Benzodizepine Use for Withdrawal Management

In many cases, certain benzodiazepines may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms for those dependent on drugs like alcohol or sedatives. The supervised and careful use of certain benzodiazepines by medical professionals may help keep the detoxing patient safe and prevent severe complications such as seizures.

Common Symptoms of Withdrawal

Drug withdrawal can be a frustrating process. Once a person has become dependent on a drug, the brain loses its ability to function without the drug; this results in a variety of unpleasant symptoms when the drug is stopped. Symptoms of withdrawal can be both physical and mental, and may include:

  • Severe insomnia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Agitation.
  • Panic.
  • Fever.
  • Body aches.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Tremors.

Which symptoms manifest depends on the type of drug being taken, the degree of dependence, and the individual’s withdrawal history, among other factors.

When Are Benzodiazepines Used for Withdrawal?

Benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Librium may be used in many cases of withdrawal, especially for those detoxing from alcohol or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants.


Benzos are commonly used to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can range from very uncomfortable to life-threatening. One of the risks of heavy, long-term alcohol use is a condition called delirium tremens – a severe withdrawal syndrome that can cause various serious symptoms, including seizures, and that can be fatal if the individual does not have medical support for detox from alcohol.

Benzodiazepines can help to manage agitation and seizures associated with alcohol withdrawal, and it can even help prevent delirium tremens from occurring during alcohol detox.


For those dependent on benzodiazepines, withdrawal management may require a slow taper of the benzo they use. Alternatively, the patient may be switched to a longer-acting benzodiazepine such as Librium.

As in alcohol withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal can induce seizures and delirium. Careful use of the right benzodiazepines in managing withdrawal can help to keep the patient safe. A 24/7 medically supervised detox environment helps ensure safety and comfort for those patients who are dependent on benzodiazepines, sleep medications such as Ambien, or other sedatives.


Withdrawal from certain hallucinogens, such as GHB, may cause symptoms that are similar in nature to those of alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal, such as delirium, confusion and psychosis. Benzodiazepines like Ativan may be used to manage the symptoms of withdrawal for GHB.

For many other hallucinogens such as LSD, ketamine, or PCP, withdrawal symptoms that require benzodiazepine management are unlikely; however, if symptoms such as severe anxiety or agitation do arise, benzodiazepine medications may be used judiciously to help alleviate them.

The Importance of Supervised Withdrawal

Benzos may be an important element of withdrawal from alcohol in particular and from other addictive substances in general. However, these medications must be delivered in an appropriate medical setting by treatment professionals.

Experienced addiction treatment specialists can determine the best benzodiazepines to use, the appropriate dosage, and the correct dosing and tapering schedule.

At Desert Hope, we offer a safe medical detox program at our facility that offers all-day supervision, medications, and comfort care. We also offer several other levels of care for those who wish to continue addiction treatment beyond detox.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the devastating side effects of addiction and are unsure of where to turn, call us today at . Desert Hope, American Addiction Centers’ drug rehab center in Las Vegas, is ready to help you get the treatment you need today.

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