Benzodiazepines and alcohol are both part of a family of drugs that work as a central nervous system depressant. On its own, a benzodiazepine can affect perception, mood patterns and behavior and is oftentimes used in treating muscle cramps, sleep disorders, as a seizure preventative and to treat anxiety disorders.
Benzodiazepines are also used in alcohol detoxification and they can be used in benzo detox in a tapering off method. However, taking benzos with alcohol, especially excessively and routinely can lead to a host of dangerous side effects and can be fatal.
Taking benzodiazepines with alcohol can decrease brain activity as well as hinder brain to body communication. The combination of benzos and alcohol can cause impaired physical coordination and control as well as impaired mental alertness.
Some of the side effects from taking benzos and alcohol are anxiety and irritability, diarrhea, slurred speech, loss of consciousness, dizziness and drowsiness, hostility, balance problems, nightmares and memory loss. There can be additional respiratory and cardiovascular side effects including a slowed heart rate and slowed breathing.
If the individual has a loss consciousness and a decrease in breathing, the individual could suffer respiratory failure. Some individuals experience a loss of consciousness that has lasted for several days. Benzodiazepine users who inject the drug can cause severe vein damage which has been known to create poor blood circulation in the arms and legs, sometimes requiring amputation.
Some individuals may seek assistance through a 12 step program. 12 step programs promote the false idea that alcohol and drug use is a genetic disease that has no cure. 12 step programs teach that the only treatment is belief in a higher power, abstinence and meetings for the rest of your life. They also believe that you will fail in your attempt to abstain and relapse is a certainty.
Excessive use of benzodiazepines and alcohol can lead to dependency issues that may or may not require detox. If you do need detox, most doctors recommend IV therapy medical detox. IV therapy medical detox is supervised by a physician. Intravenous therapy is preferred because it allows the physician to adjust the medication protocol as needed to effectively alleviate or reduce the withdrawal symptoms thereby ensuring patient comfort.
Withdrawal symptoms can be psychological, physical and uncomfortable and may include depression, mood swings, chest pains, aggression, despair, panic attacks and possible suicidal thoughts. Being able to control the withdrawal symptoms will keep the patient comfortable and allow them to complete the detox process. Studies show that individuals who are successful in completing the detox process are more likely to be successful in their sobriety than individuals who are not able to successfully complete detox.
Once you have completed detox it may be necessary for you to enter a program that can help you rebuild your life. St. Jude Retreats offers a cognitive behavioral program that teaches guests to self evaluate their thoughts, choices and behaviors so they can accurately identify areas in their life they would like to change. This allows them to change well entrenched habitual thoughts and behaviors and replace them with those that are more in line with their goals. Guests learn that they can develop habits and behaviors that are positive and enriching to their life thus increasing their self confidence and self esteem. Our guests are empowered to have a life that is permanently free from alcohol and benzodiazepine use.