Withdrawal from benzodiazepines, commonly known as “benzos,” can be a challenging experience, affecting various aspects of one’s life. It’s not only the individual who is affected; relationships can suffer significantly during this period as well. This post aims to shed light on how benzo withdrawal impacts relationships and offers tips to help you cope. 

Emotional Instability

Oftentimes, we are not ourselves when we are in benoz withdrawal. Emotional instability is a common symptom. We may experience heightened levels of fear, anxiety, irritability, anger and rage, and mood swings. These emotional fluctuations can strain relationships, complicating communication and increasing misunderstandings. People who do not understand benzo withdrawal won’t understand that we are being tortured by the “benzo-emotional-rollercoaster” and may think that we are being unreasonable or seeking attention. They may think that we can “snap out of it” at will. We can’t.

What can help: Open and honest communication is key. Educate those close to you about what you’re going through to foster understanding and support. Share information about benzo withdrawal from reputable websites or book a coaching session and include family. This tip works for all impacts on relationships.

Cognitive Impairment

Cognitive symptoms like memory issues, confusion, and difficulty focusing can emerge during withdrawal. These challenges can create barriers to communication and the ability to perform everyday tasks, making it easy for feelings of alienation or resentment to grow. 

What can help: Setting clear boundaries and expectations can help others better accommodate your current capabilities.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, weakness, dizziness, and insomnia can hinder daily activities and social interactions. The physical toll on your body can lead to decreased engagement with your partner, friends, and family. You feel left out and lonely, and your family and friends miss you and may feel resentment or frustration. 

What helps: Communicate transparently with your loved ones about the physical limitations you’re experiencing. When you can, try to engage in low-impact social activities that don’t exacerbate your symptoms, like watching a movie or sunset together or having a quiet dinner or low-key conversation. This allows you to maintain social bonds, albeit in a modified way and helps others understand and adapt to your current situation. Do let others know that you may commit to getting together but might have to cancel at the last minute as benzo withdrawal symptoms are not predictable. Let them know that you don’t mean to be rude or hurt their feelings by canceling, but you have to take care of yourself.

Social Isolation

The range and intensity of withdrawal symptoms can sometimes lead to social isolation. Pulling away from social activities and interactions can drive a wedge between you and your loved ones. (It’s okay to take time away from sensory input, but do be mindful that you don’t isolate too much. It isn’t healthy. We need human interaction.)

What helps: Educating loved ones about benzo withdrawal is important. Let them know that you need time away from all stimulation— your retreat to a quiet place is self-care. Do let them know that when you feel more able to cope with interacting, you will be available.

Loss of Self-Esteem/Neediness

Decreased self-esteem is another challenge people often face during benzo withdrawal. This can result in increased sensitivity to criticism, making you more defensive and reactive, which can strain relationships further. We may also feel needy, seeking reassurance and validation, which puts strains on our friends and family. 

What helps: Learning to observe your thoughts and feelings and pausing before speaking or acting on them is extraordinarily helpful. With our nervous system in the ‘protect’ state: fight, flight, freeze, our thoughts are going to be negative. We may not be able to see our talents, our purpose, or our value. (Fortunately, this passes.) Let your friends and family know that this diminished view of self is common in withdrawal and that you will do what you can to cope with it, but their understanding and grace will be very helpful.

Impact on Sexual Intimacy

Benzo withdrawal symptoms, such as pelvic pain, fear of sexual excitement or orgasm causing a wave, lack of desire, etc., can also negatively affect sexual health and intimacy.

What helps: Communication with your partner is vital; be open about the symptoms you’re experiencing, both to set realistic expectations and to explore alternative ways to maintain intimacy, such as cuddling, massages, or sharing emotional support. Consider working with a sex therapist or coach to help you find ways to stay connected with your partner.

 Be Patient

Healing is a process that takes time. Exercise patience, both with yourself and others. Your relationships may be strained now, but remember that withdrawal is a temporary phase, and things will improve. Do your best to maintain social connections, but take time for yourself when you need it. Don’t push yourself. It’s not worth stressing your nervous system. Those who love you will remain in your life, even if they don’t understand. Friends who break away and leave were in your life for a season, and now that season has come to a close. You will make new friends down the road. 


Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be a turbulent experience affecting various aspects of your life, including your relationships. By being aware of these potential challenges and actively taking steps to mitigate them, you can help preserve the quality of your relationships during this difficult time.

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What has helped you with your relationships with friends and family? We’d love to hear your story. Thank you for sharing.