Understanding Benzo Belly

Benzo belly is a withdrawal symptom of benzodiazepines or benzos. Trying to quit this prescription drug cold turkey may cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states over 12 percent of Americans use benzos. That is over 30 million Americans! While benzos have their place in treatment, they are very addictive. Although benzo abuse isn’t as common as other drug abuse, nearly two percent of the 30 million users, or 600,000 people, abuse benzos. Additionally, of the 30 million surveyed, 17 percent abused benzos at least once before being surveyed.

Benzo abuse can quickly turn into a substance use disorder. It’s crucial to recognize signs and symptoms of benzo abuse and withdrawal, like benzo belly, to get the person help. Medical detox provides a safe and comfortable way to stop abusing benzos.

What is Benzo Belly?

The term “benzo belly” describes various benzo gastrointestinal withdrawal symptoms. Benzo belly can happen to people with a prescription for benzos and people who abuse benzos.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Belly?

Benzos are a class of medications typically prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, and other issues. They come with side effects, including going through withdrawal symptoms, when used as prescribed. Benzo belly can last a couple of weeks up to more than a year.

Some symptoms of benzo belly include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite changes

Over time, constant benzo use can create a physical and psychological dependence. This is due to the chemical changes taking place in the brain and body.

Besides benzo belly, other symptoms of benzo withdrawal include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increase in irritability
  • Tremors
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Excessive sweating
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Dry heaving
  • Weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Body aches and pains

These symptoms of addiction are due to the physical dependence on the medication. According to one study, rebound anxiety can happen shortly after taking benzos if a person is psychologically dependent. Stopping benzos cold turkey can even trigger mental health issues.

The Science Behind Benzo Belly

When someone takes benzos, they affect the central nervous system (CNS), which contains the brain and spinal cord. Neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain work together, delivering messages throughout the body.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is the most common brain hormone found in the CNS. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it slows down the messages sent by neurons. Benzos enhance the binding capabilities of GABA, and can even enhance the rate at which channels open to receive GABA. As a result, the body slows down and becomes relaxed even with less GABA than it would normally take to achieve that effect.

Doctor in medical office explaining to patient over telehealth platform

How Does Benzo Belly Happen?

Think of the CNS as a complex ecosystem. When something is off balance, the ecosystem tries to balance it out. With benzos, the brain becomes accustomed to receptor blockage. But when a person stops using benzos, they start experiencing withdrawal symptoms because the body isn’t used to the lack of GABA.

Benzo belly also happens when a person has built up a tolerance to benzos and needs to take more to achieve the same effects. The brain’s reward system becomes less sensitive the more a person becomes addicted, which eventually leads to the brain not being able to function normally without the benzos. The body reacts poorly, which can lead to a benzo belly.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzos are CNS (central nervous system) depressants. They interact with the brain and slow down the body. Because benzos relax a person, they are sometimes prescribed for medical purposes. These can include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and panic attacks.

Common prescribed benzos include:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Oxazepam (Serax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)

However, benzos do more than relax a person. They relax muscles, preventing muscle spasms. Occasionally, benzos are used to ease symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. This is done with caution due to the addictiveness of benzos.

What to Expect With Benzo Withdrawal

Man relieved at hearing news from a doctor across the counter in a clinic

Most benzo withdrawal symptoms start within 24 hours of last use. Withdrawal symptoms can last a few days up to several months. The length of withdrawal symptoms depends on the length of the person’s addiction and the strength of the benzo itself.

It isn’t uncommon for withdrawal symptoms for benzo addiction to last years. Nearly 10 percent of those abusing benzos cam struggle with prolonged withdrawal symptoms years after last use.

Each benzo medication has a specific half-life, which influences how long it takes the drug to leave the body. A person dependent on benzos will start going through withdrawals once the drug leaves the body.

Short-acting benzos, like Xanax, typically leave the body in 10 to 12 hours. While long-acting benzos, like Valium, can take a few days before withdrawal symptoms begin.

Short-acting benzos are thought to be even more  potent than long-acting benzos, although this can highly depend on the person themselves. Withdrawal symptoms are similar, but short-acting benzo withdrawal is often more intense.

Phases of Benzo Withdrawal

Benzo withdrawal happens in three phases – early withdrawal, acute withdrawal, and protracted withdrawal.

Early withdrawal typically begins within a few hours to a few days after the last use. This phase can last up to a few days. During early withdrawal, anxiety symptoms may return with insomnia while the brain returns to normal.

Often, the symptoms benzo use may have been suppressing come back even stronger. Medical detox can sometimes use tapering, which can help lessen the rebound effect.

A few days after the last use, the acute withdrawal phase begins. During this phase, people feel the most withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of benzo acute withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Clouded thinking
  • Mood swings
  • Twitching
  • Weight loss
  • Cravings

Specific medications may help ease some of these symptoms. Suicidal thoughts and attempts may happen during this phase. Therapy and support can be very helpful in understanding and diffusing these emotions. Acute withdrawal can last from two weeks up to a few months.

According to a study by ABC News, around 10 percent of people experience protracted withdrawal symptoms. The protracted phase can last several months or even years after the last use.

Symptoms of protracted benzo withdrawal may include:

  • Tingling in legs and arms
  • Muscle twitches
  • Prolonged anxiety and insomnia
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

These symptoms may appear randomly with no warning. Mental health or dual diagnosis treatment can help manage symptoms during the protracted withdrawal phase.

Benzo withdrawal without medical supervision is not recommended. A medical detox program can help safely rid the body of benzos and help you find the right benzo addiction treatment program.

Benzo Belly Withdrawal Risk Factors

Every person experiences withdrawal differently. This also goes for the timeline of benzo withdrawal. Snorting or injecting benzos sends the drug straight into the bloodstream, causing an almost instant high. Swallowing a pill requires it to go through the digestive system, causing a less intense high and slowing the onset of withdrawal symptoms.

But estimations can be made depending on several factors, including:

  • How long a person has taken benzos
  • How much they take
  • The type of benzo abused
  • The method of consumption
  • Underlying mental health or medical issues
  • Polydrug abuse, or the use of multiple drugs at once (including alcohol)

A previous addiction or family history of abuse can increase a person’s chances of addiction and increase the withdrawal timeline.

Poly-Drug Benzo Abuse

People commonly abuse benzos at the same time they use other drugs or alcohol. This is called polydrug abuse, and it can influence the withdrawal timeline and severity.

Benzos (such as Xanax) and alcohol have similar effects. They both act on the same neurotransmitters. This increases the sedation and intoxication. Because alcohol and benzos are CNS depressants, combining the two increases the risk of respiratory distress, respiratory failure, coma, or death.

Relieving Benzo Belly Naturally

The only cure for benzo belly is time. How long it takes depends on various factors. Since it is a digestive withdrawal symptom, changing how you eat can help.

Eating light, nutritious meals that aren’t harsh on the belly can help. Heavy, greasy foods can upset the stomach even more. Probiotics can help the body better digest food. Fermented food such as sauerkraut or kimchi may be better than those containing probiotics, as these may upset some people’s stomachs..

Benzo Addiction Treatment at Moving Mountains Recovery

a woman holding a man's arm

Because anxiety is the main reason people take benzos, people struggling with mental health issues often self-medicate with benzos. At Moving Mountains Recovery, we offer treatment programs for co-occurring mental health and addiction.

If you feel you can’t be away from their family or responsibilities during treatment, our outpatient treatment program allows you to attend treatment during the day and be home at night, allowing you to work and take care of your family.

From detox to lasting recovery, Moving Mountains Recovery can help you build a happy and drug-free life. Contact us today to learn more.

Understanding Benzo Belly

Benzo belly is a withdrawal symptom of benzodiazepines or benzos. Trying to quit this prescription drug cold turkey may cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states over 12 percent of Americans use benzos. That is over 30 million Americans! While benzos have their place in treatment, they are very addictive. Although benzo abuse isn’t as common as other drug abuse, nearly two percent of the 30 million users, or 600,000 people, abuse benzos. Additionally, of the 30 million surveyed, 17 percent abused benzos at least once before being surveyed.

Benzo abuse can quickly turn into a substance use disorder. It’s crucial to recognize signs and symptoms of benzo abuse and withdrawal, like benzo belly, to get the person help. Medical detox provides a safe and comfortable way to stop abusing benzos.

What is Benzo Belly?

The term “benzo belly” describes various benzo gastrointestinal withdrawal symptoms. Benzo belly can happen to people with a prescription for benzos and people who abuse benzos.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Belly?

Benzos are a class of medications typically prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, and other issues. They come with side effects, including going through withdrawal symptoms, when used as prescribed. Benzo belly can last a couple of weeks up to more than a year.

Some symptoms of benzo belly include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite changes

Over time, constant benzo use can create a physical and psychological dependence. This is due to the chemical changes taking place in the brain and body.

Besides benzo belly, other symptoms of benzo withdrawal include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increase in irritability
  • Tremors
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Excessive sweating
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Dry heaving
  • Weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Body aches and pains

These symptoms of addiction are due to the physical dependence on the medication. According to one study, rebound anxiety can happen shortly after taking benzos if a person is psychologically dependent. Stopping benzos cold turkey can even trigger mental health issues.

The Science Behind Benzo Belly

When someone takes benzos, they affect the central nervous system (CNS), which contains the brain and spinal cord. Neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain work together, delivering messages throughout the body.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is the most common brain hormone found in the CNS. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it slows down the messages sent by neurons. Benzos enhance the binding capabilities of GABA, and can even enhance the rate at which channels open to receive GABA. As a result, the body slows down and becomes relaxed even with less GABA than it would normally take to achieve that effect.

Doctor in medical office explaining to patient over telehealth platform

How Does Benzo Belly Happen?

Think of the CNS as a complex ecosystem. When something is off balance, the ecosystem tries to balance it out. With benzos, the brain becomes accustomed to receptor blockage. But when a person stops using benzos, they start experiencing withdrawal symptoms because the body isn’t used to the lack of GABA.

Benzo belly also happens when a person has built up a tolerance to benzos and needs to take more to achieve the same effects. The brain’s reward system becomes less sensitive the more a person becomes addicted, which eventually leads to the brain not being able to function normally without the benzos. The body reacts poorly, which can lead to a benzo belly.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzos are CNS (central nervous system) depressants. They interact with the brain and slow down the body. Because benzos relax a person, they are sometimes prescribed for medical purposes. These can include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and panic attacks.

Common prescribed benzos include:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Oxazepam (Serax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)

However, benzos do more than relax a person. They relax muscles, preventing muscle spasms. Occasionally, benzos are used to ease symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. This is done with caution due to the addictiveness of benzos.

What to Expect With Benzo Withdrawal

Man relieved at hearing news from a doctor across the counter in a clinic

Most benzo withdrawal symptoms start within 24 hours of last use. Withdrawal symptoms can last a few days up to several months. The length of withdrawal symptoms depends on the length of the person’s addiction and the strength of the benzo itself.

It isn’t uncommon for withdrawal symptoms for benzo addiction to last years. Nearly 10 percent of those abusing benzos cam struggle with prolonged withdrawal symptoms years after last use.

Each benzo medication has a specific half-life, which influences how long it takes the drug to leave the body. A person dependent on benzos will start going through withdrawals once the drug leaves the body.

Short-acting benzos, like Xanax, typically leave the body in 10 to 12 hours. While long-acting benzos, like Valium, can take a few days before withdrawal symptoms begin.

Short-acting benzos are thought to be even more  potent than long-acting benzos, although this can highly depend on the person themselves. Withdrawal symptoms are similar, but short-acting benzo withdrawal is often more intense.

Phases of Benzo Withdrawal

Benzo withdrawal happens in three phases – early withdrawal, acute withdrawal, and protracted withdrawal.

Early withdrawal typically begins within a few hours to a few days after the last use. This phase can last up to a few days. During early withdrawal, anxiety symptoms may return with insomnia while the brain returns to normal.

Often, the symptoms benzo use may have been suppressing come back even stronger. Medical detox can sometimes use tapering, which can help lessen the rebound effect.

A few days after the last use, the acute withdrawal phase begins. During this phase, people feel the most withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of benzo acute withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Clouded thinking
  • Mood swings
  • Twitching
  • Weight loss
  • Cravings

Specific medications may help ease some of these symptoms. Suicidal thoughts and attempts may happen during this phase. Therapy and support can be very helpful in understanding and diffusing these emotions. Acute withdrawal can last from two weeks up to a few months.

According to a study by ABC News, around 10 percent of people experience protracted withdrawal symptoms. The protracted phase can last several months or even years after the last use.

Symptoms of protracted benzo withdrawal may include:

  • Tingling in legs and arms
  • Muscle twitches
  • Prolonged anxiety and insomnia
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

These symptoms may appear randomly with no warning. Mental health or dual diagnosis treatment can help manage symptoms during the protracted withdrawal phase.

Benzo withdrawal without medical supervision is not recommended. A medical detox program can help safely rid the body of benzos and help you find the right benzo addiction treatment program.

Benzo Belly Withdrawal Risk Factors

Every person experiences withdrawal differently. This also goes for the timeline of benzo withdrawal. Snorting or injecting benzos sends the drug straight into the bloodstream, causing an almost instant high. Swallowing a pill requires it to go through the digestive system, causing a less intense high and slowing the onset of withdrawal symptoms.

But estimations can be made depending on several factors, including:

  • How long a person has taken benzos
  • How much they take
  • The type of benzo abused
  • The method of consumption
  • Underlying mental health or medical issues
  • Polydrug abuse, or the use of multiple drugs at once (including alcohol)

A previous addiction or family history of abuse can increase a person’s chances of addiction and increase the withdrawal timeline.

Poly-Drug Benzo Abuse

People commonly abuse benzos at the same time they use other drugs or alcohol. This is called polydrug abuse, and it can influence the withdrawal timeline and severity.

Benzos (such as Xanax) and alcohol have similar effects. They both act on the same neurotransmitters. This increases the sedation and intoxication. Because alcohol and benzos are CNS depressants, combining the two increases the risk of respiratory distress, respiratory failure, coma, or death.

Relieving Benzo Belly Naturally

The only cure for benzo belly is time. How long it takes depends on various factors. Since it is a digestive withdrawal symptom, changing how you eat can help.

Eating light, nutritious meals that aren’t harsh on the belly can help. Heavy, greasy foods can upset the stomach even more. Probiotics can help the body better digest food. Fermented food such as sauerkraut or kimchi may be better than those containing probiotics, as these may upset some people’s stomachs..

Benzo Addiction Treatment at Moving Mountains Recovery

a woman holding a man's arm

Because anxiety is the main reason people take benzos, people struggling with mental health issues often self-medicate with benzos. At Moving Mountains Recovery, we offer treatment programs for co-occurring mental health and addiction.

If you feel you can’t be away from their family or responsibilities during treatment, our outpatient treatment program allows you to attend treatment during the day and be home at night, allowing you to work and take care of your family.

From detox to lasting recovery, Moving Mountains Recovery can help you build a happy and drug-free life. Contact us today to learn more.

Get Addiction Help Now

Call Us Now (973) 315-6121

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