You may not be familiar with the term benzodiazepines, but you’re probably familiar enough with what they are. Essentially, these are tranquilizers. They are more commonly known by their specific brand names, like Xanax and Valium. And they represent the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, often leading to Benzo addiction in patients.
While these drugs can prove helpful when properly prescribed and correctly administered, they can also be abused. The only way to conquer this addiction is through a clinical recovery program.
Understanding Benzo Addiction
Doctors prescribe these drugs for a number of perfectly legitimate medical reasons—including treatment for anxiety disorders, insomnia and sleeplessness, alcohol withdrawal and seizure control. Benzos can offer muscle relaxation for those with acute pain, and in some cases are used as anesthesia before surgery.
These drugs are active on the nervous system, lowering anxieties and muscle tension and ultimately providing a feeling of sedation.
Yet these drugs are also commonly abused. This is partly because they are so widely available and so easy to obtain. Benzos rarely lead to death all on their own, but can be lethal when mixed with alcohol; they do yield some severe symptoms, including drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, impaired coordination, and—in some cases—even coma. They can lead to intense physical dependence; withdrawal from benzos can be painful and challenging.
Benzo Addiction Statistics
This class of drugs makes up the most widely-used pharmaceutical category in the United States. Benzos account for more than a third of all drug-related visits to the emergency room. They also rank as one of the top five reasons people seek substance abuse treatment.
How Addictive are Benzodiazepines?
It is shockingly easy to become addicted to tranquilizers, and indeed, most benzo addiction is completely inadvertent. It is even possible to follow a doctor’s orders down to the letter, taking benzos only as prescribed, and still end up with an addiction problem. Stopping benzo use “cold turkey,” meanwhile, would yield serious withdrawal symptoms. That’s why clinical detox is ultimately recommended.
Why are Benzodiazepines So Addictive?
But why exactly are benzodiazepines so addictive? It might surprise you to learn that benzos get their addictive power in much the same way as cannabinoids and opioids. That is to say, benzos can cause dopamine surges—actually rewiring the body’s reward system until addiction is formed.
Benzos are the most-widely used pharmaceutical category in the United States.
Visits to the Emergency Room
Of all drug-related visits to the emergency room, benzos account for more than a third.
Benzos are one of the top 5 reasons people seek substance abuse treatment.
What are the Signs of Benzo Addiction?
So how can you tell if your friend or loved one is struggling with addiction to these dangerous drugs? In addition to the list of symptoms above, consider some of the following warning signs of benzo abuse.
A person with benzo addiction might be:
- Suddenly or strangely detached from life
- Unusually sedate, uncaring about things that should be more urgent or important
- Uninterested in setting goals or advancing in life
- Withdrawn from personal relationships or from hobbies that used to excite them
- Willing to visit multiple doctors to get benzo prescriptions, possibly for illegitimate symptoms
Recovering from Benzo Addiction
Addiction recovery is possible, yet it never happens independently. To start down the road to recovery, it is necessary to check into a clinical detox facility, and then pursue a benzo addiction recovery program.
Start the process today by learning more about detox. Contact the New Start Recovery team and ask about our work with benzodiazepine addicts. Hope and healing are possible—and the best way to embrace them is to get medically-supervised detox in one of our facilities.Claim Your Recovery We offer 24/7 free assessments over the phone. Take that first step toward a better life.Call Us 855-737-7363