Benzodiazepines Addiction and Treatment Options

Benzodiazepines Addiction

This article discusses benzodiazepine addiction, symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction, and treatment options.

Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs that act on the brain and central nervous system, primarily to relax muscles and relieve anxiety. Diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam are the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines.

Addiction to benzodiazepines is a serious issue that affects many people in the United Kingdom and around the world. When abused recreationally or in a medical setting, the drug has been found to be highly addictive. Although some people abuse benzodiazepines for recreational purposes, many others use them to self-medicate and treat anxiety, insomnia, or depression.

What Are Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, a highly addictive type of prescription drug, are used to treat a variety of conditions such as anxiety, stress, panic disorders, and seizures. They work by slowing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, which depresses the central nervous system.

Benzodiazepines have been used for more than 50 years and have been linked to addiction and dependence, despite the fact that the majority of people who use them are unaware of these risks. Families and loved ones must be aware of the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction in order to seek treatment.

Benzodiazepines are classified into six types: alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Ambien), and phenobarbital (Halcion). Because of the drug’s addictive nature, it should only be used for short periods of time, usually no more than four weeks at a time. Drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, and seizures are all possible side effects of benzodiazepines.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines are frequently misused and abused, which leads to addiction. The following are signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction:

  • wanting to take higher doses of the drug
  • difficulty in stopping or reducing the amount taken
  • struggling to function without the drug
  • continuing to take the drug despite its effects on their physical and mental health
  • having reduced inhibitions and impaired judgement
  • having withdrawal symptoms like heightened sensitivity, anxiety, depression, tremors, and sleep disturbances

If someone has a benzodiazepine addiction, they may also detach from their regular life and distance themselves from their responsibilities and relationships.

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines are a sedative class of prescription drugs, and they have a calming effect. A person struggling with a benzodiazepine addiction will exhibit a variety of symptoms. Some of the physical, psychological, and behavioural symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse include:

  • Asking loved ones for a supply of benzodiazepine pills
  • Blurred vision
  • Combining the drug with alcohol or other drugs
  • Drowsiness
  • Frequent doctor and pharmacy shopping
  • Impaired judgment or thinking
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Poor coordination
  • Risk-taking behaviours, such as driving after abusing benzodiazepines
  • Unsteadiness on feet
  • Wanting to cut back on the volume of abuse but not being able to do so
  • Weakness

Due to tolerance, a person will require a higher volume of the drug to achieve the desired high over time. Furthermore, benzodiazepines can be combined with other substances, increasing toxicity and the risk of fatal overdoses. When the drug is no longer abused or the dosage is significantly reduced, withdrawal symptoms usually appear.

The Cause of Benzodiazepines Addiction

When a person takes the drug for an extended period of time or in higher doses than prescribed, benzodiazepine addiction can develop. Benzodiazepine addiction can also occur when benzodiazepines are combined with other drugs or alcohol.

Benzodiazepines are extremely addictive, and addiction can occur even when the medication is prescribed. Craving for the drug, withdrawal symptoms, metallic tastes in the mouth, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light are all symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction.

A List of Common Benzodiazepine

Xanaxused to treat anxiety and panic disorders
Klonopinused to treat seizure disorders and panic disorders
Valiumused to treat symptoms of anxiety, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and as a sedative before surgery or to treat seizures
Ativanused to assist people with panic disorder who can’t sleep through the night
Ambienused to assist people with panic disorder who can’t sleep through the night

While some benzodiazepines have a sedative effect, others have an amnesic one.

Who Are at Risk of Benzodiazepines Addiction

People of all ages, genders, and backgrounds are at risk of benzodiazepine abuse. It is, however, most common in young adults and adults. Benzodiazepines were initially developed to help people suffering from mental or physical health issues. Those who are addicted to benzodiazepines are not motivated by a desire to improve their lives, but rather by chemical changes deep within the brain.

Benzodiazepine addiction usually begins with the proper use of the drug, but some people disregard their doctors’ advice and prescriptions and end up with addictions. Recreational users, on the other hand, obtain the drugs whenever and wherever they can and abuse them for euphoric or relaxing purposes without a prescription.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

To manage withdrawal symptoms, benzodiazepine addiction is typically treated with residential treatment, which includes medically supervised detoxification. The first step is a clinical evaluation, which helps determine the level of treatment required.

Benzodiazepines are addictive and habit-forming drugs, but there are effective treatment options for those who have become addicted to the drug. These treatment options commonly include detoxification, rehabilitation, and ongoing therapy, and typically involve working with a specialist to help manage the addiction and restore normal functioning.

There are several types of benzodiazepine addiction situations, including tachyphylaxis (a decrease in the drug’s effectiveness), withdrawal syndrome (a set of symptoms that occur when someone stops taking benzodiazepines), and tolerance (the need for increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect). The best way to avoid benzodiazepine addiction is to be aware of the symptoms and seek help if any of them appear.

Because benzodiazepines are addictive and can cause physical dependence, a medically supervised detox is required to overcome an addiction and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. During a detox, experienced staff will ensure the comfort and safety of the patient at all times, as well as monitor the withdrawal symptoms and detox progress while providing appropriate treatment.

Individual, group, and psychiatrist consultation appointments are among the treatment options for benzodiazepine addiction. These counselling sessions are important because they teach people how to deal with their addiction, manage their symptoms, and live a healthy, benzodiazepine-free lifestyle.

Many people have had long-term success using a combination of treatments such as those used at The Hills. If you or a loved one is addicted to benzodiazepines, help is only a phone call away.

Withdrawal From Benzodiazepines

When benzodiazepine withdrawal is not properly managed, it can be extremely painful and even fatal. Clinicians advise against self-detoxification. A professional detox and rehabilitation centre can help you manage your symptoms and keep you safe during the detox process. The severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms varies from person to person, and it is dependent on the specific drug and the length of time it was abused.

Withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, muscle tension, aches, nausea and vomiting, agitation and irritability, anxiety and panic attacks, poor concentration and memory, hallucinations, delusions and paranoia, confusion, and delirium, especially in the elderly.

Seizures and delirium are symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal, which is similar to alcohol withdrawal. Seizures can occur anywhere between 1 and 12 days after the last dose.

The severity of seizure symptoms varies, but in most cases, they can be withheld safely and gradually over several weeks. If withdrawal symptoms appear early in the withdrawal process, they may improve with time and, if necessary, corticosteroids may be prescribed. The length of time it takes for benzodiazepines to leave the body depends on how long they have been taken and the type of benzodiazepine being withdrawn from.

After discontinuing benzodiazepines, some people experience mild residual effects; these effects typically fade over time but may last longer for some people than others.

The severity of seizure symptoms varies, but in most cases, they can be withheld safely and gradually over several weeks.

Convincing a Loved One to a Benzodiazepine Addiction

Addiction works at the subconscious level, prompting people to seek out and abuse drugs even when they are aware of the negative consequences. An intervention helps families to outline the symptoms of addiction they have seen in the person they love and enumerate the benefits of drug rehab.

Formats of typical interventions for benzodiazepines are a meeting with family members and friends, every person bringing a prepared speech, and everyone reading letters while the person struggling with addiction listens. As soon as the agreement is made, treatment begins.

Recovery from Benzodiazepine Addiction

Although there are outpatient treatment options for benzodiazepine addiction, an inpatient or residential detox and an inpatient addiction treatment programme are strongly advised for those who have both a heavy physical and psychological dependence on the drug. Benzodiazepine addiction cannot be treated in a general practitioner’s office.

Benzodiazepines are difficult to detox from, necessitating a gradual withdrawal process that involves decreasing dosage gradually over weeks or months. To aid in the detox process, medications may be required.

If you are struggling with or know a loved one who needs help with benzodiazepine addiction, contact The Hills Rehab. Our new facility in therapeutic settings is staffed with some of the best clinical therapist in the country and provides tailor-made benzodiazepine addiction treatment to meet each individual’s needs. Call us today for clinical assessment and begin your journey to a benzodiazepine-free life.

The Hills Rehab Chiangmai

Dr. Sutthipan Takkapaijit

Dr. Sutthipan Takkapaijit

Clinical Psychiatrist

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