Physicians prescribe benzodiazepines often in the United States today for a number of anxiety disorders. And, many individuals abuse these drugs resulting in benzodiazepine addiction. One reason that benzodiazepines are so highly addictive is that people develop a tolerance to the drugs so quickly.

What are Benzodiazepines?

It should be noted, individuals who seek help for anxiety or insomnia from physicians usually receive a prescription for some type of benzodiazepine. The benzodiazepines that are most familiar to people are Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. Also, doctors prescribe these drugs for seizures and drug or alcohol withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines, also called benzos, relax the body and promote sleep. They affect the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain causing the activity in the central nervous system and brain to slow promoting relaxation.

How Does Benzodiazepine Addiction Happen?

Once a person takes benzodiazepines for a period of time, they develop a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance means that the drug no longer affects the body as it did previously. Therefore, it takes more of the substance to produce the effects as it did before. As a result, individuals start taking higher doses of the drug or taking it more often than prescribed.  At this time, they go from use to abuse of the medication.

Abusing benzodiazepines leads to dependence on the drug. Once dependent on a drug, individuals will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug all at once. Many times individuals keep taking benzodiazepines even if they have to obtain them illegally to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

Some of these withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Hyperventilation
  • Goosebumps
  • Seizures

In addition to these symptoms, you may also feel as if your skin is crawling or have feelings of unreality, even hallucinations. Clearly, benzodiazepine withdrawal can be dangerous and even life-threatening. There is no set time period to experience these withdrawal symptoms. It is different for different individuals, much depending on how long and how much of the drug you are using.

Struggling with Benzodiazepine Addiction

It is never a good idea to take benzodiazepines on a long-term basis. Individuals who do so start to rely on this substance to function daily. Hence, they are dependent upon it. It is the same with this medication as it is with others. Instead of addressing the problem in other ways, just take a pill to help the symptoms. As a matter of fact, this is the biggest reason for any addiction issues in the United States today.

When a person struggling with benzodiazepine addiction combines this substance with another central nervous system depressant such as alcohol, it increases the chance of an overdose, oftentimes lethal. The heart rate slows so much that it will eventually completely stop. Sadly, many benzodiazepine addicts do mix alcohol with these drugs frequently.

Cognitive function and the effects on the brain make it very hard for individuals to stop abusing benzodiazepines.

Typical signs of benzodiazepine addiction might include:

  • Needing more of the drug to achieve the desired effect
  • Doctor shopping” (going to different doctors trying to get prescriptions)
  • Craving benzodiazepines or showing withdrawal symptoms when not using
  • Stealing pills from family members or friends
  • Buying benzodiazepines illegally on the streets
  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations at home or work

Importantly, if you have any of these signs of benzodiazepine addiction, seek help from a professional addiction treatment facility.

Contact New Beginnings Recovery

To learn about detoxification and addiction treatment programs that can help you return to a life without benzodiazepine addiction contact New Beginnings Recovery. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about the many different treatment programs that we offer. We can design a program that will fit your individual needs and preferences. Contact us today and leave your addiction behind.

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