Table of contents
- Benzos Abuse Overview
- Benzos Addiction Symptoms
- Benzos Dependence
- Benzos Addiction
- Benzos Side Effects
- Benzos Long Term Consequences
- Causes of Benzos Addiction
- Benzos Addiction Treatment at Avenues
Introduction to Benzos Addiction
As the number of people falling victim to benzos addiction rises, the epidemic is gaining awareness across the world. Benzos addiction refers to benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that feature prescription tranquilizers. You will often hear people referring to these as anxiolytics and sedatives.
You may be on prescriptions for these drugs for several problems, including panic disorder and anxiety disorder. Some of the conditions for which benzodiazepine drugs are prescribed include:
- Muscle relaxation
- A recovery treatment plan for alcohol use disorder
As we mentioned above, this class of drugs can cause addiction issues. Medical professionals refer to it as benzodiazepine abuse or benzos addiction, and it has evolved to become a widespread issue. Someone suffering from benzos addiction can cause a major negative impact on their emotional and physical health, including their careers, relationships, lifestyle, etc.
Benzos Abuse Overview
Some of the familiar names in the benzodiazepine class of drugs include Xanax and Valium. These are some of the most common prescription medicines in Indiana, but the abuse begins when people misuse them or overdose.
The first signs of benzos addiction include focusing too much on the next dose of the tranquilizers or thinking you cannot function until you have taken the subsequent amount. Other signs of possible addiction are running out of your prescribed quantities or taking more than your usual dose.
Doctors only prescribe these medicines for legitimate medical conditions, including their soothing effects on the central nervous system, lower levels of anxiety, muscle relaxation, and sedation effects. Yet, the abuse begins when people start to consume these more than the recommended doses for the toxic effects the drugs produce.
The widespread availability of benzodiazepines contributes greatly to rising addiction rates. From benzos addiction alone, a person can fall prey with chronic illness and even death. But what makes this abuse even worse is when people consume these with other medications or alcohol. A combination of benzodiazepines with other drugs or alcohol can be fatal.
Over the years, benzodiazepine has also become a “date rape” drug because of how it can significantly impair one’s ability to resist sexual assault or aggression. Many reports have surfaced over the past few years, in which people involved in conviction and detection of rape cases have significantly increased.
For this purpose, perpetrators add the drugs to alcohol-based or soft drinks in liquid or powder forms. It carries a complex taste, and limits a person’s ability to function and resist sexual advances.
Benzos Addiction- Psychological and Physical Symptoms
Since these drugs are mainly tranquilizers, people often live under the illusion that these are non-life-threatening. In truth, benzos addiction features many inherent dangers for psychological and physical health.
Let’s look at some of the symptoms that can emerge when the abuse is reaching overdose or has already surpassed that mark:
- Death- although a rarity yet it can happen when one overdoses on benzodiazepine with a mix of alcohol
- Difficulty in breathing
- When a person is incapable of defending themselves in case of a threat or attack
- Poor cognitive function
- Poor or no motor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Physical weakness
In case of chronic abuse of the drugs, a person may experience the following:
- Memory problems
When talking about drug abuse, it is essential to outline the difference between dependence and addiction. Certain factors differentiate between the two. You can identify physical dependence from the withdrawal symptoms one experiences when stopping drug consumption or decreasing the dosage.
Yes, we can call physical dependence a component of addiction, yet we cannot classify the condition as addiction entirely. Physical dependence generally results from taking too many medications. For instance, you may become physically dependent when you’re taking some types of blood pressure medications.
But while being physically dependent on these to manage your blood pressure levels, you are not addicted to those medications. Dependence is an unexpected outcome, generally resulting from therapeutic use in the long-term, of benzodiazepines.
Due to this prolonged physical dependence on the drugs, you can experience specific withdrawal symptoms when you discontinue use. These include:
- Rapid breathing
- Decreased concentration
- Muscle cramps
- Stomach upset or diarrhea
If you think you are physically dependent on one of the benzodiazepine drugs, you can reduce complications if you gradually decrease your medicines’ dosage over time.
When you’re suffering from both psychological and physical dependence, you are a victim of drug addiction. Generally, experts classify addiction as a brain disease, and one has to undergo detoxification to break away from physical dependence.
Psychological dependence is an entirely different matter, though, and usually, it has a steadfast hold on the patient. Hence, if an addict tries to break out of addiction and psychological dependence, the journey is not easy. There is no particular treatment and maintaining sobriety remains ongoing for all the dependent individuals.
Earlier in this article, we mentioned how there is a difference between dependence and addiction. Addiction is a situation that depicts drug-seeking behaviors: where individuals continue to consume the drugs, with full awareness of the negative impact. But not everyone who is physically dependent on a drug will end up with addiction. It is mainly the psychological, social, and biological influences that make a person vulnerable to addiction.
In benzos addiction, the drug-seeking behavior includes trying to obtain illegal amounts from more than a single provider, all without a prescription. The impact of benzodiazepine addiction can be disastrous for vital life functions.
In addition to the loss of productivity, a person can suffer varying degrees of legal issues, relationships, and family problems. You can detect addiction if you the following signs:
- Continued use despite complete awareness of negative consequences
- Legal issues
- Relationship problems
- Poor performance or decreased ability to perform. Includes decreased motivation and work productivity.
- Withdrawal symptoms or dependence when attempting to quit consumption
- Consuming unnecessary or illegal dosages for the pleasure of intoxication
- Always preoccupied with obtaining the drugs
- Craving for the next dose
- Always in quest of obtaining the drugs from multiple providers, including legally through doctors and illegal through other providers.
Side Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse
When you’re taking normal or regular doses of benzodiazepines for relieving insomnia or anxiety, your body will tolerate the drug well. The maximum side effect a person may experience from taking the drugs may be dizziness or drowsiness. However, this too is likely with only increased doses.
The chances of severe side effects are high only when a person takes very high doses of benzodiazepine. The symptoms and signs as a result of overdose or acute toxicity from the drugs include:
- Difficult breathing
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
Benzodiazepine Use in the Long-term
In many cases, patients worry about becoming benzodiazepine addicts when their doctors prescribe these drugs for long-term use. Although the prescription is strictly for treating panic disorders or other forms of anxiety disorders, continuous use can raise such concerns for patients.
The fact is that benzodiazepine is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety, but it does not necessarily result in addiction. Most people are secure against this consequence, and only those who have a history of alcohol and other drug addictions may develop this condition.
From a scientific perspective, you must note that it is entirely safe to use benzodiazepines as long as you stick to the doctor’s directions. At most, you will only experience dependence or tolerance if you’re using the medicines for the long-term, but it is not the same as addiction.
At any point, if you fear that you are developing an addiction to the medications, you can always consult healthcare providers and seek immediate treatments.
Benzos Addiction- Causes
A lot of factors play a significant role in causing addiction. Genetics is a primary factor, and it can be the central tendency that causes one to become an addict. However, the environmental and stress factors can be just as responsible for turning an individual into an addict.
From peer pressure, unemployment, poor socioeconomic status, and others, a person may find temporary relief in these drugs from existing problems and soon become an addict.
Benzos Addiction Treatment at Avenues Recovery Indiana
Avenues Recovery at Fort Wayne is an acclaimed addiction treatment facility in Indiana, For those suffering from Benzos addiction, Avenues staff can give you the tools to battle and overcome this addiction and resume a productive life.
Withdrawal from Benzos is very dangerous and can be fatal. At Avenues, detox is done in a safe monitored atmosphere with 24 hour professional medical care. Once that is safely completed, our clients can continue their journey to recovery with residential treatment and eventually outpatient services and reintegration.
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