How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your System?
Benzos (or benzodiazepines) are prescription drugs that are usually used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, or seizures. Many factors influence how long they stay in your system, including the type of drug test and your metabolism.
A drug test can also be referred to as a drug screen, lab test, or a panel drug test. Furthermore, there are four basic kinds:
Before moving on, let’s quickly discuss the concept of metabolism. This is simply the process your body takes to break compounds down into smaller pieces. In other words, a big molecule has been taken apart and reduced to several smaller molecules. These smaller pieces are known as metabolites.
How Long Do Benzos Stay in the Body?
When talking about how the body breaks down drugs, it’s crucial to understand what half-life means. This term refers to the amount of time it takes the human body to metabolize 50% of a drug. Furthermore, a drug’s half-life is related to how long it’s active within the body. For example, benzos with a longer half-life break down slower, meaning that the user will be intoxicated for longer.
The 4 Levels of Half-Life in Benzos
- Ultra short – Under 5 hours.
- Short – Between 5 and 12 hours.
- Intermediate – Between 13 and 40 hours.
- Long – Between 40 to 250 hours!
Based on these half-lives, it’s obvious that benzos can stay in the body from 5 hours to 11 days.
Finally, the phrase detection window is important in grasping this topic. It simply refers to the period of time that drugs are detectable in a biological sample.
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your Urine?
Testing urine is the most common and least expensive method for drug testing. The urine test detects the presence of benzo metabolites. Originally, the liver broke them down before sending them to the kidneys for filtration.
Furthermore, depending on the type of benzo, these metabolites can be present in urine for up to 11 days.
Additionally, there are 5 other factors which can influence the detection window:
- Size and body mass
- Half-life of various compounds
- The pH levels of the urine
- Duration of use
- Level of hydration
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your Hair?
Despite being complicated, costly, and labor-intensive, hair tests are still extremely useful because they have the longest detection window. In fact, a well-executed hair test can conclusively determine if a user ingested benzos in the past 90 days.
However, hair grows slowly, so nothing will show in a hair test for the first five to seven days.
These are also known as hair follicle drug tests because the hairs will “absorb” the metabolites via the hair follicle.
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your Blood?
Blood tests are the most invasive of the four basic drug panels. Plus, a great number of people have a powerful aversion to needles and blood. However, these blood tests are essential in many life-threatening situations. For example, if a patient is unconscious or unresponsive, clinicians will rely on these blood tests for necessary information.
Blood tests are unique because they demonstrate if a person is impaired or intoxicated at that precise moment. Furthermore, they can also give an accurate reading of the concentration of drugs present in the bloodstream.
However, blood drug tests definitely have the shortest detection window. In fact, they can detect benzos for only up to 24 hours.
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your Saliva?
Saliva drug screens are less invasive but more expensive than blood or urine tests. That’s because it’s easy to collect the biological material: you just gather some saliva (oral fluid) from your mouth. In order to protect the sample from contamination, this should be done with sterile Q-Tips.
Furthermore, the oral fluid should either come from:
- Under the tongue
- Inside the cheek
Once this material is gathered and tested, the benzos will be detectable for approximately 2 to 3 days after consumption.
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Lab Tests?
Urine, hair, blood, and saliva panels are all lab tests.
Furthermore, arranging them in order of their detection windows ends up looking something like this:
- Blood (1 day)
- Saliva (2 to 3 days)
- Urine (10 to 30 days)
- Hair (up to 90 days)
Ultimately, there is no single lab test that is “better” than the others. The respective merits of each method depend largely on the specifics of the situation.
Furthermore, there are 10 other factors that can influence how long benzos show up on lab tests, including:
- Dosage amount
- How the drug was ingested
- Age and overall health
- Size and weight
- Metabolic health
- Presence of other drugs and alcohol
- Other medical conditions
- Presence of other drugs
Are You Addicted to Benzos?
Addiction is the only disease that requires a self-diagnosis in order for the treatment to be effective.
If you are unsure whether or not you’re an addict, you might find it helpful to answer these questions:
- Do you become physically ill when you try to stop?
- Are you unable to stop for any significant length of time?
- Do you use every day?
- Are you still using even if you are suffering serious consequences?
If you answered “Yes” to at least three questions, then you may need professional assistance to treat your addiction. Furthermore, don’t forget that benzo withdrawals are potentially fatal and should always be done under the care of a clinician.
No one should have to fight this battle alone! If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to anti-anxiety pills, contact us right away. This one phone call may save someone’s life.
- VeryWell Mind: How Long Do Benzodiazepines Stay In Your System? https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-do-benzodiazepines-stay-in-your-system-80225
- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology: Benzodiazepines - A summary of pharmacokinetic properties. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1401650/
- Therapeutic Drug Monitoring: "Detection of 4 benzodiazepines in oral fluid as biomarker for presence in blood". https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24061449
- Therapeutic Drug Monitoring https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25549207
- Clinical Pharmacokinetics: "Clinical pharmacokinetics of alprazolam. Therapeutic implications." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8513649
- Psychopharmacology Bulletin https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1687613
- Ochsner Journal: "Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System–Mediated Effects." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684331/#
- Annals of Pharmacotherapy: “Detection of benzodiazepines in human hair by radioimmunoassay.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1576379