Benzodiazepines, sometimes referred to as “benzos”, are a class of prescription drugs that were introduced in the late 1950’s. Prescription drug abuse is very common and has been on the rise lately in the United States. For those who are suffering from a disorder that requires medication, you can always ask your doctor for an alternative medication. For those currently suffering from a benzo addiction, we offer programs and treatments at The Wellness Recovery Center that can help individuals become sober, such as Drug Detox, Addiction Therapy, and Aftercare. Now is the time to lead a healthy life.
Why Prescribe Benzodiazepines?
Due to the effects on the brain, these drugs are known for their tranquilizer and psychoactive effects. In 1963, a benzodiazepine prescription drug was introduced to the pharmaceutical market. This drug was known as the brand names Diazepam or Valium. Due to its popularity, different forms of benzodiazepines can now be found on the market such as Klonopin, Xanax, Versed, Ativan, and Librax. Benzodiazepines are typically prescribed by doctors to sedate individuals for surgery or for individuals dealing with a variety of mental health conditions. The RX List states that benzodiazepines are used to treat the following:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
Doctors, to alleviate withdrawal symptoms that arise from alcohol abuse, have prescribed benzodiazepines. Nonetheless, a problem with prescribing benzodiazepines is that it can often lead to benzo addiction and abuse.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “benzodiazepine abuse treatment admissions have tripled from 1998 to 2008”. These drugs are becoming popular due to the effects they have on the central nervous system. Individuals on the streets can sometimes get their hands on these drugs without prescriptions. However, in most cases, doctors prescribe benzodiazepines to treat their conditions, only for users to become addicted to their prescription medication. Some individuals may not even realize that they are abusing the drug because in some cases, benzodiazepines can induce memory loss. Typically, the addiction begins when individuals start to take more than their required dosage. Slowly, individuals will start to realize that they are always high on benzodiazepines. It is not uncommon for users to mix ‘benzos’ with other drugs such as opiates, alcohol, antidepressants, and barbiturates. However, these interactions can lead to fatal overdoses.
Short-Term Effects of Benzodiazepines
Undeniably, users will begin abusing ‘benzos’ for the psychoactive effect they have on their minds. Additionally, the drug itself is a depressant, so individuals may begin to use the drug more often to produce a ‘high’. Short-term benzodiazepine abuse can cause effects which may include:
- Acute memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Impaired balance
- Blurred vision
- Impaired judgment
Finally, users may enjoy the feeling of this drug because it can slow down activity, producing a calming effect on the mind. This symptom can reduce feelings of anxiety and allow the user to relax. However, prolonged use can lead an individual to become addicted to the effects of the drug.
Long-Term Effects of Benzodiazepines
Those abusing ‘benzos’ will quickly develop a tolerance for the drug, resulting in the user taking larger doses in order to feel the effects. The longer this goes on, the higher the chances of an individual experiencing harmful symptoms. Some long-term effects of a benzo addiction may include:
- Constant confusion
- Loss of motor control
- Disturbing dreams
- Sexual dysfunction
Additionally, the BMJ stated in one of their studies that long-term use of Benzodiazepine could lead to an increased risk of dementia. Long-term use of benzodiazepines can also lead to individuals having accidents or overdosing.
Of course, health professionals recommend that substance abusers do not abruptly stop using benzodiazepines. The withdrawal symptoms from this drug are extremely severe and can often lead to insomnia, depression, seizures, tremors and muscle pain. If patients do not slowly wean themselves off ‘benzos’ they can even die from these symptoms.
Finally, the best way to successfully kick a benzo addiction is to seek a rehabilitation center. Under medical supervision, substance abusers can slowly wean their bodies off this chemical dependency. Additionally, medical professionals can also provide users with treatments to alleviate the symptoms associated with withdrawal. For more information on treatment and recovery, give The Wellness Retreat Recovery Center a call at 888-821-0238. We offer recovering addicts several treatments and therapies that can help them get their lives back on track.