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The Addictive Effects of Benzodiazepines

The Addictive Effects of Benzodiazepines

A highly addictive class of medication, benzodiazepines, when abused, can often cause the same effects that they are used to treat

Benzodiazepines are commonly abused partially due to the toxic effects they produce along with their widespread availability. These medications can either be intentionally or accidentally taken in overdose and can be chronically abused. Although death and serious illnesses are a result from benzodiazepine abuse alone, many abusers combine this medication with other drugs, such as other medications or alcohol, which can be extremely dangerous.

Despite the fact that benzodiazepines have many helpful uses, continued use and abuse of the medication can lead to physical along with psychological dependence. Benzodiazepines dependence can result in withdrawal symptoms and could even lead to seizures if stopped abruptly. Dependence along with withdrawal symptoms occur only in an extremely small percentage of people who take the medication as prescribed for a short period of time. The symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from anxiety and usually develop three to four days after an individual’s last use, although depending on the variety of benzodiazepines, withdrawal symptoms may appear earlier.

The Effects of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a type of medication formally referred to as tranquilizers, which include familiar names such as Valium and Xanax. Despite their addictive qualities, benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. When individuals who do not have prescriptions for the medications both obtain and take these drugs for their sedative qualities, their use quickly progresses to abuse. Doctors may prescribe a variety of benzodiazepines for various medical conditions such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Seizure control

Unfortunately, those who take the medication without obtaining a prescription often do so without any medical needs and just want to feel its tranquilizing effects. Although some individuals may be genetically predisposed to become addicted to drugs, there have been numerous studies proving that one’s environment plays a significant role. In connection to one’s environment, other influences such as socioeconomic status, unemployment and peer pressure also play a huge role. At a normal dose, benzodiazepines relieve anxiety as well as insomnia. The effects of the medications are more pronounced with increased doses. Some of the side effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Confusion

Signs of drug abuse can be nonspecific and hard to distinguish in a loved one. Sometimes simple changes in ones appearance and behavior, which can affect relationships along with drastic changes in her work performance. Additionally warning signs can include abrupt changes in one’s moods or a loss of interest in activities she once enjoyed. Chronic use and abuse of benzodiazepines can lead to symptoms, which the medication itself is typically used to treat such as anxiety and insomnia.

Treatment for benzodiazepines is often similar to that of other forms of addiction. Often times, addicts seek help from medical personnel because the pain they experience from their withdrawal is too severe. It’s also important to understand that abruptly stopping this type of medication can cause life-threatening consequences and because of this an individual should first consult a doctor before stopping use. Treatment for this medication can include inpatient, outpatient and even rehabilitation or group homes.

Inpatient treatment gives the addict an opportunity to safely withdrawal from the medication while receiving constant monitoring from medical staff to ensure a safe withdrawal. Additionally, inpatient treatment removes an addict from his familiar drug using environment and places him in another environment, which is drug free, encourages sobriety and helps teach healthy living. Rehabilitation programs or even group homes help recovering addicts maintain their sobriety by giving them a drug-free environment while enforcing strict rules and guidelines they must follow. Additionally, these facilities also encourage and help recovering addicts reintegrate themselves into society by helping with job placement and housing.

Outpatient treatment allows recovering addicts to live independently while receiving treatment once per week. This form of treatment is typically for those recovering addicts who no longer need a large amount of support and can remain on course without the added support of counselors. Outpatient treatment is intended to help a recovering addict remain on course and is there any time she needs to seek additional support. No matter what form of treatment an addict chooses, feeling confident with that decision can help her feel confident when it comes to her sobriety.

Opium Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our highly trained and professional counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your addiction questions and help you find the best treatment available. It only takes one call to change a life, so call us today!