Benzodiazepines often referred to as benzos, are highly addictive prescription drugs given to patients who suffer from symptoms of anxiety. But, unfortunately, the addictive nature of these drugs lead many down a path of dependence and addiction.
When a person develops a benzo addiction, the use of a medicine that once helped the individual to manage mental health quickly turns to a battle with withdrawal symptoms, heightened tolerance, and health consequences.
Fortunately, with the help of a supervised medical benzo detox and an individualized treatment approach, treatment for benzodiazepine addiction can help people to overcome substance abuse.
While addiction leads to emotional and physical decline, treatment can lead to a life of well-being for those who simply make the choice to reach out for help!
Types of Benzodiazepines
Since the effects of benzos include a reduction of anxiety, they are often prescribed to patients who are living with anxiety disorders. Benzos produce their effects by stimulating the GABA neurotransmitters of the brain which are responsible for various motor and cognitive functions.
Everyone has natural GABA neurotransmitters, but the use of benzos affects the way that these transmitters respond and communicate with one another. This results in the calming effects which help those who use the medications to feel calmer.
Some specific anxiety disorders that are often treated with benzodiazepines include:
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Various phobias
Again, benzos are meant to help people who are suffering from various mental health disorders. However, using these substances often leads to more problems.
Those who use benzo medications for a while may develop a tolerance for these drugs. After becoming tolerant of these substances, many individuals become dependent on benzos and begin to abuse them.
When a person abuses drugs, it means that he or she uses the substance more often or in higher doses than the doctor has prescribed and recommended. In some cases, people use benzos more frequently than they should. Others may crush the medications and consume them using different methods (inhalation, snorting, etc.) in order to speed up the effects.
Some individuals even mix benzos with other substances, such as alcohol. This can be both harmful and deadly. So, it’s important to get professional help and treatment in order to end and overcome benzo addiction in your life.
The Problem With Benzodiazepine Prescriptions
Although benzos certainly seem to help individuals diagnosed with the above anxiety disorders, they are meant to only be used for a short amount of time because of their potential for addiction.
Additionally, prolonged use of these medications can actually lead to adverse effects. So, instead of offering helpful effects such as aiding with anxiety, long-term use of benzos can actually make anxiety worse. This is due to a developed tolerance and dependence of the drug.
When the body starts to recognize and expect the administration of a specific drug that stimulates neurotransmitters as benzos do, it begins to need more of the drug to provide the desired effects. This is known as tolerance. When the body starts to experience withdrawal effects due to lack of administration of the drug, dependence is evident.
The problem with prescription benzodiazepines is that without proper tapering and weaning of the drug, addiction is eminent with long-term use, even with a proper prescription from a doctor.
Signs of a developed dependence to benzodiazepines may include:
- Cold sweats
- Mood swings
- Anxiety attacks
- Intrusive thoughts
- Heightened anxiety
- Increased heart rate
- Lack of focus and concentration
Benzo Detox At Home Vs. Medical Detox
If an individual is experiencing dependence symptoms listed above, a detox can help to remove the drug from the person’s body. Whether the individual used benzos illegally or through direct orders of a doctor, it’s important to seek treatment to help with benzo dependence.
Although home detox may be successful for a small percentage of individuals, this detox method can also be an ineffective and even harmful choice. There’s no safer way to detox from any drug than in the comfort and control of a medical facility.
When a person ends substance use, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms. This is the body’s response to the fact that the individual is no longer using the drug. Specific withdrawal symptoms that individuals dependent on benzodiazepines can expect may include:
- Extreme agitation
- Chest pain
- Numbness of the extremities
- Loss of appetite
- Body tremors
- Cold sweats
- Suicidal thoughts
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Compulsions or seizures which may result in death
Additionally, detoxing from benzodiazepines can be extremely dangerous if done at home. This is due to the fact that withdrawal symptoms of benzos are extremely severe, even more than heroin.
Obviously, experiencing all of these withdrawal symptoms is no walk in the park. But, with medical benzodiazepine detox, medications can be administered so that severe withdrawal symptoms can be prevented, reduced, and managed.
Choosing medical benzodiazepine detox for your benzo detoxing needs not only means increased safety but increased comfort.
Detoxing with the help of certified and experienced addiction medical specialists ensures the health, safety, and comfort of individuals throughout this necessary process of recovery.
Co-occurring Therapy for Individuals Struggling with Anxiety and Addiction
For those who have struggled with a benzo addiction due to prescription to manage anxiety disorders, treatment is available to address both addiction and anxiety. Dual diagnosis treatment programs work to help individuals overcome substance abuse and mental health disorders.
After detox is complete, you’ll be able to benefit from therapy that works to not only address the underlying causes of your addiction but your anxiety disorder as well.
Along with discovering underlying issues, co-occurring disorder therapy will help to determine alternative medications or coping methods to help you manage your diagnosed anxiety disorder.
If you are struggling to taper from your prescriptions, are using benzos illegally, or wish to rid your life of addiction to benzos, Discovery Institute can help you determine your next step to obtaining a life free from addiction.