Benzodiazepines are a controversial class of drugs. On the one hand, they have therapeutic benefits. Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, panic disorders and conditions like PTSD and the painful physical and psychological symptoms that follow discontinuance of alcohol. Benzos produce a calming effect on the brain, and they can be a good short-term solution. However, short-term is the key phrase. Benzodiazepines have misuse potential, and they can also lead to physical reliance. Serax (oxazepam) is a benzodiazepine. It has a long onset of action and is specifically prescribed to help people who have trouble staying asleep, rather than falling asleep. Serax is also prescribed to treat anxiety related to depression. Off-label uses include treating social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and premenstrual syndrome. Common side effects of Serax are similar to other benzodiazepines, such as drowsiness, headache and memory impairment.
All benzodiazepines, including Serax, affect specific receptors in the brain. Namely, they affect GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for calming neural activity. When someone has a GABA deficiency, it can cause anxiety, insomnia, and other similar conditions. Serax enhances the effects of GABA and makes it more available. All benzos have a tranquilizing and depressing effect on the central nervous system. Anytime a substance is influencing the brain and the central nervous system, there is the potential for tolerance to occur.
Tolerance refers to the need to take higher doses of a medication or drug to get the same effect. People can develop a tolerance for benzos relatively quickly. This is why these medications shouldn’t be used for more than a few weeks. Once someone has a Serax tolerance, they’re also likely to have a physical reliance.
Physical reliance is a different scenario than psychological disease. Psychological disease is a brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and misuse. Reliance is a physical condition. The brain and body become used to the presence of Serax, especially if it’s used for more than a few weeks. The brain may stop producing as much of its own GABA, and repeated exposure to a substance can change brain pathways. Along with the length of time a drug is taken, the higher the doses, the more likely someone will be reliant. The risk of physical reliance is why doctors will usually put patients on the lowest effective dose of Serax. Doctors will also often have patients taper off the drug, rather than stopping suddenly
When someone is reliant on a benzo like Serax, and they stop misusing it suddenly, they will likely experience painful physical and psychological symptoms. Benzodiazepine discontinuance symptoms are some of the most difficult and severe of any drug class. For long-term, heavy benzo users, painful physical and psychological symptoms can last months or even longer. Since Serax is a longer-acting benzo than something like Xanax, discontinuance symptoms also seem to last longer. Common Serax discontinuance symptoms that are also seen with other benzos include:
- Sensory sensitivity;
- Memory impairment;
- Muscle twitching and pain;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Panic attacks;
- Irritability and tension;
- Concentration and cognitive problems;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Weight loss; and
In severe cases, benzodiazepine discontinuance can have very dangerous or deadly symptoms such as hallucinations, psychosis or seizures. When discussing benzodiazepine and Serax discontinuance, long-term use is defined as having used these drugs daily for at least three months. Many Serax and benzo discontinuance symptoms are described as rebound side effects. This means the symptoms the drug was used to treat can occur and be even more severe than they were previously, such as insomnia and anxiety. Benzodiazepine discontinuance is considered more severe in many cases even than opioid discontinuance. Also, important to note is that benzo discontinuance symptoms can be delayed, especially with a drug like Serax. It can take weeks for discontinuance symptoms to occur, as opposed to hours with other drug classes.
Safe Serax Detox
It’s recommended that anyone who is reliant on Serax or other benzodiazepines go through abstention from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances in a professional facility. Serax abstention can be uncomfortable, and it’s often a big deterrent to people stopping their use of this drug. Benzo discontinuance can also be deadly. At a professional, medical abstention facility there is a focus on knowing how people react to benzo abstention and how symptoms can be managed or mitigated. A professional Serax abstention also offers a variety of alternative treatment options that increase the chances of a successful abstention period.
For anyone struggling with reliance or psychological disease, whether to a benzodiazepine or another substance, please contact The Recovery Village. We’re happy just to listen or answer questions you may have about Psychological disease, abstaining from or ridding the body of toxic or unhealthy substances, and treatment.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.