If you have been using benzodiazepines for longer than a few weeks’ time than you are likely to have developed a benzo dependency. It is very likely that you started using benzos for a reason – the most common reasons are for anxiety or for insomnia. Some users do have legitimate medical needs to continue benzodiazepine use, while others continue to use them recreationally, or beyond their original need. There are lots of great reasons to stop taking benzodiazepines. If the original reason for taking the medication no longer exists, it may be time to explore options to ween off of these drugs. With the help of your doctor, you have to decide if it is time to stop taking them.
Here are several reasons to stop taking benzodiazepines and how tapering off of the drug will benefit your life.
1. Say ‘Goodbye’ to Feeling Distant and Drugged
Many people find that the use of benzos leaves a gap between themselves and their normal feelings and emotions. Benzos can also make them feel separated from continuing their true connections with their loved ones. It is very difficult to be emotionally detached from your loved ones most of the time. This never really allows you to have authentic feelings and true experiences with the people who matter than most to you. When you stop taking benzos, you will stop feeling emotionally distant and be able to connect on a deeper level.
2. No More Nasty Side Effects
While benzo’s come in many types and have different side effects for users, the common side effects experienced from taking benzodiazepines are:
- memory problems
- stomach problems
Sadly, one of the other side effects of taking benzodiazepine over a longer period of time is that you will develop a tolerance to the antiolytic properties of but you will not develop the same tolerance to the negative side effects. As you have continued to increase your dosage, you may find that the side effects get progressively worse. When you stop taking benzos, you will no longer need to worry about these troublesome side effects.
3. Live a Safer Life
As your benzo dosage gets higher and higher, even a small mistake could prove very dangerous. Mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol or another kind of sedative can result in a serious amplification of the effects, namely that you will feel like you are intoxicated, but even more so. This intoxication could lead to accidental injuries like falls or broken bones, but it could also lead to traffic accidents or a fatal overdose.
4. The Medication Might Have Stopped Working
It is very, very easy to become dependent upon benzodiazepines. After you begin taking benzos, you can quickly develop a tolerance. After a while, you end up taking more and more of them just to maintain your normal state of functionality. Most doctors maintain that after 4 months of use, benzos do not help with insomnia or anxiety. They may actually be making it worse.
5. Your Original Problem is Gone
If you are still taking benzos then you might not even know that you do not need to be taking them anymore. When you started taking them in the first place, you likely had a problem with anxiety or insomnia. If the benzos were helping than you can probably assume that if you keep taking them than they are still working. It is possible that the circumstances that created your problem in the first place have disappeared taking your insomnia or your anxiety away as well. If you are still on the medication, you will not notice the difference. One of the complicating factors of quitting benzos is that users will often experience ‘rebound’ symptoms. This is where the symptoms the benzo was treating will appear, due to the absence of the benzo medication, not because of the originating cause. Because of this it’s important to seek professional guidance when quitting benzo use.
Consult With Your Doctor Before You Stop Taking Benzodiazepines
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to work out a slow tapering schedule with your doctor. Reducing your dose every couple of weeks over a number of months can greatly reduce the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. There is no rush so make sure you take it slow and make a tapering schedule that works for you and your schedule. Quitting benzodiazepine takes a lot of courage and a lot of will power. It is certainly easier and less scary to keep on going with what you are used to, but quitting can be the start of a new life for yourself and your loved ones.