Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in this country. In fact, 12.5 percent of adults use these drugs. Although these are prescription medicines, it is common for abuse to occur. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 30 people in the United States suffer from benzodiazepine overdoses each day. Due to the addictive nature of these drugs, it is easy to become hooked. When a problem is detected, it is essential to seek help from one of the top benzo treatment centers. At BRC Healthcare, we are ready to provide effective means of benzo detox recovery.
What are Benzodiazepines?
Indeed, benzodiazepines depress a person’s central nervous system. In other words, they slow some of the brain’s activity. This can cause drowsiness. For this reason, they are used to help people with high levels of anxiety and insomnia. Other times, they are used to treat epilepsy and alcohol withdrawal. Benzos are sedatives that are prescribed to lessen the symptoms of bipolar disorder as well. In other words, they help to control manic symptoms like agitation and restlessness.
How Do Benzos Work?
Benzodiazepines work by increasing the effects of gamma aminobutyric acid in the brain. This is a chemical that is responsible for memory, emotions, reasoning, and essential functions. As a result, a person’s muscles are relaxed, and sedation often occurs.
What are Some of the Most Common Prescription Benzos?
To repeat, a great deal of Americans use benzodiazepines. However, most are prescribed by physicians. It is important to identify some of the prescription drugs in this category.
- Valium (diazepam)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Klonopin (clorazepam)
- Restoril (temazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
Why are Benzos so Addictive?
Benzos are excellent for controlling short-term symptoms of chronic medical issues and physical health problems. However, it may be dangerous to take them for longer than a few weeks at a time. In fact, conditions like PTSD and COPD require long-term use of drugs. Unfortunately, this raises the risk of developing depression and other negative health effects.
Markedly, benzos produce pleasurable sensations in the brain. In other words, they raise levels of dopamine, which can boost the mood and make a person feel incredibly good. With chronic use, an individual becomes used to taking a certain amount of the drug and must take more to receive the same effects. In fact, after three weeks of regular use, dependency is likely, especially if a person uses higher amounts than prescribed. To return to a sober life, it is recommended to seek benzodiazepine addiction treatment.
Who is at Risk for Abusing Benzos?
To repeat, a number of people take benzos to control anxiety or similar problems. However, scientific data suggests that one-in-five people who take these prescription medicines misuse them. Dr. Donovan Maust, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, explains that adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to misuse benzos.
To make matters worse, overdose deaths that are associated with benzos are on the rise and continue to grow exponentially. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine noted an 800 percent increase from 1999 to 2015 in overdose cases. Some explanations point to America’s extreme opioid crisis. Also, a high number of doctors continue to prescribe these drugs. For this reason, more and more people are seeking benzo addiction treatment.
Dangers of Mixing Benzo with Alcohol
To emphasize, benzodiazepines and alcohol both depress a person’s nervous system. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that these drugs are commonly used in tandem with other prescriptions or alcohol. In fact, this combination is known to enhance their effects. For example, if a person drinks a high amount of alcohol along with using benzodiazepines, he or she will experience increased levels of lethargy and sedation. Also, he or she is at a higher risk of becoming unconscious or blacking out.
To explain, the liver is made to metabolize these substances. However, when a person drinks heavily, metabolizing alcohol becomes the body’s priority. This means that he or she may begin to build high levels of benzos in the body.
Indeed, there are many dangers linked to mixing alcohol with benzos.
- Heightened Aggression
- Impaired Cognition
In fact, consuming both of these items at the same time decreases the flow of blood to the brain. As a result, a person may have judgment issues. Also, it is possible for an individual to become confused about his or her environment. At high doses, a mixture can lead to blackouts or overdoses. Benzodiazepine addiction treatment provides help for misuse problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Misuse
To be sure, there are a few signs and symptoms of benzo misuse. When a person exhibits these signs, it may be necessary to seek benzodiazepine addiction treatment.
- Take the drug in a larger quantity than prescribed
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop using this medication
- Strong benzo cravings
- Being unable to complete normal daily activities without drug use
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Marked tolerance
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Low inhibitions
Dangers of Benzodiazepine Misuse
In fact, there are dangerous results that come from using benzos. Indeed, worse effects are felt when the drug is mixed with alcohol or other medications.
- Increased risk of birth defects
- Heightened risk of developing dementia
- Increased risk of falls or injuries
- Frequent bouts of violent behavior
Although benzodiazepines are meant to help people who need relief from mental health issues, high doses may have the opposite effect. For example, a person may experience periods of insomnia when taking too much. Also, a person may feel emotionally numb. Many times, this begins a negative cycle. A person may take more so that his or her symptoms subside. However, this makes the symptoms worse. Researchers have found that people with persistently high levels of benzodiazepines in their systems experience serious bouts of depression. This raises the risks of developing suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Signs of Benzodiazepine Overdose
Certainly, when an individual takes high doses of benzos, toxic levels are reached in the body that slow his or her nervous system. Many symptoms of an overdose resemble alcohol intoxication.
- Blurred vision
- Slow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Stomach issues
Dangers Associated with Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
An individual who misuses benzodiazepines may experience severe withdrawal when the drugs are stopped. Without medical supervision, the process may be dangerous. In fact, the beginning signs of withdrawal start within six hours for short-acting benzos. Some symptoms can be quite debilitating. Therefore, it is advised to seek professional benzodiazepine addiction treatment. Benzo treatment centers offer protection and can help prevent serious side effects, including seizures.
Benzo Detox Recovery Medications
To emphasize, the first step of benzo addiction treatment is detox. A medically-supervised detox helps an individual remain safe and healthy while starting back on the road to sobriety. Also, a person will experience much less discomfort throughout the process. When a person is kept comfortable, cravings are decreased. As a result, there will be a lower likelihood of relapse.
In fact, the detox process during benzodiazepine addiction treatment involves a taper down method. In other words, the medication is reduced a bit over time. To aid with the process, certain benzo detox medications are used.
- This drug is used to help people with anxiety and a history of substance misuse. It does not cause dependency but controls emotional symptoms of the withdrawal process.
- Commonly, this is used to treat benzo overdose cases. However, it has been shown to decrease withdrawal symptoms that are associated with long-acting benzos. It blocks the effects of the drugs and relieves negative effects that come from stopping the medication.
Effective Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment
To achieve a successful benzo detox recovery, it is essential to receive professional guidance. Benzo treatment centers offer safe and comfortable environments for people who recognize a problem. A patient receives medical supervision and constant care. Also, unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal are managed.
At BRC Healthcare, we provide holistic care to individuals who are struggling with drug misuse, including prescription drug addiction. Effective benzodiazepine addiction treatment includes various therapy sessions. For example, group and family therapies provide essential support. Individual counseling with a certified therapist is vital as well. A person learns ways to cope with stress without leaning on prescription medication. At BRC Healthcare, our goal is to help patients avoid relapse so that they can get back to their normal lives. For more information about benzo treatment centers, contact us today.