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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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