How People Get Addicted to Benzos

Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are a class of sedatives available only with a doctor’s prescription and have a number of accepted medical purposes. Most often, they provide a soothing effect that makes them a common treatment for anxiety. Understanding the mechanism of action of benzodiazepines might help ease your mind if you are taking one. Or you have concerns about developing a physical dependence on it. Help with overcoming benzodiazepine dependence or addressing the underlying causes of anxiety is available at every rehab center in Pennsylvania. You might be curious about how people get addicted to benzos. Or whether or not benzodiazepine use disorder affects your brain and body. In today’s post, we’ll answer all of that.

What are benzodiazepines for?

Benzodiazepines are often used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, muscular spasms, sleeplessness, and alcohol withdrawal and are so classified as tranquilizers. Patients having medical operations sometimes take these drugs to help them relax and feel more at ease, or to create amnesia so they don’t remember any of the unpleasant sensations they experienced.

a man taking medicine
Benzodiazepines are more common than you think.

Among the most common benzodiazepines administered are:

  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)

The prescription of barbiturates has largely given way to the use of benzodiazepines because of their reputation for being less dangerous. Short-term and prescribed usage may make them safer, but long-term or improper use might lead to severe addiction. Even while benzodiazepines pose little risk of overdose when used alone, they may become exceedingly dangerous—even fatal—when combined with alcohol, other sedatives, or opioids.

Barbiturates continue to be one of the most often misused substances of this kind. These may temper the excessive excitation amplified with stimulants like cocaine. Combining both of these substances greatly increases the risk of serious illness or death. This is why it’s very important for you to go through a prescription drug addiction treatment on time.

What side effects do benzodiazepines have?

When taken, benzodiazepines affect the CNS via binding to receptors in the brain that control anxiety, movement, and other activities. When the brain receives messages via neurotransmitters, it releases chemicals that induce sleepiness and calmness. These chemicals cause the muscles to relax and the brain to slow down.

In the same way, as opioids do, benzodiazepines trigger the production of dopamine and endorphins, which have a euphoric effect on the body. When these hormones are released, the user experiences a surge of pleasure and may become dependent on those emotions. Users may go over and beyond recommended dose or frequency in an effort to maintain a condition of serenity and happiness. Drug tolerance develops with repeated dosing, necessitating ever-greater quantities to get the same effect. It’s a vicious cycle that may result in benzodiazepine addiction.

a woman taking meds
More and more people are starting to take benzos without knowing the risks it comes with.

How people get addicted to benzos?

Receptors in the brain evolve and adapt if someone has been taking benzodiazepines frequently for days, weeks, or longer. Constant exposure to benzodiazepines may alter the function of the brain region responsible for regulating mood and happiness, potentially leading to a state of dependency. The afflicted individual cannot experience positive emotions without the medication. In such cases, you will most likely have to go to an inpatient drug rehab in Pennsylvania to get help.

Having a dependency on something is not the same as being addicted to it. Everyone who uses drugs, whether legally or illegally, eventually becomes dependent on them. As tolerance increases, however, you will need greater doses of the drug to provide the same high. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms experienced when a substance is no longer being used is directly related to the degree of dependency the user has established.

Addiction is a chronic disease that causes individuals to misuse drugs despite experiencing unfavorable outcomes. An overdose of benzodiazepines alone is unlikely to be lethal. But fatal overdoses are more common when the medication is combined with alcohol or other substances.

How do you know if you have an addiction?

Most people who have used benzo drugs under a doctor’s supervision do not consider themselves to be chemically dependent on them. Some symptoms show when your body has developed a tolerance to certain drugs. Possible indicators include:

  • You have frequent ideas about or urges for benzo usage.
  • Your medication supply depletes faster than it should.
  • If you stop taking these drugs, you may have symptoms of panic or anxiety.
  • You’ve engaged in “doctor shopping,” or seen many doctors in search of the same treatment.

If you see any of these signs, it may be time to consider a benzo taper or get help from an addiction treatment clinic. If you live in Pennsylvania and are interested in benzo addiction treatment, Little Creek Center can assist you.

How long does it take to develop a tolerance to benzos?

More so than their longer-acting counterparts, the shorter-acting benzos are highly addictive. This is because the sedative effects of the shorter-acting benzos wear off more quickly and strongly, and their come-down is more severe. According to the research, tolerance to the benzo may develop in as little as two days, and dependence can set in within a week or two (Alcohol and Drug Foundation).

When your body develops tolerance to a medicine, you may need to take more of it to have the same benefit. During our time in clinical practice, we’ve learned that if you’ve been using benzo for more than a few days, you shouldn’t just stop taking it all of a sudden.

To be dependent implies that the medication (or substance) has altered your neurochemistry and your body needs it to maintain homeostasis/balance/equilibrium. For example, when you take a benzo after you had a GABA stimulus, the body reduces its own internal synthesis of GABA to maintain homeostasis. There will be withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop receiving that stimulus.

Medical treatment for severe benzodiazepine abuse

There may be times when a partial hospitalization program Pennsylvania is necessary due to acute benzodiazepine intoxication. To counteract the effects of medications, physicians may use activated charcoal or, in extreme circumstances, stomach pumping. Nausea, vomiting, and cramping in the stomach are just a few of the negative reactions activated charcoal may bring. Evaluation by medical professionals may be sufficient until benzodiazepine levels have reached dangerous levels.

A severe sedative effect may occur if benzodiazepines have built up to a toxic level in the body. Those who are very toxic may seem to be unresponsive, unconscious, or even in a coma, with slowed breathing. The antidote for flumazenil’s toxic effects (Romazicon). The potential for withdrawal symptoms and seizures makes this medicine a last resort. Flumazenil’s potentially lethal interactions with alcohol should scare you.

Recovery treatment programs for benzodiazepine abuse

The first phase of treatment is detox. And once patients complete it, they may then continue their treatment for benzo addiction at our Little Creek rehabilitation facility near Lake Ariel. Our three-step therapeutic method for benzo addiction treatment has proven very successful. Our patients in benzo rehab will engage in a variety of therapeutic interventions.

To assist patients in getting over the shame and guilt that often accompany addiction, we have created a three-stage treatment plan. The comfort and security of our patients are our priority. And we work hard to make them feel at home here during their IOP Pennsylvania treatment. Our mission is to provide our patients with a voice via a number of patient advocacy initiatives. Our patients will leave here with the tools they need to maintain sobriety and thrive in the real world. However, you must go through our admissions procedure before starting rehabilitation.

a sad man thinking about how how people get addicted to benzos and laying on a sofa
If you have an addiction, you most likely have to go through inpatient rehab.

Admission process

The first step to recovery is usually the hardest: admitting you need assistance. As a result, we’ve worked to make our application procedure as straightforward as possible. Please remember that there are certain restrictions on who may enter our rehab facility, the most important being that we exclusively treat adult males. There are a number of considerations that led to this conclusion. To start, we aimed to make it such that the males there would feel comfortable talking about their drug use. Men sometimes feel less comfortable opening up about their struggles. Further, the prevalence of addiction is often greater among males than among women. Therefore, we felt it necessary to establish a separate institution catering only to male patients.

Learn more about how to enroll in one of our benzodiazepine rehabilitation programs by reading the admissions requirements on our dedicated website page. After completing admissions, you will be able to begin your treatment here.

How long does the program last?

Most patients are concerned about the length of their stay at our institution before deciding to pursue treatment for benzo addiction. There is, however, no foolproof way to determine how long an individual will be in the hospital. We think that the process of healing is different for everyone. Fortunately, we are able to provide you with general recommendations.

Our 30-day residential benzodiazepine rehabilitation program requires a minimum stay of 30 days at our facility. However, not all patients are ready to go from inpatient to outpatient detox rehab PA when the 30-day mark has passed. Some people choose to participate in our residential extended care programs for up to 90 days. Before transitioning to outpatient care, patients must feel that they have made considerable progress in our treatment programs.

What is Post-Acute Withdrawal from Benzodiazepines (PAWS)?

Some people develop Post-Acute Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome if they abruptly stop using the drug after depending on it for a long time (otherwise known as PAWS). If the withdrawal symptoms from benzos last for an unusually long time, it may be PAWS.

To sum up:

  • During the acute withdrawal phase, symptoms are at their worst for about two weeks after stopping use and gradually lessen over the next month.
  • Panic attacks, anxiety, sleeplessness, restlessness, dizziness, and muscular jerks and twitches are all examples of symptoms associated with anxiety states. Benzo withdrawal also causes a number of less prevalent symptoms (depersonalization, derealization, hallucinations, hypersensitivity of the nervous system, ear ringing, psychosis, and more).
  • As the acute withdrawal symptoms begin to lessen, the following phase, known as the Protracted Withdrawal Phase, begins. During this time, people may have two improvements followed by a relapse. Sleep problems, anxiety, depression, cognitive challenges, gastrointestinal abnormalities, and other sensory and motor disorders are only some of the long-term symptoms that may persist.

How can I prevent or reduce benzo withdrawal?

Acknowledging the potential for tolerance and reliance is the first step. You should know the potential side effects and positive outcomes of any drug or supplement you use. Read up on the topic, have a conversation with your doctor, and feel secure in your decision.

Before starting to use benzos, you may want to consider the following:

  • Do not use any short-acting benzos since they are very addictive.
  • If you must use benzos, attempt to limit your usage as much as possible.
  • It’s important to treat the underlying issue while taking medicine.
  • If you are taking benzo and other drugs, be sure to ask your doctor if there will be any negative interactions.
  • Do not use any benzo drugs if you have a history of substance abuse.
  • Gather all the people who can aid you: friends, family, medical professionals, counselors, etc.

How can I enhance my GABA levels without resorting to benzos?

Now that you know how people get addicted to benzos, you may also wanna know about some alternatives. Anxiety, stress, overload, panic attacks, and sleeplessness all have numerous effective natural therapies. Extensive studies on a wide variety of integrative treatments have shown their efficacy. Medical professionals often prescribe benzos when they feel they have no other options, leaving you to not only survive through the day but serve as your own integrative practitioner, which may be quite demanding. You don’t have to go that route. In fact, therapy alone is often more than enough. At Scranton rehab center, you can learn about different types of therapy so you and your doctor can decide what is best for you.

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