Aenean et interdum mauris. Cras quis interdum mauris. Sed quis justo commodo, viverra mauris eu, tristique sem.
Benzodiazepines or Benzos may not be words as prevalent as other drugs types but these anti-anxiety drugs can lead to addiction. A more common description of the drug class is known as tranquilizers and in 2016, there were almost 14 million prescriptions written. Here is everything you need to know about benzo addiction. What benzodiazepines are, their use, how they are addictive, and benzo addiction treatment.
Benzodiazepines or Benzos are drugs mainly used to treat anxiety. These drugs include Prozac, Valium, Xanax, and other similar drugs. They’re not just for anxiety though, some take them to help with insomnia and some are prescribed benzos for the treatment of seizures and convulsions. There are many valid uses for Benzodiazepines yet some people become addicted to them.
Common side effects include:
Those are the most common side effects from benzos yet there are quite a few side effects that are less common such as:
According to a study at Psychology Today:
Olfson’s group analyzed prescription records from a database that includes approximately 60% of US retail pharmacies. They found that over 5% of adults between the ages of 18 and 80 had filled at least 1 prescription for a benzodiazepine during 2008. In addition, they found that use of benzodiazepines increased with age: less than 3% of persons 18 to 35 years of age and about 5.5% of those 36 to 50 had been prescribed this class of drugs compared to about 7.5% of those 51 to 64 and almost 9% of people 65 and older. Moreover, the use of these drugs continued to increase even in those older than 65; i.e., a higher percentage of 75- to 80-year-olds were taking these drugs than 65- to 70-year-olds.
And alarmingly, between 1999 and 2015 the overdose deaths involving benzos increased by seven times as much. Keep in mind that mixing opioids and benzodiazepines increases the dangers yet they are often prescribed together.
One of the main concerns with the use of benzodiazepines is its addictive nature. It is rare that someone would seek out benzos to get high, yet those who are prescribed the drug may development a dependence to it, especially those with a history of drug abuse or drug dependence.
One interesting fact is that benzos by themselves are rarely used to get high. Yet, when combined with other drugs, the high may be more potent. For instance, combining benzos and opioids increases the euphoria that one experiences.
Who becomes addicted? That is hard to say. While genetics certainly play a role in addiction, so do outside factors such as socioeconomic status, employment status, peer pressure, and more.
One of the major problems with benzos is that they change the chemical makeup of the brain. After a while, the brain cells become altered and without access to benzos, the person will continue to crave them. For example, Xanax is one of the most dangerous benzos because it works immediately if crushed into a powder. This makes it more concerning due to its potential for abuse.
If you’re wondering why so many people have an addiction to benzos, the answer is pretty simple. In the past, doctors had no idea how addictive this drug class is. So, they would prescribe benzos easily. With long-term use and without property monitoring of the usage by a patient, there is plenty of room for the patient to become addicted. It doesn’t mean they are weak or easily affected – it is just that by taking these over an extended period of time causes their effectiveness to wane. This can cause some people to take more in order to achieve the same affects they enjoyed in the past. If the drug stops helping someone to fall asleep, they might take more to feel like they did in the past – and this is dangerous.
One of the first steps in addiction treatment is a slow withdrawal from the drug. Reducing benzo use slowly helps minimize the chances of seizures and withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, depression, nightmares, nausea, sweating, and more. These effects are minimized by the slow titration away from the drug. While some people can do it on their own, many people need help from a professional in order to kick the benzo habit for good.
Here at Summit Detox, we help you recover from benzo addiction. Detox is the important beginning of treatment and once the patient is finished with that part of treatment, other avenues can begin. These include things like outpatient therapy, counseling, and anything that helps make getting off of this drug a little easier.
If you or someone you love is addicted to benzodiazepines, we can help. Simply contact us so we can go over the treatment options for you to make an informed and educated decision.