Benzodiazepines Addiction and Abuse

One of the most significant contradictions regarding drug addiction is the way people fall victim to the very medications they need to live a healthy life. It happens all the time with the prescription painkillers doctors prescribe for patients with chronic pain issues. If the patient abuses their painkillers, their best medicinal friend will quickly become their worst enemy. 

This contradiction is not confined to painkillers. It also happens a lot with substances known as Benzodiazepines or Benzos for short. Some of the most popular benzo prescription medications include Xanax, Diazepam, Klonopin, Librium, and Valium. Unfortunately, all of these are popular prescription medications that are subject to abuse.

Benzodiazepines Addiction and Abuse

The following discussion is going to focus on benzo abuse and addiction. Hopefully, you will learn something that will prompt you to consider getting treatment for your addiction to benzos.

About Benzodiazepines

Doctors typically prescribe benzodiazepines for the treatment of seizures, panic and anxiety disorders, and alcohol addiction. They act on the brain’s gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors and serve to make the brain less sensitive to stimulation. 

As long as a patient uses their benzodiazepine medications as their doctor prescribed, there’s a good chance their panic/anxiety disorder(s) will remain in check, allowing them to live a healthy life. If they decide to push the envelop and go off a prescription, there’s going to be some potentially dangerous problems out there waiting for them. Why? It turns out that benzodiazepines are highly addictive when taken in ways not intended.

How Benzodiazepine Addiction is given life

Like with other substances, benzodiazepine addictions are given life in one of two ways. For the prescription drug user who is under the care of a medical professional, the addiction gets life when the user decides to up their doses without their doctor’s permission or starts using the drug more often than dictated by their prescription. 

The other way benzodiazepine addictions are given life is through recreational drug abuse by people who have no business or reason to be taking these kinds of substances. They buy their drugs from street dealers and typically have very little understanding of how a benzo substance works or why doctors prescribe it. They enjoy the high their benzo deliver up until the point addiction takes over. Then, the real fun begins, and the cycle of addiction sets in.

The Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

If there is going to be a discussion about benzo addiction and how to deal with it, it makes sense you would want to know exactly how you can determine if you or someone you love has such an addiction. There are both physical and behavioral signs that will become apparent when someone is abusing a benzo substance like Xanax.

As for the physical signs of addiction, the addiction sufferer might display symptoms such as:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Complaints of vision issues
  • Intermittent nausea and vomiting after missing a dose
  • Loss of ability to control body coordination
  • Drowsiness and dizzy spells 

Even more troubling are the behavioral signs of benzo addiction. These are the behaviors prompted by the addiction sufferer’s battle with the cycle of addiction. The behavioral symptoms include:

  • Increasing difficulties in maintaining healthy personal relationships
  • Inability to handle personal responsibility at home, school, and work
  • Unkempt personal appearance
  • Involvement in illicit behavioral in pursuit of drugs or money to buy drugs
  • Loss of interest in hobbies 
  • A tendency to isolate away from others
  • Obsession with finding drugs

The Solution to Benzodiazepine Addiction

While benzo addiction sufferers might go off in pursuit of creative ways to arrest their addiction, there’s only one way back to sanity. It requires that the addiction sufferer submits to treatment from a reputable drug and alcohol addiction treatment center. If you have a benzo addiction, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking some internet self-help program is going to remove your dependency. It’s not that easy.

The Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment Process

The addiction treatment process you need is the same one that has saved millions of lives all over the world. To get your foot into the door of rehab, you have to be willing to admit you are powerless over benzos. That admission is the key that’s going to open the door to treatment.

Once you walk through that door, you’ll be asked to provide information about your life and the circumstances surrounding your benzo addiction. This information will become the basis of the rehab facility staff’s decision on an appropriate course of treatment. 

If they deem your addiction is significant, and you need time to detox, you’ll likely be placed in a drug detox program. You may not know it, but benzo withdrawal symptoms can be quite dangerous. Look at this list of potential withdrawal symptoms:

  • Muscle cramps, pain, and stiffening
  • High blood pressure and irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of ability to concentrate on simple tasks
  • Increase in anxiety, panic attacks, and depression
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tremors and body convulsions
  • Hallucinations

It’s not pretty. Your participation in a medically monitored detox program will drastically increase your ability to get past your withdrawal symptoms and residual cravings with a minimum of pain and discomfort.

The next phase of treatment is therapy. Today’s sophisticated addiction treatment specialist has at their disposal several modern addiction treatment methods they can customize to meet your particular needs. 

Most of your time in rehab will be spent in intensive individual therapy. You would be working with your therapist to figure out why you are powerless over your favorite benzo substance. This is vitally important information if you want any reasonable chance to arrest your addiction and get back to living a healthy life. Heed this warning: the path to a full recovery from benzo addiction goes right through your ability to be open and honest with your therapist. You put the truth out there, and your therapist will figure out what to do with it.

It everything progresses the right way, you’ll have the basis for building a line of defense against your addiction. This line of defense will likely include a robust set of coping and life skills you’ll need to battle your triggers and any temptations that might come along. With a robust set of these skills, there’s an excellent chance you will be able to avoid relapses in the future.

Once you have completed treatment, it will be time for you to walk out of the rehab facility and test your wings of recovery. If you ever get to the point where you start feeling a little shaky about your ability to maintain your sobriety, there are aftercare options you can use to help you stay on the straight and narrow path of benzodiazepine recovery. You can always attend 12 Step meetings, submit for outpatient counseling sessions or commit to living in a sober living home until you feel strong enough to face your future without the need to abuse any drugs or alcohol.

If you have read anything here that strikes a chord, then the information has value. Addiction is not a way of life; it’s an interruption to the living process. When you are ready, you will hopefully find the strength to ask for help.