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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline

It’s critical to understand that when a person becomes reliant on benzo, it changes their brain’s natural gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and they get used to it. This is harmful when they stop using the medication. At this point, withdrawal symptoms will start to appear.

Benzodiazepine dependence as a result of doctor-prescribed medication is not as common as it once was. Now there is an increase in recreational use and becoming addicted when not prescribed.

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Physical symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are often difficult to bear. 

Detox Timelines

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Physical Symptoms Include:

  • increased heart rate – 1 to 3 days after last dose
  • rapid breathing – 1 day after last dose and last up to 2 weeks
  • nausea
  • vomiting 
  • shakiness or fidgety behavior
  • headaches
  • An increased heart rate can occur for one to three days after the last dose of benzo.
  • Rapid breathing can begin one day after your last dose and can go on for two weeks.
  • Nausea, vomiting, shakiness, or fidgety behavior are all possible during withdrawal from benzodiazepines. Symptoms will vary depending on the level of dependence but may start as early as six hours after stopping use.
  • Chest pains usually show up two to three days after you stop taking medication and can happen throughout recovery. They do not seem to be serious but it is recommended that if you have chest pains, you should speak with a medical professional before considering taper strategies.
  • Headaches can start a couple of hours after the last dose and may be severe. They’re more likely to appear in people who have been taking high doses for a long time but, in some cases, it will take weeks before they dissipate.

 Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms 

  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-loathing
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • There is not a set time for how long the psychological symptoms will last but they can be particularly debilitating in people who have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.


Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Timeline

The most common symptoms of benzo withdrawal begin within 24 hours and can range from a few days to several months, depending on the quantity and kind of benzo taken. A person who has been addicted to painkillers for many years can experience withdrawal symptoms even after a few weeks of sobriety. 

It’s typical for people withdrawing from long-term use of benzodiazepine to have trouble sleeping and feel restless or anxious.

Find Help For Benzodiazepine Addictions

If you have been abusing benzos and wish to quit or if you are withdrawing from higher doses of benzo medication, there are many resources available to help with your recovery. Please contact us for help. We’re here to provide the best care possible.


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Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

Picture of This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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