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Estazolam Withdrawal

Estazolam is a prescription medication that can cause dependence and withdrawal when it’s used for too long or abused as a recreational drug. High doses or long-term use can cause your body to adapt to the drug, leading to chemical dependence. If you stop using it suddenly, it can cause intense withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening in some cases. 

Estazolam is a central nervous system depressant, which is one of the few drug categories that can be deadly during withdrawal. Seizures and a condition called delirium tremens are the most dangerous symptoms caused by depressant withdrawal.

Estazolam is a benzodiazepine, which is a class of drugs that are commonly used to treat insomnia or anxiety disorders. They are milder than other depressants like barbiturates or alcohol, but they can still be dangerous during withdrawal. Estazolam withdrawal may be particularly dangerous if you’ve gone through depressant withdrawal before. A phenomenon called kindling can increase your risk of experiencing severe symptoms. 

What Are Estazolam Withdrawal Symptoms?

Estazolam works of a chemical messenger in the brain called GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid. GABA is used by your nervous system to regulate excitability. Taking a drug like estazolam increases GABA’s effectiveness when it binds to its receptor. 

Once your body adapts to the drug, it may cause your body to increase the release of excitatory effects to counteract the drug. When you stop taking it, your nervous system may become overactive, leading to uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms. Symptoms can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Shaky hands
  • Tremors
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Confusion
  • Hallucination
  • Seizures
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Hypoventilation
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

What Are the Stages of Estazolam Withdrawal Timeline?

  • 24 hours: Estazolam has a half-life of 19 hours. Within that time frame, it will be reduced to half of its original concentration in your blood. Its effects typically wear off after a day. You may begin to feel your first withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of your last dose. People that are used to a high dose may feel symptoms sooner.
  • 3 days: As you get further from your last dose, symptoms will worsen until they peak. Peak symptoms are the most intense part of your acute withdrawal phase and may be dangerous to attempt to manage without medical help. Seizures may occur during this time.
  • 2 weeks: Once your symptoms peak, the most intense symptoms will start to subside, starting with physical symptoms. Psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and drug cravings usually last longer than acute withdrawal.
  • 1 month: If symptoms such as anxiety or cravings continue to linger, you may need to address them in treatment. Addiction treatment can teach you coping mechanisms to avoid relapse during powerful cravings.

Why Should I Detox?

Your specific medical needs and history with estazolam will help determine if medical detox is the next step for you. When you seek medical advice or addiction treatment, you’ll go through an evaluation to determine your need for detox. However, depressants like estazolam are the most common category to cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms. If you think you might be dependent on estazolam or another depressant, seek medical attention before quitting cold turkey.

Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

Ogbru, A. (2018, February 6). Benzodiazepines Drug Class: Side Effects, Types & Uses. Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/benzodiazepines/drug-class.htm

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2004, September 16). gamma-Aminobutyric acid. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/gamma-Aminobutyric-acid

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017, November 15). Estazolam: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a691003.html

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019, November 6). Delirium tremens: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000766.htm

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