“How long does Benzo Flu last”, can vary, but will typically last about 5-14 days. Also known as Benzo withdrawal fatigue, the “Benzo Flu” is a common symptom of Benzo withdrawal, and can be treated with medication in a professional medical setting to help alleviate symptoms.
Other than fatigue, symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal can include nausea, irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, and more. In some cases, benzo withdrawal symptoms can become dangerous, causing more serious side effects and even death in some cases.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal fatigue is a symptom of a bigger picture of overall withdrawal side effects and should be treated in a professional detox center or hospital to avoid unwanted complications.
What Is Benzo Flu?
If you’ve heard of Benzo Flu but haven’t experienced it yourself, you may be wondering, “what is Benzo Flu?”.
Benzo Flu is a colloquial term used to describe the flu-like symptoms that people experience when they are coming down from benzodiazepine dependence or addiction. Because the body gets used to the drug being present with long-term use, withdrawal symptoms can occur that result from a person’s body readjusting to having to operate without the drug.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome is the more formal term used to describe Benzo Flu, and can be treated by medical professionals in a benzo detox treatment center. While the severity and duration of Benzo Flu can vary depending on the person and their individual drug use, medical history, etc., many treatment centers use medication to help alleviate Benzo Flu symptoms.
Benzo Flu Symptoms
Benzo Flu symptoms, while they last, can be an uncomfortable part of breaking dependence or addiction to benzodiazepines. Treatment programs often provide medication-assisted treatment for benzo withdrawal symptoms, which can help to alleviate them.
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Irritability & mood swings
- Cold sweats
- Increased heart rate & blood pressure
- Muscle tension & stiffness
- Tremors or shaking hands
- Nausea & vomiting
- & more
The Benzo Flu is essentially a cluster of symptoms that seem like the flu but are in fact a withdrawal from the drug. For many people, they don’t experience a whole plethora of withdrawal symptoms, for others, withdrawal can be intense. However, many experience what is known as “benzo flu.”
While Benzo Flu symptoms have a different intensity for all, regardless of its symptoms including those that are associated with the flu. People have reported body aches, fever, sore throat, and coughing. The reason why benzodiazepines produce this “flu” response is unknown. It can begin immediately after stopping use or it can begin a few days after cessation.
Generally, Benzo Flu begins immediately after cessation and lasts up to 5 days. In some more severe cases, “Benzo Flu” symptoms can last up to 4 weeks, along with withdrawals.
Side Effects of Benzodiazepines Withdrawal
Unlike other over-the-counter medications or more natural remedies for anxiety, benzodiazepines are highly addictive. When a person stops benzodiazepines, they are very likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. The two most common side effects are the “Benzo Flu” and “Benzo withdrawal syndrome.”
The “benzo flu” mimics flu symptoms, as explained above, and widely affects those who take or have taken benzos. Benzo withdrawal syndrome is a bit different and more intense. Benzo withdrawal syndrome is dependent upon a handful of factors. These factors include:
- Type of drug used/abused
- Amount of time taking benzodiazepines
- Underlying medical or mental health issues
- Abuse of other drugs/alcohol
If a person takes a large dose or has abused the benzo for many years, it is likely their withdrawal will be worse and more intense. The longer the exposure, abuse usually the more intense the withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepines include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Anxiety & panic attacks
- Increased tension
- Heart palpitations
- Muscular pain
The most common of these symptoms are anxiety and insomnia. Usually, these symptoms begin 1 – 4 days after cessation and last about the same amount of time. If a person is experiencing Benzo withdrawal syndrome, their withdrawal will usually last 10-14 days. It’s recommended that individuals experience withdrawals in a detox facility for their safety, rather than try for a risky at-home detox.
There has not been a significant amount of evidence showing a large difference between individual types of benzodiazepines. For example, Xanax doesn’t have very different withdrawal symptoms from Valium, per se. However, the use of other substances such as alcohol or other illicit drugs does increase the propensity and intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment for Benzo Flu & Benzo Addiction
Benzos affect the CNS (the central nervous system), which is why they produce a calming effect. The person immediately feels “slowed” and or more relaxed. Therefore, when a person stops taking them, they are often confronted with many feelings, and an overwhelming sense of anxiety.
Benzos are depressants, and therefore, slow all body functions including walking, speaking, alertness, concentration, memory, and coordination. When a person is going through withdrawals, they may feel disoriented and “off” as mentally and physically their body cannot keep up with the stimulation that’s being experienced. In rare cases, withdrawals can be misdiagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis, as people can have “jelly leg” symptoms.
Unfortunately, the best medication to alleviate benzo withdrawal fatigue is a benzo itself. Anti-depressants such as Zoloft can aid in a person’s anxiety and mood regulation. Magnesium has been widely used as a calming natural remedy. Overall, the best way to get over benzo withdrawal is to remember that it will not last forever. Breathwork, supplemental medications, natural remedies, yoga, and therapy can help ease one’s withdrawal symptoms as well.
Get Support for Benzo Addiction at Renaissance Recovery
If you are dealing with an addiction problem and need help from a benzodiazepine rehab program, our team at Renaissance Recovery is here to help.
At Renaissance Recovery we believe in an individualized approach to each of our clients. We understand that everyone’s journey is different, and know how to make your experience of recovery the most healing it can be.
Renaissance Recovery provides access to all types of effective, evidence-based treatments from talk therapy, to medication-assisted treatment, to helping you make connections in the community as you create a new life. No matter what substance you or your loved one are struggling with, we are here to help guide you along your journey with compassion and effective care.