Benzodiazepines (also referred to as benzos) are extremely addictive and continue to affect hundreds of thousands of people every year. Benzos are part of the prescription sedative class of drugs. They create a calming effect on the individual and are known to be highly addictive. As with all drugs, over time a benzodiazepine addiction can cause a host of mental health disorders with various negative symptoms.
Benzodiazepine use can cause a multitude of negative effects on the mind and the body. Benzodiazepine dependence also affects a person’s behavior. When someone develops a benzodiazepine addiction, they may go out of their way to get their hands on more benzos. This cognitive impairment can evolve into a dangerous and risky cycle. Not only does this affect the person but it also affects those around them as well. Prescription drugs are a leading cause of substance use disorders, so check benzodiazepine prescription and if addicted begin the treatment process.
It is time to take control of your addiction. If you are concerned that a loved one or someone you know is struggling with a benzodiazepine addiction (or another addiction), Behavioral Health Centers is here to help. We offer comprehensive treatment for you and your family. We understand how stressful addiction can be for a family. Don’t wait, turn things around right now at BHC.
What is a Benzodiazepine?
Benzodiazepines are a drug class that’s made up of several prescription tranquilizers (known as sedatives and anxiolytics). When used correctly and safely, benzodiazepines are used to treat several types of disorders and conditions. Some of the conditions benzos are used to treat are:
- Panic disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Muscle relaxation
- Used to treat alcohol use disorder (during recovery)
Benzodiazepines are referred to by a variety of different names and brands. However, no matter the name, benzos are dangerous drugs and extremely addictive and should be taken as prescribed (no more than that). Many people may even develop a benzodiazepine addiction without even noticing it. Some of the common names for benzodiazepine prescriptions include the following:
Although many of these commonly abused drugs treat anxiety, they can lead to substance abuse treatment.
Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse
In the modern mental health community, the term hypnotic, sedative, or anxiolytic use disorder is used to describe benzodiazepine addiction or abuse. In order to be diagnosed with benzodiazepine addiction, the person must exhibit at least 2 of 11 possible symptoms. These substance addiction symptoms must occur in just a 12-month period. These signs are big indicators that a person is dealing with an addiction. Some of them include the following:
- Worsened performance at school, at home, and work due to benzos
- A sedative is taking much longer and at higher volumes than prescribed/intended
- Large amounts of time are spent getting the drug, using it, and recovering from its effects
- A person builds a tolerance to benzos, which requires them to take much more of it for its effects
- A person experiences a withdrawal period when benzos (or any drug) is not in their system; they develop cravings and urges to use
If you notice any of these signs in a loved one, it may be time to get help. Seeking addiction treatment or mental health services requires requires intensive inpatient programs and withdrawal management. Over time, symptoms and health effects begin to worsen. There are several negative effects associated with benzos. Don’t wait to get help, let BHC be your guide to a better life for the future. It is never too late to reach the life you deserve.
Benzo Addiction Symptoms and Effects
- Blurry vision
- Mood swings and changes (panic attacks)
- Asking friends and family for benzo pills
- Psychological Dependence
- Alcohol abuse and mixing other drugs
- Decreased judgment and overall thinking patterns
- Risky behaviors while using benzos (driving, swimming, etc.)
- A desire to change benzo usage but not being able to do so
With continued use of benzodiazepines, more severe health effects can begin to emerge. When people become dependent on benzos, their entire perception can completely change. Drug addiction has the potential to completely change the way your brain thinks and behaves. This typically fuels a person’s drug use even further. With this comes a handful of other long-term mental problems such as:
- Memory issues
Building a Tolerance to Benzos
Building a tolerance to benzodiazepines is considered a medical condition – physical dependence. It can lead to benzodiazepine overdose. Tolerance occurs when the brain becomes overly accustomed to a drug. Over time, a person will have to take more to get the drug’s desired effects. Family members may notice this before the user does. If a person fails to get the desired dose, their body begins to experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. For prescribed benzodiazepines, in particular, withdrawal effects tend to be severe and potentially fatal (seizures and other intense effects).
Possible Overdose Symptoms
At certain times it can be tough to identify if a person is experiencing withdrawals or if they are experiencing the effects of the drug. This goes for short acting benzodiazepines and long acting benzodiazepines. Benzo addiction symptoms may be hard to spot at times, however, it is best if a person is open about how much they used and what they might be experiencing. It’s important to be aware of overdose symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to get medical attention immediately. Overdose symptoms may include the following:
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty breathing
- Overall confusion
- Physical weakness
- Lacking motor coordination
- Poor decision-making abilities and poor judgment
- Inability to defend oneself in the case of an attack or threat
- Death (Rare when abused on its own, fatal overdose may occur when a benzodiazepine is mixed with alcohol.)
How Benzodiazepine Addiction Affects A Person’s Behavior
Many instances of drug addiction are more than just physical symptoms. Drug addiction can change the way a person thinks and acts. Addiction can completely change a person’s life for the worse and can devolve into spending a lot of time trying to acquire and use the drug. There are a number of behavioral patterns that can be seen in people struggling with benzo addiction. It’s important to be able to pinpoint these in yourself and your loved ones. Common behavioral signs of benzo addiction include:
- Spending a lot of time and energy acquiring and using the drug.
- Overall withdrawal from friends, family, and responsibilities to use a drug
- Making sure there is enough supply of the particular drug at home (usually stemming from a place of fear and worry)
- Risky behaviors and activities – such as driving while under the influence of a drug Mood swings and other behavioral changes
- Acts of borrowing money, stealing, clearing bank accounts, and maxing out credit cards in order to acquire the drugs
- Decrease in personal hygiene and grooming (ex: the person may begin to look disheveled)
- Acting guilty or secretive about their substance abuse and their daily use
Detoxification (also known as detox), is a necessary step for long-term recovery. Detox can be a difficult process, especially with drugs as addictive as benzodiazepines. The detox process essentially gets rid of the drugs in a person’s body. During this time, a person will experience some of the severe withdrawal symptoms, such as panic disorders, associated with abruptly stopping. Some of these symptoms can be potentially fatal if there is no professional help around.
It is recommended to have medical professionals by your side. Our staff can give you the necessary medication to tame some of these intense symptoms. It’s also important to be able to give support and security throughout the process. Don’t take the risks of detoxing alone, it is not worth the potentially deadly risks. After detox, a person will typically move on to more complete treatment such as inpatient treatment.
Inpatient treatment (or residential treatment) is one of the most common forms of treatment and typically follows detox. This type of program allows recovering individuals to live in a safe and monitored environment. An inpatient treatment center ensures you get the attention and treatment you deserve. Recovery can be a tough journey but residential programs help to make it smooth and comfortable for you.
Inpatient treatment includes a series of commonly used therapy and medication-assisted treatment methods. As with many drug addiction cases, therapy is usually used to help a person work towards recovery and long-term sobriety. At the end of the day, addiction is a mental situation as much as it is a physical problem.
Getting Help for Benzo Addiction
With a drug as addictive as benzodiazepines, it’s important to get comprehensive treatment for benzodiazepine use from a rehab center that cares. There are a number of different ways a person can get treatment for benzodiazepine addiction. With a wide array of choices, it’s important to know which style may work better for you or a loved one.
At Behavioral Health Centers, we offer quality and effective treatment for benzodiazepine addiction and other addictions. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can help you today.