Are Benzodiazepines Used for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is extremely dangerous, and it often requires medication-assisted treatment (meaning that certain medications will be prescribed by physicians to decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms). One of the most commonly prescribed medications are benzodiazepines, which have been proven to dramatically decrease both the severity of physical symptoms and reduce physical and psychological alcohol cravings. However, because benzodiazepines are also habit-forming, they will never be prescribed for long-term alcohol abuse treatment. In the majority of cases, they are only utilized in a medical detoxification setting.

At Allure Detox, we utilize medication-assisted treatment when we deem doing so necessary. Of course, no two cases of addiction are the same, therefore no two detoxification processes will be identical. What works for someone might not work for someone else. We pride ourselves on our highly individualized program of clinical care, and we only use medications like benzodiazepines when we are sure they will help an individual through potentially dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Are Benzodiazepines Used for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Benzodiazepines

Some of the most commonly used benzodiazepines that help lessen alcohol withdrawal symptoms are Ativan, Librium, and Valium. They are used in cases where alcohol withdrawal is especially severe, usually in chronic and long-term drinkers.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to extremely severe. What many people fail to realize is that a “hangover” is a combination of mild (to moderate) alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Hangovers generally occur after a night of extremely heavy drinking and are characterized by symptoms like headaches, nausea, fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, and anxiety or depression. The symptoms of long-term alcohol abuse are similar, but far, far more severe. These symptoms will typically take hold from the first two hours to the first four days after the last drink, depending on the severity of and frequency of alcohol abuse. These symptoms include:

  • More severe headaches – sometimes headaches so severe that they can be crippling.
  • Severe nausea and persistent vomiting. If stomach issues are not addressed in a medical detox facility they can result in serious complications, like dehydration and lasting damage to the esophagus.
  • Severe shaking, which is commonly referred to as tremors. Individuals that struggle with alcoholism will experience tremors whenever they are not drinking – they will have shaky and unstable hands, in most cases.
  • Severe anxiety that often results in panic attacks. Panic attacks must be treated with medication, and they can be prevented by the prescribing of benzodiazepines.
  • Hallucinations, both auditory and visual. Those who are hallucinating are experiencing delirium tremens, which is the most severe type of alcohol withdrawal (this severity of alcohol withdrawal will always require medical treatment, seeing as it can result in more serious health-related complications like a seizure, coma, and respiratory depression).

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are often life-threatening if they are not overseen by a team of medical professionals. At Allure Detox, we treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal thoroughly and comprehensively, ensuring that they are as pain-free and short-lived as possible.

We are Here to Help With Addiction

At Allure Detox, we utilize low-dose benzodiazepines under medical supervision as part of our comprehensive alcohol detox program. Those who are prescribed these medications will be carefully monitored by an experienced team of prescribing physicians and addiction specialists. Drugs will be administered in a controlled setting, and as soon as the detox process comes to an end and the client moves on to inpatient treatment, medication-assisted treatment will cease – seeing as it is never a long-term recovery solution.

If you or someone you love has been struggling with alcohol abuse or dependency, professional care must be sought immediately. For more information on our program of alcohol detox please feel free to reach out today – we are standing by to answer any additional questions you may have.