How GABA and Amino Acids Support Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment 

GABA neurons are drastically impacted by substance use. Repairing these neurons is possible with IV amino acid treatment. Get more information here.

How GABA and Amino Acids Support Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment
How GABA and Amino Acids Support Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

How GABA and Amino Acids Support Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment 

GABA neurons are drastically impacted by substance use. Repairing these neurons is possible with IV amino acid treatment. Get more information here.

The information presented on this page is a general overview and is offered here as a comprehensive resource. At Ampelis Recovery, our programs are customized and tailored to the individual’s needs. Specific details below that cover treatment protocols may not reflect the protocols used for our clients.

If you would like to learn more about Ampelis Recovery and our customized programs for professional men, please do not hesitate to reach out.

WE WELCOME ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE: (801) 477-7493

What is GABA?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid, better known as GABA, is a naturally occurring inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA neurotransmitters produce calming effects by blocking specific brain signals related to anxiety, fear, and general stress. GABA neurotransmitters also work to manage the overall activity of neurons.1

How Does GABA Help Brain Function?

GABA’s primary function is to regulate brain activity and synaptic development. GABA neurotransmitters work in conjunction with glutamate, which excites neurons. The stimulating effects of glutamate contribute to mental clarity, reflexes, and memory. However, overexcited neurons lead to synaptic misfires and cellular decay. GABA balances out the effects of glutamate by calming neurons.

Both GABA and glutamate are essential for healthy brain function. Together, GABA and glutamate stabilize one’s mood, maintain cognitive performance, and contribute to overall brain health.1

How Do Other Amino Acids Help Brain Function?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and they are responsible for physical and mental well-being. Amino acid deficiency is related to depression, anxiety, brain fog, and more. Of the 20 types of amino acids, nine are essential and have their purpose. Amino acid benefits include boosting cellular, muscle, and bone health alongside regulating mood and creating new neural connections.

Amino acid benefits can also work to maintain several bodily systems, affecting mental performance and longevity.1

Learn More About Healing the Brain


  • Holistic Approach
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Positive Psychology

How Benzodiazepines Affect Your Brain

Effects on GABA Receptors

Benzodiazepine, commonly referred to as benzos, intensifies the calming effects of GABA. Benzodiazepines act as sedatives or pain relievers by binding to and stimulating GABA receptors. This intense calmness or euphoria can lead to benzodiazepine withdrawal and dependency. Often, benzodiazepine abuse occurs with substance abuse such as alcoholism. The combined neurological effect results in worsening addiction, long-term cellular damage, and central nervous system dysregulation.1

Benzodiazepine dependency occurs once the body reduces its regulation of GABA neurons and relies on benzos to pick up the slack. Like all forms of addiction, Benzos addiction rewires the central nervous system to release dopamine (the happy chemical) only when benzos are present in the system. The rewiring of the reward system and mood swings that substances cause is the reason behind drastic personality changes.

While these changes are reversing, a client needs treatment, emotional support, and supplements to restore proper brain function.

Effects on Other Neurotransmitters

Benzodiazepines inhibit fear, anxiety, and depression. The effects of benzodiazepines are far beyond natural GABA stimulation. Because GABA receptors depress the central nervous system, benzodiazepines can cause severe breathing issues resulting in hypoxia (the inability to absorb oxygen) and cellular decay. The long-term effects of benzos on other neurotransmitters result in dependency and mood disorders.1

Because the GABA regulates the central nervous system, which in turn controls almost every system in the brain, mind, and limbs, there’s no limit to its effect on neurotransmitters. GABA deficiency affects the body down to a cellular level. The bones, muscle, hair, nails, and mental performance are all drastically impacted.

Central Nervous System Dysregulation

GABA works in tandem with glutamate to balance neurons’ activity in the central nervous system. The balance of these two chemicals is both nuanced and essential. Benzodiazepines disrupt the natural balance over time. When benzos occur in excess, the body relies on them for GABA regulation, which leads to central nervous system dysregulation and overexcited neurons. Overexcited neurons can cause:

  • Neuropathy
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping issues
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Mental health issues

Repairing CNS dysregulation is possible with proper diet, medication, and time, but not all CNS dysregulations can be effectively repaired.

What Other Amino Acids are Impacted by Addiction?

All nine essential amino acids impact addiction to some degree. Essential amino acids come from proper diet and nutrition. Substance use, however, often leads to poor diet and amino acid deficiency.

While nine amino acids are considered essential, there are 20 in total that play a role in cognitive and physical performance. Of these 20, the human body produces just ten amino acids, which lessens during long-term substance use. Amino acid deficiency can worsen the effects of substance dependency and make it harder to overcome.

The ten amino acids made by the body include:

  • Proline
  • Glycine
  • Aspartic acid
  • Alanine
  • Tyrosine
  • Asparagine
  • Cysteine
  • Serine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Glutamine

The nine essential amino acids are:

  • Histidine
  • Leucine
  • Valine
  • Tryptophan
  • Threonine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Isoleucine
  • Methionine
  • Lysine

The remaining amino acid not listed is Selenocysteine.

How Do Those Amino Acids Affect the Addicted Brain?

The lack of proper amino acids results in severe depression, mood irregularities, and impaired cognitive function. Without adequate amino acids, neurotransmitters work at a reduced capacity, and it’s harder for the brain to make new neural connections. Mental impairments make it difficult for a substance user to quit the substance and consider the benefits of overcoming addiction.

Another factor in amino acids and addiction is the Blood-Brain Barrier or BBB. The BBB is the buffer between blood and the soft tissue comprising the brain. The BBB acts as a defense against potentially harmful chemicals in the blood.2 The nature of the BBB makes it so that even essential nutrients must be filtered before entering the brain. The BBB’s capacity to perform its function is weakened by amino acid deficiency. A weakened BBB makes it harder for proper nutrition to be absorbed. The longer substance use is active, the harder it is for amino acids to be received.2

It can be assumed that if the body is low on amino acids, then the brain is even more depleted as it takes longer for amino acids to be absorbed. Additionally, the body doesn’t store amino acids like other compounds. This factor means we require constant amino acid intake to perform at healthy levels. Lack of amino acids worsens mental illness and substance use disorder.

How Does IV Amino Acid Therapy Replace Depleted Amino Acids?

Intravenous Amino Acid Therapy refers to the medical practice of administering amino acids intravenously in a controlled setting. Amino acid therapy works by restoring healthy amino acid levels. The process takes place over 5-10 days and lasts a few hours per session.

How Does IV Amino Acid Therapy Help with Benzodiazepine Withdrawal?

Benzodiazepines deplete amino acids and GABA neurons. As mentioned above, this causes CNS dysregulation. IV amino acid therapy works to restore GABA functions and cognitive processing. IV amino acid therapy also soothes withdrawal symptoms, repairs GABA/Glutamate balance, and stabilizes one’s mood.3 Additionally, a GABA supplement may be used to restore proper chemical balance.

GABA supplements are taken orally and serve to repair both the brain and bodily functions. These functions include muscle and bone growth as well as improving filtering systems like the kidney and liver. A GABA supplement also works to improve the blood-brain barrier and boost vitamin permeability.4

What Types of Treatment Centers Use Amino Acids to Support Recovery?

IV amino acids, liquid amino acids, amino acid supplements, and GABA supplement options are available in recovery. These supplements can be crucial to dealing with withdrawal and long-term rehab plans.

Executive Wellness: Executive wellness centers offer privacy and limited access to the outside world. A client can still stay connected to their office life but without the constant stressors of being physically present. Executive wellness centers cater to individuals suffering from substance use, work burnout, mental health issues, and more. The safe and serene setting afforded to those in these programs goes a long way in dealing with the issues mentioned above in a positive, healthy environment.

Luxury Rehabs: Luxury rehabs provide medical support for those accustomed to a certain quality of life. Luxury rehabs provide modern amenities, stunning views, and an overall vacation-like environment to heal and overcome addiction. Luxury rehabs, much like executive rehabs, may provide amino acid supplements and liquid amino acids treatments to lessen the effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal and other substances.

Resources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2648504/
  2. https://nba.uth.tmc.edu/neuroscience/m/s4/chapter11.html#:~:text=Phenylalanine%2C%20leucine%2C%20tyrosine%2C%20isoleucine,the%20L%2Dtype%20transport%20proteins
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074362/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594160/