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11/02/2010 06:14 PM

What Are Signs and symptoms Of Benzo Withdrawal?


Some of the withdrawal symptoms are identical to the symptoms for which the medication was originally prescribed.

The ability to determine the difference between relapse and rebound is very important during the withdrawal phase and can often lead to a misdiagnosis.

Withdrawal symptoms from low dose dependence typically last 6–12 months and gradually improve over that time period. Symptoms may lack a psychological cause and can fluctuate in intensity with periods of good and bad days until eventual recovery.

Withdrawal symptoms can occur while on a stable dose of benzodiazepines due to the "tolerance withdrawal" phenomenon, where the body experiences "withdrawal effects" and craves increasing doses to feel normal which can lead to dosage escalation, but most often withdrawal symptoms occur during dosage reduction.

The acute benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome generally lasts for about 2 months but clinically significant withdrawal symptoms may persist, although gradually declining, for many months or even several years. The severity and length of the withdrawal syndrome is likely determined by various factors including rate of tapering, length of use of benzodiazepines and dosage size and possibly genetic factors.

Long term use of benzodiazepines causes cognitive, neurological and intellectual impairments. After one year of abstinence from benzodiazepines cognitive, neurological and intellectual impairments had returned to normal.

Patients who are physically dependent on short-acting anxiolytic benzodiazepines may experience what is known as interdose withdrawal. Interdose withdrawal are withdrawal symptoms which occur between doses when the previous dose wears off. This can lead to symptoms such as rebound anxiety between doses and craving for the next dose of short-acting benzodiazepine.

Common Side Effects:

Anxiety, possible terror and panic attacks

Agitation and restlessness


Dilated pupils

Impaired concentration



Muscular spasms, cramps or fasciculations

Electric shock sensations

Blurred vision


Dry mouth

Aches and pains

Hearing impairment

Taste and smell disturbances

Chest pain

Flu like symptoms

Impaired memory and concentration

Increased sensitivity to sound

Increased urinary frequency

Numbness and tingling

Hot and cold flushes


Rebound REM sleep


Fatigue and weakness


Restless legs syndrome

Metallic taste




Nausea and vomiting

Elevation in blood pressure



Postural hypotension

Depression (can be severe)

possible suicidal ideation



Loss of appetite and weight loss



Derealisation (Feelings of unreality)

Obsessive compulsive disorder



Visual disturbances

Mood swings


Gastrointestinal problems (Irritable bowel syndrome)

An abrupt or over-rapid discontinuation of benzodiazepines may result in a more serious and very unpleasant withdrawal syndrome that may additionally result in:

Convulsions, which may result in death

Catatonia, which may result in death




Attempted suicide

Suicidal ideation

Self harm



Homicide ideations

Urges to shout, throw, break things or to harm someone


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Organic brain syndrome




Neuroleptic malignant syndrome like event


Delirium tremens

Some people experience little or no withdrawal when

stopping long term benzodiazepine usage. It is not known for sure why there is such a variation between patients but recent research in animals suggests that withdrawal from sedative hypnotic drugs may be influenced by a genetic component.As withdrawal progresses patients often find that their physical and mental health improves with improved mood and improved cognition.

Some Information Found at: Benzodiazepine_withdrawal_syndrome


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