;68(12):1894-900.
  2. Morin CM, Bélanger L, Bastien C, Vallières A. Long-term outcome after discontinuation of benzodiazepines for insomnia: a survival analysis of relapse. 2005 Jan;43(1):1-14.

Published on: April 19th, 2017

Updated on: July 6th, 2021

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


Leave a comment