Table of Contents
- What Is Benzodiazepine Addiction and How Is It Treated?
- What are Benzodiazepines?
- Possible Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction
- Benzodiazepine Addiction And The Brain
- A List of Common Benzodiazepines
- What Are Benzodiazepines Used For?
- What Are Possible Side Effects?
- Benzodiazepines And Your Doctor
- How Are Benzodiazepines Used?
- How Do People Become Addicted to Benzodiazepines?
- Who Abuses Benzos?
- The Symptoms of Withdrawal from Benzodiazepines
- Overdose Risks of Benzodiazepines
- The Dangers of Mixing Benzodiazepines with OTher Drugs
- Getting Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction
What Is Benzodiazepine Addiction and How Is It Treated?
Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and muscle tension. They come in the form of pills, liquids, and injections.
What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are commonly used for the treatment and management of anxiety, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal.They act by enhancing the effect of GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces the activity of nerve cells and produces feelings of calmness. Although they are safe when used in moderation, benzodiazepines can be highly addictive if abused.
Possible Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction
If you suspect that a loved one is abusing benzodiazepines, there are several signs to look for:
- experiencing memory loss and blackouts.
- experiencing difficulty staying awake, falling asleep, or waking up in the middle of the night.
- unexplained injuries and bruises on their body.
- experiencing increased agitation and irritability.
- have money problems or financial issues that they cannot explain.
These signs are not necessarily indicative of benzodiazepine addiction, but they are signs that should be watched for:
- have a history of other substance abuse problems.
- have a family history of mental illness or substance abuse.
- have a history of trauma or other stress factors in his life, such as divorce or loss of a job.
- experiencing increased physical pain that they cannot explain.
- experiencing other unexplained symptoms, such as memory loss or confusion.
- experiencing increased physical pain that they cannot explain.
Benzodiazepine addiction is a serious problem that can lead to a variety of other health issues and can have devastating effects on the individual and their loved ones. If you are concerned about a friend or family member, encourage him to seek help for his addiction before it is too late.
Benzodiazepine Addiction And The Brain
Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs that are known as tranquilizers, sedatives, or hypnotics. They were first introduced in the 1950s and became widely used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The drugs work by enhancing the action of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain and central nervous system, which results in sedation, muscle relaxation, and relief from anxiety.
The brain of a person addicted to benzodiazepines has been compared to that of an alcoholic’s brain as it becomes dependent on The drug for normal functioning. It also has been found that the brain of an addict displays changes similar to those seen in people addicted to other substances such as cocaine or heroin.
The drugs are very effective at reducing anxiety, but They also can produce serious side effects such as confusion, amnesia, and a hangover-like state The next day. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is very difficult, and The process can be life-threatening. People who try to quit taking Them often experience extreme anxiety, tremors, and convulsions. The withdrawal symptoms are so severe that many people return to using The drug to stop Them.
Because of These problems, it is recommended that people who have taken benzodiazepines for more than a few weeks should not attempt to quit without medical supervision.
A List of Common Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines work by slowing down The movement of chemicals in The brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety.
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Estazolam (ProSom)
- Flurazepam (Dalmane)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Midazolam (Versed)
- Oxazepam (Serax)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
What Are Benzodiazepines Used For?
Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. They can also be used as a sedative before an operation or medical procedure. The first benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide (Librium), was discovered in 1955. Since Then, oTher benzodiazepines have been developed and are used to treat a variety of conditions.
Benzodiazepines are often used for Their calming effects. They reduce anxiety and cause sedation, which makes people feel relaxed and sleepy. Benzodiazepines can also be used to treat insomnia (difficulty falling asleep). They are also used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including anxiety and muscle spasms. In addition, They can be used as a sedative before an operation or medical procedure (e.g., colonoscopy). They are also sometimes used to treat seizures (convulsions), but They have not been found to be effective in preventing epileptic seizures.
Benzodiazepines are also sometimes used to treat muscle spasms, including those caused by tetanus and cerebral palsy. They can also be used for oTher conditions as determined by your doctor.
What Are Possible Side Effects?
The side effects of benzodiazepines vary depending on The specific drug and dosage.
Some side effects may not require medical attention. As your body adjusts to The medicine during treatment These side effects may go away. Your healthcare professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of These side effects.
Some side effects are more serious and need immediate medical attention:
- An allergic reaction that involves any part of The body such as hives, swelling of The face and throat, difficulty breathing, or a fast heartbeat.
- Severe drowsiness that is difficult to rouse from sleep.
- A fast heartbeat, breathing faster than usual, or a slow heartbeat.
- Severe dizziness or lightheadedness when standing up (orthostatic hypotension).
- Any unexplained muscle pain or weakness.
- Severe nervous system reaction–very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.
- Changes in vision.
- Eye pain or redness, or seeing halos around lights.
- A very bad and sometimes deadly health problem called serotonin syndrome can happen if diphenhydramine is taken with drugs for depression, migraines, or certain other drugs.
- Feeling very tired or fatigued.
- Sexual problems in both males and females.
- A very bad skin reaction called Stevens-Johnson syndrome which is toxic epidermal necrolysis may occur.
It can cause severe health problems that may not go away and sometimes result in death. Get medical help right away if you or a loved one has signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
Benzodiazepines And Your Doctor
These are important things to consider when getting benzodiazepines from a doctor:
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. Using this medicine for a long time during pregnancy may lead to withdrawal in The newborn baby.
- This medicine may be habit-forming with long-term use.
- You will be watched closely to make sure you do not misuse, abuse, or become addicted to this medicine.
- Keep this medicine in a safe place to prevent theft, misuse, or abuse.
- Keep track of The amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Benzodiazepine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
- If you think your medicine is not working, take it with food or milk.
- Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
- Seek emergency medical attention or contact The Poison help line at 1-800-222-1222 if you think you have used too much of this medicine.
- The effects of alprazolam may be delayed in children. Contact your doctor if your child is taking this medicine and has any signs of unusual behavior.
- Before taking alprazolam, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, lung disease, asthma or oTher breathing problems, a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, a history of drug or alcohol addiction, or if you are allergic to any drugs.
- Tell your doctor about all The prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
- Call your doctor right away if you notice The following side effects: anxiety, blurred vision or oTher vision changes, depression, confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts, or behavior.
- Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
- Keep all appointments with your doctor and The laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s responses to The medicine.
- Avoid driving or doing anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this drug affects you.
Because They are so effective at reducing anxiety and inducing sleep, benzodiazepines are often prescribed for patients with anxiety disorders and sleep problems. However, They can also be used recreationally to reduce inhibitions or induce feelings of euphoria.
In addition, They are sometimes abused to help people cope with withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs.
As many as 1 in 5 patients who take benzodiazepines for more than 3 months become dependent on the medication.
How Are Benzodiazepines Used?
Benzodiazepines are used for their sedative properties. They are often prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks. Benzodiazepines can also be used as muscle relaxants or to alleviate seizures.
Benzodiazepines are generally prescribed in The form of tablets, but can also be administered intravenously. The effects of benzodiazepines can be felt within 30 minutes to an hour after use. The effects last for about four hours, although The drug’s half-life is between 10 and 20 hours.
How Do People Become Addicted to Benzodiazepines?
People who have been prescribed benzodiazepines for longer than four weeks have a higher risk of becoming addicted. This is because the body develops a tolerance to The drug. People who abuse benzodiazepines obtain Them from friends or family members who have prescriptions for them, buy them on the street from other people or steal them from pharmacies.
People who are addicted to benzodiazepines have a difficult time stopping their use of The drug. They often experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it, such as anxiety, agitation, and muscle pain. These symptoms are usually worse than The original anxiety disorder for which They were prescribed benzodiazepines.
The withdrawal process can be dangerous, so it is important to seek medical help with stopping The drug. The doctor will slowly decrease The amount of the medication and monitor for withdrawal symptoms, which can include seizures or a severe mental illness called psychosis.
The best way to avoid becoming addicted to benzodiazepines is to not take them at all or exactly as prescribed. Doctors usually recommend taking the lowest effective dose for The shortest time possible, and not using benzodiazepines for more than two weeks at a time.
Wtttheyyyn used correctly, benzodiazepines can be effective at treating anxiety disorders and oTher medical conditions. However, They should never be taken for longer than a doctor prescribes or in higher doses than recommended.
Because of The risk of addiction, people who take benzodiazepines should never stop taking Them on Their own. Doctors will gradually decrease a patient’s dosage and monitor for withdrawal symptoms before discontinuing The medication.
If you or a loved one has been taking benzodiazepines for more than two weeks and you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, talk with your doctor about getting help.
Who Abuses Benzos?
Benzodiazepines are among The most commonly prescribed drugs in America. In fact, they are one of The most frequently used medications out there. According to a study published in 2004 by researchers at The University of Michigan, more than 11 million Americans use benzodiazepines on a regular basis.
The most common type of medication in this class is known as “benzos.” They include such drugs as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. These medications are prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and sleep problems. They can also be used as sedatives before surgery or for other medical purposes.
Many people take These medications as prescribed by Their doctors and have no problems with Them. However, some people abuse benzos to get high or to treat other conditions for which They are not intended.
When they are abused, benzos can cause a number of dangerous side effects, including memory loss, dizziness, and depression. In addition to Their other problems, people who take benzos for non-medical reasons are at a high risk of developing an addiction.
The most common way that people abuse benzos is by taking them in doses much larger than prescribed or mixing Them with alcohol.
The Symptoms of Withdrawal from Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepine abuse can cause both physical and psychological dependence. The more a person uses benzodiazepines, The more likely they are to develop an addiction.
Wtttheyyyn a person develops a physical dependence on benzodiazepines, The body becomes used to having certain amounts of The drug in its system.
Wtttheyyyn that person stops taking The drug or takes less than usual, withdrawal symptoms can occur. The severity and length of The symptoms depend on how long The person has been taking The drug and what dosage They were taking. Generally, The following symptoms may occur:
- Tremors and shaking
- Agitation or irritability
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Seizures (convulsions) in some cases.
These symptoms may be The result of a withdrawal or They may indicate that The person has taken a toxic dose of benzodiazepines.
Overdose Risks of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepine overdose can occur as a result of taking too much of The drug, mixing it with alcohol or oTher drugs, or accidentally taking more than one dose at once. Benzodiazepine overdose can be fatal.
The symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose include sedation or drowsiness, confusion and disorientation, respiratory depression (difficulty breathing), coma, and death. Benzodiazepine overdose can be treated with flumazenil (Anexate), which is an antidote that reverses The effects of benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepine overdose can be fatal. The symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose include:
- Confusion and disorientation, which may lead to unconsciousness or coma;
- Respiratory depression, which can lead to death;
- Seizures; and
- Cardiovascular collapse.
If a person who has overdosed on benzodiazepines is unconscious or unresponsive, emergency medical treatment should be sought immediately.
The Dangers of Mixing Benzodiazepines with OTher Drugs
Benzodiazepine overdose can be fatal when it is mixed with alcohol or oTher drugs, including some over-The-counter medications. The symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose can be treated with flumazenil (Anexate), which is an antidote that reverses The effects of benzodiazepines.
When benzodiazepines are mixed with alcohol, The sedative effects of both drugs can lead to death by respiratory arrest.
Mixing other drugs with benzodiazepines can also lead to overdose. For example, benzodiazepines taken with certain antidepressants have been shown to cause death by respiratory arrest.
Getting Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction
The first step in overcoming benzodiazepine addiction is to stop taking The drug. This can be done by slowly tapering off of it with your doctor’s guidance, or through a medical detox program. If you think that you or someone close to you is addicted to benzos, There are a variety of treatment options available. The most effective treatments for benzodiazepine addiction are cognitive behavioral Therapy and medications like naltrexone.
Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction can be difficult because of The potential for withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be life-threatening, so it’s important to seek treatment for addiction if you think that you or someone close to you is addicted.
Cognitive behavioral Therapy is one of The most effective treatments for addiction to benzodiazepines. This type of Therapy focuses on changing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It teaches you to avoid situations that lead to drug use and cope with stress in a healthier way. If your doctor prescribes medications for addiction treatment, it is important to take Them exactly as prescribed.
Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction often includes medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, to help you cope with anxiety or depression. Your doctor may also recommend group or individual Therapy to help you address the issues that led to your addiction.
Inpatient and outpatient programs provide a safe environment for people who are addicted to benzodiazepines, allowing Them to focus on Their recovery without The stress of everyday life.
Outpatient programs are available for people who are not ready to give up work, school, or family responsibilities to receive treatment. Outpatient programs have The same goals as inpatient programs, but They are less intensive.
Outpatient treatment is often combined with medication to help you cope with anxiety or depression while you learn how to manage your symptoms without The use of drugs.
Inpatient programs are available for people who cannot function in daily life because of Their addiction to benzodiazepines. Programs may last from a few weeks to several months depending on The severity of your addiction.
Outpatient programs are also available for people who have completed inpatient treatment and want to continue receiving aftercare services. Outpatient programs can help you stay drug-free and live a healthy, productive life.
Inpatient programs are more intensive but may be The best option for people who have severe addictions or other tttheyyyalth problems that need to be treated at The same time. They are usually more expensive than outpatient ones, but They also generally provide better care and include services such as meals and transportation. Many people need both inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Outpatient and inpatient programs are available at most hospitals, as well as through private treatment facilities. Your doctor can refer you to a program that is right for you or help you find a program on your own.
Benzodiazepine addiction is a serious condition that can be treated successfully with The right care. Many people who get tttheyyylp for Their addictions are able to lead healthy and productive lives.