Benzo Belly: Managing Gastrointestinal Distress During Withdrawal

Legacy Healing Center Blog

Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are a class of depressant drugs that are used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. While highly effective, substances like Xanax and Valium are infamous for their potential for abuse and addiction. Although typically a result of the development of tolerance, another impactful factor is the severity of withdrawals that can take place when a person ceases their substance abuse. The risk of seizures and suicidal thoughts makes this process risky to attempt on one’s own, but there is another lesser-known symptom that is worth considering. Legacy Healing is exploring the benzo belly and how these symptoms can be harder to shake.


What Is Benzo Belly?

The phrase benzo belly is used to describe the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal. 

Benzo belly ranges in severity and can include:

  • Constipation
  • Water retention
  • Diarrhea
  • Intense abdominal pain
  • Appetite changes

What is important to consider is that even in the cases where benzodiazepine use was prescribed by a doctor, using it for more than four weeks can lead to serious physical and mental issues. Evidence indicates that the drugs are not effective at this point, and proceeding with the use of them will likely result in an addiction. If someone is taking drugs like Klonopin or Librium without a doctor’s prescription, the lack of medical regulation and guidance makes that risk even more intense. If you are struggling with such a dependency, Legacy Healing offers treatment for benzo addiction that can help you get your life back on track.


How Long Does Benzo Belly Last?

The answer to the question of how long these symptoms last ultimately depends on the physical faculties of each individual user. While some people will only experience symptoms for a few weeks, others have reported their sensations to last from nine months to over a year after acute withdrawal has concluded. For reference, acute withdrawal refers to the initial period after stopping substance abuse when physical symptoms present themselves.

The persistence of these symptoms is perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of the benzo recovery process. What is important to remember is that there are resources in place to aid individuals struggling with such sensations to find relief. There are also things a person can do for themselves that may be able to lessen the severity of their withdrawal. 


How to Ease Benzo Withdrawal

The first and most important factor to consider is pursuing professional benzo withdrawal treatment, like that found at Legacy Healing Center. Benzo belly aside, the other possible symptoms from benzo withdrawal present a great deal of risk to the person experiencing them. Attempting to manage them on one’s own can be dangerous and even life-threatening at times. This is why professional detox is so important.

Regarding gastrointestinal symptoms that are more troublesome than unsafe, there are steps you can take to relieve their severity:

  • Eat smaller meals: Limit heavier foods and portion out meals so that you do not put too much stress on your GI tracts.
  • Avoid inflammatory foods: Acidic and spicy foods can be hard on the stomach.
  • Use probiotics: It is believed that these supplements can replenish the bacteria found in the gut. You can take them as a pill, and they can also be found in a number of fermented foods and drinks, like kombucha tea or kimchi.
  • Speak with a medical professional: If symptoms persist and continue to cause issues, ensure that you make your doctor aware. They may be able to prescribe medications that can help.

Pursuing treatment for benzo withdrawal is only the first step in overcoming the addiction it was caused by. Each level of care at Legacy serves as an option to aid you in tackling dependency as a whole and can help you change your life for the better.


Don’t let withdrawal symptoms keep you trapped in an addictive cycle. Call our Legacy Healing Center locations at 888-534-2295 to speak with an intake specialist today! 


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