Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepine Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Effects

Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as benzos, are a class of psychoactive drugs prescribed to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. While they can be incredibly supportive when used as directed by a healthcare professional, they also carry a significant risk of addiction and dependence when misused or taken for an extended period.

Statistics surrounding benzodiazepine addiction paint a concerning picture. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 30% of opioid overdoses also involve benzodiazepines. Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that benzodiazepine misuse has been on the rise in recent years, highlighting the importance of understanding the causes, signs, and effects of addiction to these drugs.

Some of the Most Addictive Benzodiazepines Include:

  1. Xanax (alprazolam)
  2. Valium (diazepam)
  3. Ativan (lorazepam)
  4. Klonopin (clonazepam)
  5. Restoril (temazepam)

Why benzodiazepines are so addictive?

Benzodiazepines are highly addictive because they have a strong effect on a specific brain chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which helps calm down nerve activity. When someone takes these drugs, they boost GABA’s calming effects, which can make people feel relaxed and sleepy, and reduce seizures. However, this also makes the brain get used to the drug, leading to a need for more of it to get the same calming effect. Over time, the brain struggles to calm itself down without the drug, making people feel like they need to keep taking it to avoid feeling bad or anxious. This cycle of needing more of the drug to feel okay makes it very hard for people to stop taking benzodiazepines without help from a doctor or a treatment program.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Signs

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction is crucial for early intervention and treatment. Common signs of addiction may include:

  • Increased tolerance to the drug, leading to higher doses for the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to cut back or stop using benzodiazepines
  • Continued use despite experiencing negative consequences, such as relationship problems or legal issues
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of benzodiazepines

Physical symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction can include drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, and impaired coordination. Psychological symptoms may manifest as mood swings, irritability, and anxiety.

If you’re reading this and notice that these symptoms sound familiar in yourself or someone you care about, we highly encourage you to reach out to us at True Life Recovery. We’re happy to chat with you and help you identify what dependence on these substances looks like, as well as to talk through options for next steps to address your concerns. 

Benzodiazepines Long-Term Side Effects

The effects of benzodiazepine long term use and addiction can be far-reaching, impacting countless aspects of someone’s life. Chronic use of these drugs can lead to physical and mental health problems, including: 

  • Respiratory depression and other respiratory issues
  • Cognitive impairment and memory problems
  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries
  • Relationship strain and social isolation
  • Co-Occurring Disorders:

Benzodiazepine addiction often co-occurs with other mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Individuals may turn to benzodiazepines as a way to self-medicate symptoms of these disorders, inadvertently worsening their condition and increasing the risk of addiction.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms and Overdose

Quitting benzodiazepines abruptly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations, and extreme anxiety. Therefore, it’s essential for anyone seeking to overcome benzodiazepine addiction to undergo medically supervised detoxification to safely manage withdrawal symptoms.

In cases of overdose, benzodiazepines can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death, particularly when combined with other substances such as alcohol or opioids. Prompt medical intervention is critical in cases of overdose to prevent life-threatening complications. As you can tell, this condition is not to be taken lightly and if you’re worried about your own use or the use of someone you know, it’s important to seek help right away. 

addiction support and treatment

Recovery and Treatment

When you’re physically dependent on a substance like benzodiazepines, it can feel overwhelming to even think about quitting. That’s where a treatment program like True Life Recovery comes in. We offer detoxification services in a safe and supportive environment. Our team is here to provide round-the-clock care, ensuring that you’re as comfortable as possible while managing and minimizing any withdrawal symptoms you may experience.

Many people we work with find that residential stays at True Life Recovery are incredibly beneficial. This option gives you the chance to focus solely on your recovery journey. You’ll participate in group therapy sessions and have one-on-one time with our counselors. This time is invaluable for understanding the root causes of your addiction, boosting your self-esteem, and developing strategies for long-term recovery.

Before you even begin treatment, you can take advantage of a free addiction assessment with one of our team members. This conversation isn’t just about gathering information – it’s a chance for us to truly understand your circumstances, severity of your addiction, and what the path to recovery looks like. With this knowledge, we can recommend the right level of treatment for you. Plus, it’s an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have and get to know us here at True Life Recovery.

Reaching out for help can feel scary, but you are not alone. True Life Recovery is here to support you every step of the way on your journey to recovery. If you’re ready to take that first step toward regaining your health and toward a drug-free brighter future, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you reclaim your life.

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Stephen White - True Life Recovery

Thank you for reading our latest article. My name is Stephen White, Director of Business Development for True Life Recovery. If you or your loved one needs help with addiction recovery, please don’t hesitate to call me directly. I am passionate about what I do, and here to answer any questions, support you, and guide you on your journey towards recovery. Let’s take the first step to a brighter future together. Call me at 714-909-2337 now!

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