Benzodiazepine Addiction Recovery

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are commonly prescribed medications that treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and seizure disorders. At time, they are also prescribed to help those who are detoxing from alcohol. You may have heard of them referred to as tranquilizers or sedatives.  With the rate of anxiety at an all-time high, doctors find themselves prescribing benzos at fairly high rates.

This is great news for those struggling with high anxiety levels or sleep troubles, because they are quite good at reducing anxiety and helping you fall asleep. However, they are also quite addictive, especially if you abuse them you can soon find yourself in a prescription drug addiction.

Common benzodiazepines include:

  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)

The Abuse Of Benzodiazepines

Taking benzos as prescribed helps many to minimize symptoms of anxiety or psychotic symptoms, such as when someone has schizophrenia. However, there are many people who abuse benzos because of the way it makes them feel. When you take anti-anxiety medication as prescribed, it certainly helps calm your nervous system. It can also may make you feel a little drowsy.

For those that abuse benzos, they may take more of the medication prescribed. They do this because they enjoy the intense relaxation or a bit of euphoria that comes along with it. However, abusing anti-anxiety medication can lead to addiction, and perhaps even an overdose. Those that combine alcohol in benzodiazepine’s increase the dangers of overdose significantly.

How Do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzodiazepines are depressants. They calm the central nervous system by attaching to particular receptors in the brain. Rather than the nervous system remaining in fight or flight state, the medication allows it to relax. The brain also releases a chemical called gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), which helps with memory and emotions. Of course, the process is much more complicated scientifically, but essentially the benzos help the brain send signals to the body to relax.

Symptoms Of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Plenty of people are addicted to benzos and aren’t aware of it. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of benzo abuse or addiction, so you can get the help that you need to get free from the addiction. The following are some of the common benzo addiction symptoms:

  • Craving more of the medication
  • Feeling tired much of the time
  • Mood changes
  • Going to new doctors to try to get more benzos prescribed for you
  • Buying benzos off the street
  • Stealing benzos from family or friends
  • Mixing alcohol with your benzos to get a desired effect
  • Not being able to stop using the medication when you want
  • Slurring your speech after you’re taken your medication

Short-Term Effects Of Benzos

Some of the short-term effects of taking benzos you want to feel, such as relaxation or less racing thoughts. Other effects can be dangerous.
Here are some of the short-term effects of benzos:

  • Feeling nauseous and/or vomiting
  • Slowed breathing
  • Reduced heartrate
  • Memory loss
  • Vision becoming blurry
  • Nodding out
  • Moving slower
  • Slurring your speech
  • Not being able to think as quickly

For those that use high doses of benzos, they may experience:

  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Intense mood swings
  • Coma

Long Term Effects Of Benzos

Many doctors will not prescribe benzos for long periods of time, because this can alter the way the brain works. Using them long-term also increases the risk of becoming dependent or addicted to them.

The following are some long-term effects of benzodiazepines:

  • Experiencing trouble with your memory
  • A decrease in cognitive functioning
  • Experiencing weakness in your muscles
  • Addiction
  • A weakening immune system
  • Experiencing other mental health disorders
  • Having trouble sleeping

The Dangers Of Benzos

Anti-anxiety medications can certainly help those who are experiencing anxiety disorders. At times in life, you may experience situations that cause you a great amount of anxiety. Having medication to help ease that anxiety or manage those symptoms can certainly help during those times of crisis.

However, there are also dangers to taking benzodiazepine’s long-term.

In addition, combining benzos with other drugs puts you at an increased risk of health problems, including overdose. This goes for alcohol, opioids, or antihistamines.

The  National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the number of benzo overdoses rose from 1,135 in 1999 to 11,537 in 2017. As you can see, that’s a significant increase.

How Do I Know If I’m Addicted To Benzodiazepine?

If you become addicted to a benzodiazepine, you will likely experience some withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using the drug. If still not sure, take our addiction screening test.

Note that medical experts state that you should never stop taking your benzo medication “cold turkey” or abruptly. The best way to come off of benzos is to undergo a medical detox where you gradually taper off of the medication under the care of your physician.

Common benzo withdrawal symptoms include:

  • An increase in anxiety
  • Having a tough time sleeping
  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling irritable
  • Craving more of the drug
  • Tense muscles
  • Confusion
  • Feeling like you’re out of sorts mentally

Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

The best way to treat benzodiazepine addiction is to undergo a medical detox at an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility. Here at Into Action Recovery Society, we have addiction specialists that will monitor you around the clock as you detox from benzos.

Your dosage of your medication will be gradually reduced, which will help minimize the painful withdrawal symptoms associated with detox. You will also be able to see a therapist to address any other emotional, mental, or behavioral issues that may be going on.

Into Action Recovery Society Treatment Program

More specifically, we offer a First Stage Residential Program for benzodiazepine addiction treatment. Here, you can commit to a 60-day program alongside other men being treated for addiction in a comfortable, safe, home-like atmosphere.

Once this first stage is completed, you have the option to attend the Second Stage Transitional Program. Here, you can stay for up to 30 days, receiving additional support and accountability to grow stronger in your recovery.  You can also leave the premises to work or attend school.

We also offer a Long-Term Sober Living option for those who require housing long-term.

Know that we are here to assist you however we can, committed to helping you overcome addiction and go on to create the kind of life you truly desire.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

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If you need help or have any questions about us contact us right away.

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