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Slowly Stopping Benzodiazepines: Helpful Tips to Getting Off Your Benzodiazepine Successfully

Your benzodiazepine may not be helping as much as you think!

Many people who take benzodiazepines can get used to the medicine. This means that the benzodiazepine is not helping and when a dose is skipped or lowered, anxiety and sleep problems can get worse. Some people have a hard time coming off these medicines. Your healthcare provider will work with you to help with the tapering process.

Illustration of cycle of dependence

Possible risks of benzodiazepines:

  • Memory problems

  • Mood problems

  • Feeling tired or drowsy

  • Falls and accidents

  • Overdose or addiction

How will you feel while reducing or stopping your benzodiazepine?

You may have more anxiety or insomnia or other withdrawal symptoms when you first start. These only last for a short period of time. Not everyone will get these symptoms. By working with your healthcare provider to slowly lower your benzodiazepine, withdrawal symptoms can be less. 

Possible signs of benzodiazepine withdrawal

Common Symptoms

  • Trouble sleeping/ nightmares

  • Anxiety/irritability

  • Changes in mood

  • Muscle stiffness

  • Flu like symptoms

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Stomach upset

Less Common Symptoms

  • A strange feeling that you aren’t really in your body

  • Memory problems/Trouble thinking on your feet

Rare Symptoms

  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there

  • Seizures

Timeline of withdrawal

Timeline of withdrawal

Helpful tips to getting off your benzodiazepine successfully

Know that withdrawal is only temporary – these feelings will go away

  • Work closely with your healthcare provider and report symptoms of withdrawal

  • Stopping benzodiazepines may improve sleep and anxiety. If your sleep or anxiety remain a problem, ask your healthcare provider or mental health clinician for help

  • Ask for support from friends and family

  • Wellness – meditation, prayer, exercise

  • Sit in a quiet place with eyes closed and focus on breathing air in and out

  • Use good sleep habits

  • Avoid large amounts of caffeine

**Do not stop taking any medicines without first speaking to your healthcare provider.**

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 6/1/2018
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