Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines are within the classification of sedative drugs. They are extremely potent relaxants and have a calming effect but are also very addictive. They are most frequently prescribed to treat disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. The powerful effects of these drugs mean that benzodiazepine addiction has become all too common among users.

How Does Benzo Addiction Begin?

Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to help with muscle relaxation or be part of a treatment plan for alcohol recovery. Despite these legitimate uses of prescribed benzodiazepines, misuse and addiction to benzodiazepines can be very dangerous and even deadly.

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Brand Names of Benzodiazepines

  • Niravam
  • Ativan
  • Xanax
  • Librium
  • Klonopin
  • Valium
  • Halcion
  • Restoril
  • Tranxene
  • Alprazolam

What is Benzodiazepine Addiction?

Benzo abuse can be described as a misuse of medication that is prescribed to help mental health disorders. This means that if you or the person you love are taking the medicine prescribed in larger quantities, or over a longer period of time than recommended by a doctor, it may be abuse.

It does not take a long time to develop a high tolerance either, which can lead to strong cravings when you do not have the drug. This eventually leads to impaired performance in other aspects of your life.

Benzo Addiction vs Misuse vs Abuse

Benzo Abuse vs Misuse vs Addiction

Recognizing the symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse, and understanding the difference between misuse and addiction, can be the first step in helping yourself or a loved one in getting the help they need.

Physical Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse

  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Coma
  • Death (typically when used in conjunction with alcohol)

Signs of Benzodiazepine Misuse

  • Mood changes
  • Risky behavior, such a driving under the influence
  • Poor judgment or ability to make decisions
  • Asking for benzodiazepine pills from other people
  • Combining benzodiazepine pills with alcohol
  • Wanting to stop addiction but being unable to commit to the process
  • Loss of memory from benzos

Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

  • Withdrawing from others to continue using
  • Stealing or borrowing prescriptions
  • Doing out of character things to get more benzos
  • Decrease in effort to maintain personal hygiene and/or grooming
  • Beginning to act secretively and lying to use
  • Fear of being away from the drug, there is always an adequate supply at home
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Purchasing the drugs illegally, such as through a street dealer or the dark web

Long Term Effects of Benzodiazepines

  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination and increased reaction time
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dementia
  • Ataxia

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What are the Risk Factors for Benzodiazepine Addiction?

 

What are the Health Risks of Benzodiazepine Misuse

Long term recovery from benzodiazepines is possible, but in order to achieve this, you must understand the different benzo abuse risk factors. Benzodiazepines are known to be extremely addictive both due to their chemical properties as well as the sedative effects. Someone who uses benzodiazepines may start because they have a medical disorder, and are prescribed the drug initially.

Over a period of time, this can lead to a serious habit, but a doctor will typically not over-prescribe benzodiazepines. Sometimes though, due to anxiety and developing tolerance, even if following the right instructions, a benzo addiction and use disorder may still be able to develop. However, there are prescription diversion methods, which can be even more dangerous.

How Long Does Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Last?

When you use benzodiazepines for a long time, it can eventually rewire your brain’s chemical circuitry. This can lead to extremely uncomfortable physical psychological symptoms while trying to quit. Known as withdrawal, these can even lead to death.

When withdrawal symptoms become lethal, only a medical team can help you. The best option is to gradually taper off of benzodiazepines. Those who taper off are less likely to experience severe withdrawal than those who quit cold turkey. That is why Doctor-assisted therapy is always advised to manage withdrawal symptoms.

The counterfeit benzo dangers can actually make addiction a lot worse. These are more common than you think, so they should be avoided at all costs. We offer a wonderful and specialized treatment center that is dedicated to helping people get and remain sober. Let us help you.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Physical aches and pains
  • Abnormal sensations
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Detachment from reality
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations or delusions

Medically Assisted Detox for Benzodiazepines

​​Medical detox is the process of eliminating substances of abuse from the body. This is done under the close supervision of medical professionals and is the safest way to withdraw from benzodiazepines.

Withdrawal can be challenging but with the help of a medical team, it will make it a lot easier. The primary concern with benzodiazepines is preventing seizures. These can lead to death or brain damage, so having medical professionals around to monitor your symptoms and give you medication is essential.

Dual Diagnosis and Benzodiazepine Treatment

When benzodiazepines are abused in conjunction with a mental health problem or another addiction, then this is considered a dual diagnosis requiring dual diagnosis treatment. Polysubstance abuse and benzos are very serious. For example, an alcohol and benzo interaction commonly leads to death, while methadone and benzo overdose risks are much higher.

Although it is very common that drugs classified under Benzodiazepine are used to treat the symptoms of severe anxiety or to avoid panic attacks, they can also lead to the need for dual diagnosis treatment. Even when benzodiazepines are used to treat insomnia or sleeping problems, they are likely to cause dependence even while helping with sleep.

In some cases, benzodiazepines can also be used in addition to, or in place of, antidepressants. If you or your loved one has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, then you may be more at risk for benzodiazepine addiction.

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What to Expect from Benzodiazepine Treatment in Albuquerque?

When you go to treatment for benzodiazepine abuse there are a few main steps to expect. During inpatient treatment, you will be surrounded by a team, for 24 hours per day. This can help to ensure you go through the withdrawal process as comfortably as possible. Despite this, no two patients are the same and treatment can be very difficult.

This is why it is essential to establish an individual treatment plan for each person. This is the only way to ensure a successful recovery.

Benzo Treatment in Albuquerque

Check-In and Evaluation

When you arrive at the Icarus Behavioral Health Center you will begin with a medical evaluation. This is completed by the staff to understand the severity of your addiction, and how far into the withdrawal process you are.

Your mental health will also be determined because typically those with a benzo addiction also suffer from a co-occurring disorder. Those who are living with addiction as well as a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, PTSD, or depression, will be given a specific plan to tackle both issues.

Detox

After intake, you will go into detox. This process will help to get your system clean of all benzodiazepines. This is also known as the withdrawal process, and you will definitely need support. You may even experience symptoms within a few hours of quitting benzos, but typically withdrawal will set in within one to four days.

Depending on the level of your addiction, more severe symptoms can continue for 10 to 14 days. Additionally, based on individual preference and how your evaluation went. Your detox may also include therapy sessions in order to focus on important problem areas of your recovery.

Post Detox Recovery

Your program after detox is also an important choice. Our programs provide rehabilitation and counseling within outpatient or inpatient services. These forms of recovery programs will help you to learn how to avoid relapse. You will work with professionals in a safe setting, to identify why you are abusing benzodiazepines, and what may have led to your addiction. Then you can learn the skills to deal with them so you can continue a life of sobriety.

Getting Help for Your Benzodiazepine Addiction

After becoming dependent on benzodiazepines, you may suffer from rebound effects. After deciding to get treatment, doctors can help you and accurately assess your situation. Then they can use the tapering effect to help the body adjust back to normalcy.

Once stabilized, you can have doctors to assist you in recovery. Coming to our programs can help you with that, as we can suggest inpatient or outpatient programs, along with cognitive therapy and counseling sessions. Inpatient programs are typically indicated as the most effective type of treatment for clients if circumstances allow for residential care.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a benzo addiction, then you should not quit alone. Medically supervised detox for benzos can help with dangerous drug withdrawals. Treatment for benzodiazepine misuse is essential because of the health risks of benzo misuse.

Quitting alone, without medical supervision can lead to serious consequences, especially with benzodiazepines. Call us today at Icarus Behavioral Health to get the help you need, and put the worries about your next pill behind you!