There are many different prescription medications that help individuals lead normal, healthy lives. Unfortunately, many of these prescription medications are addictive when misused.
One common prescription medication that people can develop an addiction to is benzodiazepines, otherwise known as benzos. These depressant prescription medications are used to treat a variety of issues. However, researchers have warned about the risk of addiction for nearly 50 years.
To overcome a benzo addiction, individuals should attend benzo detox recovery followed by rehab for benzodiazepine addiction. A full recovery is possible when met with the appropriate types of therapy and support.
What Are Benzos?
Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are sedative prescription medications that slow down the body’s central nervous system and relax muscles. Benzos cause a shift in brain chemicals, and this is ultimately what causes the user to feel calm. Because of the relaxing effect of benzodiazepines, many doctors prescribe them to individuals that struggle with anxiety, insomnia, or seizures.
In fact, because some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are insomnia and seizures, doctors may even prescribe benzos to people that are suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Types Of Benzodiazepines
There are three categories of benzodiazepines, ultra short-acting, short-acting, and long-acting.
Examples of common short-acting benzos are Xanax and Ativan. Examples of common ultra short-acting benzos are Versed and Halcion. Common long-acting benzos include Valium, Klonopin, and Librium.
Effects Of Benzos On The Brain And Body
There are various short-term and long-term effects of benzo abuse on the brain and body. Some common short-term effects of benzo abuse include mental confusion, anxiety, blurred vision, headaches, forgetfulness, irritability, and fatigue.
Common long-term effects of benzo abuse on the brain and body include disinhibition, impaired concentration, and memory, dementia, drowsiness, decreased reaction time, ataxia, loss of coordination, amnesia, permanent cognitive defects, motor vehicle crashes, muscle stiffness, depression, sexual dysfunction, and fractures of parts of the body, such as the hip.
Because benzos cause a shift in brain chemicals, it’s difficult for the brain to function properly without them. This is ultimately what causes individuals to seek more benzos.
Although very few people ever overdose on benzos alone, when mixed with other substances, using benzos can cause people to overdose, and even die. This is especially true when benzos are mixed with other sedatives, such as alcohol.
Most Commonly Abused Benzos
Xanax is the most commonly abused benzo, and also the most dangerous. Users can crush these pills and snort them causing all the effects of Xanax immediately. Valium is one of the oldest benzos available by prescription. Valium is also one of the more common benzos that are abused today, but it takes a bit longer than Xanax to affect the user. That means it’s less rewarding to abuse and thus less likely to cause serious problems.
Both Xanax and Valium are used to treat the common conditions of anxiety and sleep issues respectively. Ativan, Ambien, and Klonopin are also commonly misused benzos.
Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
When people chronically misuse benzos, they will develop a dependency on the medication. Drug dependency then turns into drug addiction. Drug dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when a person minimizes or discontinues their use of the drug.
Common benzo withdrawal symptoms include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abnormal sensations
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleeping issues
- Breathing problems
- Problems with blood pressure and heart rate
The first signs of benzo withdrawal will usually occur around 6 to 8 hours after the individual last abuses the drug. Individuals that take more of the drug for a longer period of time will suffer from more intense withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time. In some more extreme cases, it can take up to 3 months to slowly wean someone from benzos to prevent life-threatening symptoms.
Causes Of Benzo Addiction
Individuals develop benzo addictions for a number of reasons. One common reason why a person may develop a benzo addiction is that he or she took more of the prescription medications than the doctor prescribed.
Another common reason why a person may develop a benzo addiction is that he or she is taking benzodiazepines for a longer period of time than the doctor prescribed. When individuals take more of their medications than what they were prescribed to take or take their prescription medications for a longer period of time than what they were supposed to, it’s because such people genuinely feel that making these decisions will further lead them to overcome their conditions. Unfortunately though, doing so often leads to benzo addiction.
Recreational users of benzos are individuals who never had a prescription for the medication. These individuals are abusing benzos for recreational purposes and to achieve euphoric effects. Individuals will purchase their benzos from drug dealers or steal them from people with a legitimate prescription. This is extremely dangerous because they don’t know exactly what they are taking and how it will affect them.
Often, people that misuse benzos intentionally do so because they want to feel the relaxing and euphoric effects of the medications. Regardless of whether or not a person’s misuse of benzos is intentional or not though, it will still likely lead to benzo addiction.
Signs Of Benzo Addiction
There are numerous warning signs of benzo addiction. Some of the most common warning signs of benzo addiction include:
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulties with relationships at home
- Work and school problems
- Obsession with trying to secure benzos or the money to buy benzos
- Criminal behavior
- Inability to handle basic responsibilities like paying bills
Signs of Benzo Overdose
Some individuals that misuse benzos mix prescription medication with other substances. Doing this is highly dangerous and can lead to overdose, or even death. Common signs of benzo overdose include:
- Trouble breathing
- Blue lips and fingernails
- Blurred or double vision
- Loss of motor function
- A profoundly altered mental state
Benzo Detox Recovery
To treat benzo addiction and avoid benzo overdose, individuals should attend benzo detox recovery followed by rehab for benzo addiction. Benzo detox should occur in a medical detox facility. That way there are physicians and medical staff monitoring the entire detox process.
One benefit to having physicians and medical staff monitoring the detox process is that they can provide individuals who are detoxing prescription medications to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms. This is great for individuals that are detoxing from highly addictive substances with a wide range of intense withdrawal symptoms such as benzos.
Benzo Detox Medications
Detoxing from benzodiazepines can be difficult. Most people gradually reduce their dose until it’s safe to stop taking the drug altogether, but there are also medications that can help relieve withdrawal symptoms during this period. Common benzo detox medications include:
People with a generalized anxiety disorder who have a history of substance abuse can benefit from buspirone. Buspirone doesn’t cause physical dependence and may relieve the emotional effects of withdrawal. However, this drug takes 2-3 weeks before it begins to take effect so patients in detox may begin taking buspirone as they taper down their benzo doses.
This drug is primarily used to treat benzodiazepine overdoses but has shown some success in reducing withdrawal symptoms of long-acting benzos. Flumazenil attaches to the same pleasure centers as benzodiazepines and rapidly detoxes them from the body by forcing them out. This should be done with caution due to its risk of worsening withdrawal symptoms following rapid detoxification.
Attending Rehab For Benzodiazepine Addiction
Once individuals complete benzo detox recovery, the next step is rehab for benzo addiction. During benzo addiction treatment, individuals will receive different forms of addiction therapy. These addiction therapies will help individuals that suffer from benzo addiction identify their addiction triggers.
Once addiction triggers are identified, addiction therapies will teach the benzo addict how to manage his or her addiction triggers. That way, once individuals leave benzo addiction treatment, they can function in the real world as sober individuals. Common forms of therapy that are used during benzo addiction treatment include psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and holistic therapy.
Rehab For Benzodiazepine Addiction At Little Creek Recovery
Little Creek Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center that’s located in Pennsylvania. One thing that sets Little Creek Recovery apart from other alcohol and drug treatment centers is that it specializes in treating men. As a result, all of the inpatient treatment programs at Little Creek Lodge are for men only. Women that want to attend rehab for benzo addiction at Little Creek Lodge must attend one of the recovery center’s co-ed outpatient treatment programs.
The reason why we here at Little Creek specialize in treating men only for addiction is that we know that men struggle with substance abuse at much higher rates than women. Little Creek also understands that it’s often harder for men to open up in addiction therapy than it is for women. Therefore, we here at Little Creek decided to dedicate our efforts to treating men that suffer from addiction to substances such as benzos.
To help men open up and make the most out of addiction treatment, we integrate internalized recovery through therapeutic and 12 step models, with a focus on the spiritual paradigm. We do this by incorporating holistic forms of treatment, such as music therapy, into our addiction treatment programs. That way, we can treat the bodies, minds, and souls of our male patients.
If you’re a male that’s suffering from benzo addiction or some other substance addiction, take advantage of our male specialized, inpatient addiction treatment programs. Women can take advantage of the outpatient addiction treatment programs here at Little Creek Recovery.
Contact Our Rehab For Benzodiazepine Addiction Today
If you want to learn more information about us first, contact us today! We are more than willing to answer any questions that you may have about our addiction treatment center.