Benzo belly is a little-known symptom that causes extreme discomfort and issues for recovering individuals. To address this, Transcend Recovery Community has all you need to arm yourself with knowledge should you encounter this in the future. Read on to know more.
What is Benzo Belly?
As scientists weigh the risks versus benefits of benzos, some individuals are compelled to stop taking the medication. When someone decides to stop taking their anxiety medications, our body adjusts by manifesting physically.
In the case of "Benzo Belly," it's the term used for gastrointestinal discomfort felt by people when they start benzodiazepine withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms may target various areas of the body. But most commonly, people feel the acute withdrawal symptoms in their stomach/abdomen area.
Examples of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines come in different formulations and brands in the market. These prescription medications are used to treat anxiety similar to certain anxiety medications. Some of the samples available are the following:
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
- Diazepam (Valium)
Apart from anxiety-related medication, it's also used for the following:
- General anesthesia
- Panic attacks
While considered safe, especially when prescribed and used in moderation/properly, these drugs are considered to be addictive substances. With constant use, you may feel certain side effects. Here are just some of them:
- Unsteadiness/loss of balance
- Memory impairment
What Are Common Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms?
As with any drug addiction case, withdrawal symptoms may be apparent, especially in the first few hours up to the first week of withdrawal. They may range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of someone's withdrawal symptoms. Most of the time, they're manageable on their own without the need for any additional medication or treatment options under a medical detox program.
Here are some of the common symptoms of Benzo withdrawal:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Elevated blood pressure
- Muscular tension, spasms, and cramps
- Chest pain
If these symptoms of benzo withdrawal become a recurring problem for an individual, there may be a tendency to develop rebound anxiety. It could only be avoided if the patient works closely with a licensed rehabilitation specialist and addiction treatment facility to find the right way to withdraw without going full "cold turkey."
Sometimes, gradual withdrawal works best for people to better control any issues with benzodiazepine withdrawal, and to avoid the presence of other symptoms too.
How Does One Get Benzo Belly?
As Benzo may sometimes cause severe discomfort when an individual is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, there's a little-known withdrawal symptom referred to as the "Benzo Belly" that directly affects the gastrointestinal tract or your gut health.
You can get Benzo belly from acute withdrawal from your drug abuse, or when you have not prepared properly before you have even begun your benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Others theorize about the gut-brain connection. The idea explores the possibility that there's a direct connection between the stomach, GI tract/gastrointestinal tract, and the brain. As the brain handles many things simultaneously due to one's withdrawal from their drug addiction, the nerves that control gut function are affected.
What are the Symptoms of Benzo Belly?
As your GI tract is sensitive, "Benzo belly" symptoms may differ for everyone. Some people may experience worse symptoms of Benzo belly compared to others. There are times that other people may be very lucky and not feel anything at all.
Here are some of the Benzo Belly symptoms:
- Abdominal Pain
- Appetite Changes
- Stomach pain
- Lower abdominal pain
People who take prescribed benzos must talk to their physicians about discontinuing use, whether it's used for general anxiety, seizure disorders, or panic attacks. Meanwhile, individuals with physical dependence or substance abuse issues should contact a medical professional on how to better address this health concern right away.
How Long Does Benzo Belly Last?
Benzo withdrawal symptoms usually occur between 5 to 19 days. However, this may vary individually depending on many factors and how someone can withstand the effects of withdrawal during the benzo detox process.
In the case of the symptoms of "Benzo belly," this may take months and even more. Since the condition worsens when you eat or drink, this may be triggered even by other symptoms, such as eating certain foods or drinks.
What you can do is understand your condition by talking to a professional. They will diagnose and recommend better solutions to avoid stomach discomfort.
Also, remember that you are in control of your body and understand it better than anyone else. If you think that something's off—even at the very slightest—it's best to talk to a trained specialist about your concerns.
How Do You Recover from Benzo Belly?
There are certain ways to combat "Benzo belly." These easy steps will avoid many trips to the toilet or that feeling of uneasiness caused by a bloated stomach. Check out some of these below:
- Eat smaller meals - While most of the symptoms are not caused by overeating, it's best to keep things in controlled portions so as not to overwhelm your system.
- Stay away from certain foods - Avoid fatty, oily, creamy, or acidic foods that may upset your stomach.
- Try incorporating probiotics into your diet - Introducing probiotic foods (i.e. fermented foods) into your regular meals help promote healthy gut bacteria.
People who are undergoing inpatient/outpatient treatment for their substance abuse should follow these to help them become successful and achieve long-term recovery without much hassle.
They can also complement this by availing either women's or men's sober living arrangements as these places can keep track of their meals and any particular nutritional/dietary concerns as part of maintaining a healthy gut if they ever experience a benzo belly.
Can Transcend Recovery Community Help?
Benzo belly may burden people who already have rehabilitation on top of their worries. In these cases, Transcend Recovery Community can help by introducing other alternatives in mental health support such as sober living opportunities.
Through a supportive residential community, you don't need to feel alone in facing all of your recovery struggles as you get support and encouragement from people who understand what you're going through. Our locations in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York ensure that you can stay connected and get help anywhere you are, especially if you're near these areas.
Contact us today and let our recovery specialist discuss in more detail what we can do to provide treatment placement tailored to your benzo belly problems.