Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

The typical treatment process for someone with a benzodiazepine (benzo) addiction includes an evaluation by a medical professional, a personalized regimen to taper off benzos, medical detox, and the creation of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan that addresses the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction.

Trying to overcome a benzodiazepine addiction on your own, without appropriate treatment, is dangerous and can be life-threatening. Thankfully, there are many beneficial treatment options readily available.

What Is The Benzo Addiction Treatment Process?

The first step in seeking treatment for your benzodiazepine addiction is to contact an addiction treatment program. The staff will meet with you to discuss your situation, focusing on elements like:

  • The severity of your addiction
  • Your history with addiction
  • Your risk of withdrawal
  • Your current support system

Based on your answers, they will determine your level of care, create your treatment plan, and introduce you to your treatment team.

Once you enter treatment, you will begin to taper off of benzodiazepines under medical supervision. You may undergo detoxification depending on the severity of dependence, and if any other substances, like alcohol or opioids, were also being abused. Once detox is completed, if necessary, you will enter into formalized addiction treatment and undergo a combination of psychotherapy approaches to identify and work through the underlying triggers associated with your addiction.

Types Of Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatments

There are different levels of care associated with benzodiazepine addiction treatment that range from inpatient treatment, which is the highest level of care, to outpatient treatment, which is the lowest level of care.

Levels of care recommended for benzodiazepine addiction include:

Continuing care, aftercare, or alumni services often refer to informal treatment after you complete your formal treatment, where you meet with recovery support groups or gather in addiction recovery communities on a weekly or monthly basis. Regardless of your level of care, you will receive comprehensive treatment from a team of professionals that addresses all of your needs for the most successful recovery.


Often, benzodiazepine addiction treatment focuses on multiple psychotherapy approaches that help teach healthy coping skills to manage these triggers and control urges and cravings to prevent future relapse. These forms of therapy can be practiced in both individual and group settings.

The overall goals of psychotherapy are to:

  • Help you learn techniques to prevent relapse.
  • Teach you healthy ways of coping with thoughts, feelings, and stress.

  • Improve communication skills.
  • Improve family dynamics and relationships.

Psychotherapy techniques used in benzo treatment include:

How Long Is Benzodiazepine Treatment?

Formalized addiction treatment, on average, is one to three months but can last up to six months or one year. For example, a typical inpatient level of care ranges from 30 days to six months, and a typical outpatient care program can range from three months to six months.

Continuing care can last up to one year or more, while aftercare, where you attend community support groups and recovery meetings, can be a year or throughout the rest of your lifelong recovery journey.

For benzodiazepine treatment, the length of stay is determined by several individual factors including the type of benzodiazepines being used, the dosage, and length of misuse. For example, if someone is taking multiple kinds of benzodiazepines or has been taking them for a long time (greater than 6 months), they will require a longer length of stay. Other factors determining length of stay include the presence of co-occurring mental health disorders, polydrug use, and previous history of addiction treatment or benzodiazepine withdrawal. For example, if an individual has a previous history of benzodiazepine withdrawal, is dealing with unresolved past trauma, and does not have a healthy support system at home, they may require a longer stay.

On the other hand, if this is someone’s first time struggling with benzodiazepine dependence, they do not have environmental triggers that can jeopardize their recovery, and have a strong support system at home, they may only require 30 days of treatment. Treatment length is based on the individual’s situation; therefore there is no “hard rule” when it comes to the length of benzodiazepine treatment.

Once you enter treatment, you will most likely undergo detoxification with medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which for benzodiazepine addiction, means a “benzo taper”.

Benzodiazepine Tapers

Since benzodiazepine withdrawal can lead to life-threatening seizures, many individuals who have a dependence or an addiction will undergo a benzodiazepine taper, meaning benzodiazepines will be given and slowly reduced (tapered) overtime until the person is no longer at risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Taper schedules depend on many factors. These include age, the specific type of benzo used, dosage and length of benzodiazepine use, and the person’s support system and environmental stressors. When undergoing a benzodiazepine taper, it is recommended to also undergo psychotherapy so you can learn healthy coping skills to deal with urges and cravings during this process.

In general, anyone who has been taking benzodiazepines (either by prescription or misusing them) for longer than one month should undergo a taper if they are:

  • Older than 65 years of age
  • Taking multiple benzodiazepines
  • Taking other substances in addition to benzodiazepines (alcohol, opioids, etc.)
  • Taking more than the prescribed dosage of benzodiazepines
  • Have a co-occurring mental health disorder
  • Have a history of substance abuse

A benzodiazepine taper usually lasts eight weeks to four months but can be as long as a year, with outpatient treatment settings requiring more time compared to inpatient treatment.

There are two main ways to taper: the same benzodiazepine can be used for tapering or you may switch to a longer-acting equivalent (such a Librium or diazepam). You start with a standard dose and decrease over time. In general, the initial dosage reductions range between 5-25% with further reductions every one to four weeks as tolerated.

A rough taper schedule example is as follows:

  • An initial 40 mg diazepam daily can be reduced at first by 2-4 mg every 1-2 weeks.
  • When the daily dose reaches 20 mg, reductions could be 1-2 mg every 1-2 weeks.
  • When the daily dose reaches 10 mg, 1 mg reductions are probably indicated.
  • From 5 mg diazepam daily, 0.5 mg reductions every 1-2 weeks may be preferred.

Once you are no longer at risk for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms (around week 2 of treatment), you will undergo a combination of psychotherapy approaches so you can learn healthy coping skills to help you through urges and potential suicidal tendencies during this acute withdrawal period. Treating underlying triggers and trauma usually begins after the individual is no longer showing signs of acute withdrawal. It is important to address any unresolved trauma, hidden triggers, or personal struggles that may have contributed to the benzodiazepine addiction. This is usually done through a variety of individualized and group therapy sessions using a variety of psychotherapy approaches.

Aftercare services such as alumni groups, recovery meetings and community support groups are highly encouraged for long-term recovery.

Can I Taper Off Benzodiazepines At Home?

Due to the complicated nature of a tapering schedule, a licensed healthcare professional should oversee and prescribe the taper. Therefore, an individual cannot do this at home without supervision from a medical professional. When tapering is done in an outpatient setting, a healthcare professional still prescribes the taper and monitors carefully.

Not tapering or going “cold turkey” is generally not recommended for benzodiazepine dependence or addiction because the person is at risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. As a result, nearly everyone in treatment for benzodiazepine addiction will undergo some sort of taper regimen.

What Are The Benefits Of Seeking Treatment For Benzo Addiction?

  • Decreased risk of dangerous and life-threatening withdrawals
  • Reduced risk of relapse
  • Learn healthy coping skills to navigate future urges and cravings
  • Join a support network of individuals in recovery

Featured Centers Offering Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

Is Rehab Always Necessary For A Benzo Addiction?

Quitting benzodiazepines “cold turkey” is dangerous and life-threatening. Because of these dangers, it is highly recommended to undergo detoxification from benzos within a formal treatment program.

Find Treatment For Benzodiazepine Addiction

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with benzodiazepine misuse or addiction, it is time to seek treatment from a professional addiction specialist.

Seeking help for yourself or a loved one suffering from a benzodiazepine addiction can make a difference that lasts a lifetime. Contact a treatment provider today to learn more about treatment opportunities and payment options.