Answering the question, "How long do benzos stay in your system?", Transcend Recovery Community has curated all the information you may need from identifying signs and symptoms of benzo use to withdrawal signs, and even the appropriate addiction treatment to educate people who need help. Read on to find out more.
How Long Does Benzodiazepines Last in the Body and by Type of Drug Tests?
Drug testing is the best way to detect benzos within a person's system. Mandatory drug tests help companies and schools identify whether an employee or student is under the influence. A drug screen also helps people who wish to undergo rehabilitation to detect traces of the substance in their body.
Benzodiazepines in Urine Tests
Unlike other drugs, a urine test may show for how long benzos stay in the system leading to 10 days.
Benzodiazepines in Hair Follicle Tests
A hair detection test is the most accurate when it comes to tracing benzo in the hair follicle. You can see if benzos stay in your hair strand for up to 90 days.
Benzodiazepines in Saliva Tests
A saliva drug test fares comparably better compared to blood testing. An oral fluid may contain traces of benzo for up to two days.
Benzodiazepines Detection in Blood Tests
Blood tests arguably have the shortest detection time for benzos. Compared to a urine or saliva drug test or even hair tests, benzos can only be detected in blood tests for up to 24 hours—a stark difference from an oral fluid taken as a sample.
What are Benzodiazepines (Benzos)?
Benzodiazepines or benzos are drugs that are administered in treating various health conditions. It's often used by medical practitioners for people to treat anxiety, insomnia, and even seizures.
While it is deemed safe for use in short-term use, many journals have surveyed the impact of long-term Benzodiazepine use which may lead to substance dependence, tolerance, and serious side effects. Studies link Benzodiazepines to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Similar to morphine, benzos are also part of the Controlled Substances Act and are classified as Schedule IV drugs. Benzodiazepines affect the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain and spinal cord which produce tranquilizing and anti-anxiety effects of the chemical.
Its side effects range from mild to serious including:
- Blurry eyesight
- Speech slurring
- Difficulty in breathing
Benzodiazepines' half-lives range from an hour with the longest being 40 to 250 hours, depending on the strength and dosage of the drug.
Determining Factors on How Long Benzodiazepines Stays in Your System
Checking the presence of controlled substances in a person's system is common practice, especially in the workplace or school setting. However, when substance abuse is imminent in a person while also using other drugs in the equation, drugs may stay longer in one's body.
Many factors influence when it comes to "how long do benzos stay in your system." It can be the type of drugs, the amount and frequency in which these drugs are used, along with many other variables that dictate how benzodiazepines stay or linger in your body.
You must also remember that other drugs stay in one's system and may interact differently compared to others. Meantime, let's look at the common determining factors you'll find.
- Co-occurring disorders - It can be a combination of two substance abuse issues ( an example would be ketamine abuse combined with alcoholism). When someone suffers from 2 or more disorders, they will understandably have a longer time processing drugs in their body.
- Benzodiazepine drug's half-life - this may vary as short-acting benzos may have a half-life of 1 to 12 hours, while intermediate-acting benzodiazepines have a longer half-life totaling about 12 to 40 hours.
- Kidney and liver health - poor functioning organs, especially vital organs like your kidney and liver will dictate how quickly you can process even the common drugs in your system.
- Pre-existing co-morbidities - individuals suffering from autoimmune illnesses and life-long conditions may find metabolizing drugs a challenge, compared to relatively healthier people.
- Body mass - physically heavier people are known to metabolize most drugs slower than lighter people.
It should be noted that while there are other factors to be considered as well, these should be raised carefully to an individual's attending physician to better address these concerns.
What Happens When You Stop Taking Benzodiazepines?
People who have been engaging in substance abuse with benzos will eventually develop tolerance through their constant use of the substance. However, as soon as someone ceases their dependence on the drug, their body starts to feel physical manifestations of withdrawal as a result of their substance abuse.
Whether they are recreational or prescription users, enduring painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms are hard. That's why some people immediately fall through their treatment plan and go into relapse.
But the truth is withdrawal is part of the treatment process, therefore there's no other way to go about it but to stop usage altogether. Here are the most common symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal.
- panic attacks
- muscular pain
- trembling hands
- intense drug cravings
- cardiovascular palpitations
- Excessive sweating
- Problems with concentration
- Altered perception
More serious withdrawal signs include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Psychotic episodes
While most people may experience mild withdrawal symptoms, it's still important to inform the attending recovery specialist when these manifest, to adjust patients' treatment and after-care programs efficiently.
About Benzodiazepines Misuse and Addiction Treatment
Many things may contribute to one's addiction problem with benzodiazepines. However, most of these factors always gravitate to a deeper and more personal level. Perhaps, it can be someone's trauma that influenced them to fall deeper into drug abuse.
But more importantly, identifying if someone is under the influence of drugs or is constantly engaging in drug abuse is harder to do. You must look closely into warning signs pointing towards someone who has a suspected drug addiction problem. Here are some examples:
- Sudden behavioral changes - when someone shifts their behavior and becomes noticeably different (i.e. being more secretive, having fights with their friends/partner/family members, no longer engaging in their usual routine of activities)
- Performance issues at the workplace or in school - performing poorly in one's academics or job without any substantial reason, or seeing a sharp drop in one's grades or productivity.
- Change in sleeping habits - they either are wide awake in the evening or are dozing off in the middle of the day with no viable reason and operate in these "off-peak" hours.
- Overall appearance - when they start to neglect hygiene and become noticeably unkempt, variances in their weight may also be another cause of concern.
While drug abuse may be a constant worry, the good thing is that there are still ways for individuals to turn their drug addiction problem around. There are many treatments provided by accredited treatment centers by the Drug Enforcement Administration to help them achieve this goal. Here are a few of them:
- Behavioral Therapies - These are one of the most used treatment programs offered to people with an addiction problem. Recovery specialists often consider other factors and identify triggers helping people better understand their relationship with their addiction.
- Outpatient/Inpatient treatment - This program may last for as early as 3 months or get extended for years depending on the individual's progress. Most often, they may seek the companionship of sober escorts especially when they transition post-treatment.
- Alternative therapies - Music, art, and equine therapy or introduced as alternative means of helping individuals cope with their addiction better. Treatment facilities may employ a holistic approach to people's treatments.
How To Get Help from Benzodiazepines Addiction?
Sometimes, getting help may feel overwhelming, especially if you don't know where to start. But with our help, you can get a leg up on achieving long-term sobriety.
Starting with an initial interview and thorough diagnosis by our mental health experts, we'll then move to find the appropriate treatment program suited to your specific needs and situation.
Not all hope is lost. You may contact us right away to get you started on your or your loved one's recovery journey.