Signs, Symptoms & Treatment
An Overview of
Benzodiazepines, Addiction & America
Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are a class of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for a spectrum of mental disorders and ailments. They are used to treat moderate to severe anxiety, panic attacks, epileptic seizures and even withdrawal symptoms from other central nervous system depressants like alcohol. Because of their high potential to cause addiction, benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for short-term use.
Some of the most common benzos that are abused include: Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin.
Benzodiazepines can be dangerous and addictive, despite their medical validity and federal regulation. If you or a loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine use, get help today.
Do Benzos Really Help Anxiety?
Benzodiazepine Facts & Statistics
Due to their high potency, benzodiazepines can change the brain’s neurochemistry. Over time, the drugs build up in the user’s body. Users can develop mental and physical dependencies on the drugs as a result. The prevalence of benzodiazepines as popular, often-prescribed anti-anxiety medications means that people from every demographic and lifestyle can be exposed to them. Addiction can form even under a physician’s care and prescribed doses.
Because benzodiazepines are available by prescription, users and their loved ones are often unaware of the high abusive and addictive potential they hold. Signs of addiction that might be overlooked include:
- Developing a tolerance to the drugs’ sedative effects or
- Dismissing important people and activities to focus solely on getting and abusing the drugs.
- Blurred vision
- Poor judgment or thinking
- Doctor shopping
- Asking friends, family, colleagues, and/or classmates for their benzodiazepine pills
- Wanting to cut back on the volume of abuse but not being able to do so
- Mood changes
- Risk-taking behaviors, such as driving after abusing benzodiazepines
- Combining benzodiazepines with alcohol or other drugs
In order to boost their buzz, some users will mix the drugs with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Alcohol is typically the chosen CNS sedative to combine with benzodiazepines, but users might also take benzos in conjunction with opiate drugs to escalate both highs. Mixing benzodiazepines with other prescription and illicit drugs greatly increases the odds of fatal overdose.
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How to Know if someone is abusing benzos?
Signs & Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction
If a person is abusing benzodiazepines, some of the common signs include:
- Weakness and impaired coordination
- Blurred vision and drowsiness
- Blacking out
- Passing out
- Poor judgement
- “Doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions
- Asking others for their pills
- Mood changes and engaging in risky behaviors
If you suspect that a loved one may have a benzo addiction, experts suggest that you look for these signs:
- Mood changes- individuals may seem irritable or experience depression or anxiety.
- Changes in behavior- acting secretive or aggressive.
- Changes in appearance- lost or gained weight.
- Health issues- sleeping a lot, appearing sluggish, or having nausea, vomiting, or headaches.
- Social changes- withdrawing themselves from their usual social activities and having relationship difficulties.
- Poor grades or work performance- showing a lack of interest or attendance in school or work and receiving poor grades or reviews.
- Money troubles- having problems paying bills or other money issues, often without a logical reason.
Benzo misuse can be very dangerous, and puts people at risk for an overdose. Signs of an overdose include:
- Physical weakness
- Slurred speech
- Poor decision-making abilities and poor judgment
- Blurred vision
- Lack of motor coordination
- Inability to defend oneself in the case of an attack or threat
- Difficulty breathing
- Death (Rare when abused on its own, fatal overdose may occur when a benzodiazepine is mixed with alcohol.)
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Overcome an Addiction to Benzos
Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles
Benzodiazepine addiction treatment begins with weaning an individual off the drug in a medically assisted detox, which helps to remove the drug from the system without uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Quitting cold turkey can be lethal in some circumstances and a supervising physician must be present to monitor for potentially harmful withdrawal symptoms.
Once stabilized, individuals continue their recovery through inpatient or outpatient programs that offer cognitive therapies and counseling sessions.
An individual with an addiction to benzos may find themselves ill equipped to handle the stressors of everyday living, so a quality benzo addiction treatment center will be crucial for lasting recovery. Individual and group therapy has proven very beneficial for people struggling to recover from their Xanax or Valium addiction.
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Quit Abusing Benzos & Find Lasting Recovery at Our Los Angeles Benzo Treatment Center
Benzodiazepines are highly dangerous and addictive substances. When someone suffers from an addiction to benzos, it may seem like they will never be able to regain control over their life again. However, a high quality addiction treatment program like Starbridge Recovery Treatment center in Los Angeles can help people break their physical and psychological dependence on the drug.
Starbridge Recovery provides the necessary help for you or your loved one to heal and thrive. In our safe, comfortable, distraction-free environment many people just like you recover from benzodiazepine abuse and addiction. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to benzos, contact the Starbridge Recovery team and learn how we can help you to start on your road to lasting recovery.
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