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Benzodiazepine Detox & Treatment Center

Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines (“benzos”), such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, are a type of a mild tranquilizer psychoactive drug that’s prescribed for issues such as panic and anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizures. The trouble with these types of drugs is that they are mentally and physically addictive, leading some people to either form a benzodiazepine dependence or overtake these medications. And oftentimes, people misuse benzodiazepines in combination with other substances, such as alcohol, which can be very harmful, and even fatal. Benzodiazepines are part of the pharmaceutical world, which means they’re a legal prescription drug. Unlike a lot of illicit drugs, benzos are branded with a name given to them from a pharmaceutical company, making them tougher to identify as problematic. If you’re concerned someone you know may be abusing benzos, here is a list of common brand names:
  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Restoril
  • Ativan
  • Niravam
  • Librium
  • Halcion
  • Klonopin
  • Alprazolam
  • Tranxene

Diagnosing a Benzo Addiction

Often times users may not know they have an addiction to benzodiazepines until it’s too late to get help. However, the earlier you tackle the problem, the better chance you have of overcoming your addiction. The DSM-5 states that to be diagnosed with a sedative use disorder, you must exhibit 2 out of 11 of the listed symptoms, within a 12 month period. The following is an example of 6 of the more common symptoms:
  • Substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use
  • Great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use
  • Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect. OR a markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of substance
  • Substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance

Long Term Effects of Abuse

Long-term effects of benzodiazepine abuse can include cognitive impairment, decreased sex drive, and increased depression & anxiety. They can also cause a lot of damage to important functions of the brain, such as visuospatial processing, cognition, memory, verbal learning ability and processing speeds. The capacity for learning simple tasks, and retaining verbal information can be drastically reduced. However, depending on the severity of prolonged use, the damages can be reversed through extended sobriety. Benzos have also been linked to Alzheimer’s in older users. Studies show that upwards of 84% of people who took the drug for 6 months or longer had a stronger chance of developing the disease.

Signs of Addiction

There are many different facets of benzodiazepine addiction – the signs and symptoms not only present physically, but psychologically and behaviorally as well. Benzo abuse symptoms include:
  • Blurred vision
  • Mood swings
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Poor judgment
  • Diminished neurological capacity
  • Risk-taking behavior, like driving under the influence, or using at work
  • Borrowing money, stealing, draining bank accounts
  • Becoming reclusive and secretive
  • Hanging out in new social circles
Taking benzodiazepines with alcohol or other drugs Doctor shopping – Attempting to score by lying, or pandering to multiple doctors
  • Trying to score Benzodiazepines through friends, colleagues and acquaintances
  • Failed attempts at quitting
When someone abuses Benzodiazepines, they will naturally build up a tolerance to the effects. This requires users to take increasingly higher doses. The problem is, once your body acclimates to having high amounts of the substance in your bloodstream, it becomes reliant on it to function. When dosages are reduced or taken away completely, benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms begin to manifest. These withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and can even be deadly if not properly managed. That’s why benzodiazepine withdrawal treatment should be lead by medical professionals, and clients should be under the direct care of a physician.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

When benzo abuse is stopped or decreased, the body may go through a withdrawal. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include:
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Muscular Pain
  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Heart palpitations If you are taking particularly high doses of benzodiazepines, withdrawal symptoms can even lead to psychosis and seizures.

Benzodiazepine Detox

The first step of benzodiazepine addiction treatment is ridding your body of the substance safely and effectively. A physician lead benzodiazepine detox protocol is the safest way to wean the body’s dependence from the drug. After detoxing, our clinical team will implement a treatment program to support you in the deep emotional work required to maintain long-term sobriety. Contact our benzodiazepine treatment center today.