Benzodiazepines, also referred to as benzos, are among the class of sedative drugs known as tranquilizers. They can be obtained with a prescription and they are often prescribed by doctors and psychiatrists to treat a variety of symptoms, most frequently anxiety. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic attacks and sometimes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are conditions that benzodiazepines may be prescribed for. The drug’s hypnotic characteristic allows it to be used to treat insomnia, as well. Benzos are also sometimes used for seizure control, as a muscle relaxer and to treat alcohol withdrawal.
Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Ativan are all commonly prescribed benzodiazepines. Some critics have considered benzos to be over-prescribed and their excessive availability has become problematic. Recreational use of benzos is now a regular occurrence. At high doses, intoxication from benzodiazepines can result in significantly impaired judgment, drowsiness, confusion and lapses in memory. It has become the most recent culprit to be used as a “date rape” drug.
People who use benzos for an extended length of time are likely to develop a physical dependence. This physical dependence is characterized by moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms that are paradoxical to the desired effects in regards to the symptoms they are prescribed to treat. Extreme rebounds in anxiety can occur. Irritability, panic attacks and returning insomnia are often symptoms of benzo withdrawal. Seizures and life-threatening complications make the detoxification process from benzodiazepines dangerous. Addicts need to be tapered off these drugs under medical supervision, preferably in a detox center.
Due to the high potential for addiction and dependence involved with benzos, it is suggested that no patient be prescribed benzodiazepines for a length of time longer than 2-4 weeks and the lowest effective dose possible is preferable, but tolerance to the substance can quickly arise and higher doses will be required to reach the same effects. Their sedative quality make benzos at risk to be abused by individuals with histories of addiction. While these drugs can successfully relieve anxiety symptoms, the risk involved in taking them is markedly significant.
Indications of benzo abuse could be an evident recurring state of drowsiness and apathy. Slurred speech, lack of coordination, slowed reaction time and difficulty concentrating or remembering things are noticeable signs someone may be abusing benzos. As an addiction to benzos progresses, serious health problems and psychological consequences arise. Inability to feel emotions, deep depression and thoughts of suicide are evident in the later stages of the progression.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t wait any longer to get help. Treatment is important. Therapy and group support are necessary to understand the root causes of addiction and learn how to deal with cravings in the future. Inspire Recovery is here to provide solutions in facing and overcoming addiction and to help create a better life. Call today to schedule an assessment and find out how we can help you.