Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan are all types of benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and some seizure disorders. People using them with or without a prescription may experience benzodiazepine addiction symptoms. Due to their widespread availability, benzodiazepines are often abused. Many people use them with alcohol, which is a dangerous and possibly fatal combination.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, an estimated 100 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines were written in 1999. Women and elderly patients are more likely to be prescribed benzodiazepines, so being a part of either of these groups is a risk factor for abuse. Environmental influences, such as peer pressure, unemployment, and low socioeconomic status, can also contribute to the chance that you will become addicted to benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Symptoms
Regular misuse of benzodiazepines can create symptoms in an addict that mimic conditions benzodiazepines are used to treat. Some common symptoms of addiction or chronic abuse are:
Many other symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse are non-specific. Children who are abusing benzodiazepines may be moody and demonstrate an overall decline in school performance. Adult addicts may make changes to their physical appearance or behavior. These changes are often drastic enough to impact job performance and personal relationships.
When used alone, benzodiazepines rarely cause death or serious injury. However, benzodiazepines are usually mixed with other drugs, such as opiates or alcohol. A combination of two or more conditions, such as alcoholism and benzodiazepine addiction, is called comorbidity. Comorbidity greatly increases the chance of death or overdose when benzodiazepines are involved.
If you’re experiencing benzodiazepine addiction symptoms or are mixing benzodiazepines and alcohol or other drugs, call . During your call, you can discuss treatment options and find the top rehabilitation centers in your area.
“Benzodiazepine addiction treatment varies depending on the immediate condition of the addict.”Benzodiazepine addiction treatment varies depending on the immediate condition of the addict. If the addict is experiencing severe overdose symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, confusion, and drowsiness, immediate action will be taken. Although it is not used often, if an addict has taken a lethal dose of benzodiazepine within the past one to two hours, gastric lavage may be recommended. A large amount of water delivered through a tube is used to remove pill fragments in the stomach, which prevents the body from absorbing more of the medication.
For addicts who go to the emergency room within four hours of an overdose, a doctor may administer activated charcoal. This substance prevents further absorption of the benzodiazepine. Activated charcoal can cause abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
If the overdose is severe, flumazenil may be administered. This antidote counteracts benzodiazepines and reverses some of the more serious overdose symptoms. However, this drug is seldom administered to regular users or people displaying benzodiazepine addiction symptoms unless absolutely necessary. In benzodiazepine addicts, flumazenil can cause seizures and other withdrawal symptoms.
For chronic users and addicts who are not experiencing a life-threatening overdose, medical supervision may be the only immediate treatment required. To prevent withdrawal symptoms in chronic users, benzodiazepines are administered in carefully regulated dosages. The amount of each dosage is diminished slightly, allowing you to wean your body off benzodiazepines without experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms or seizures.
The slow process of diminishing your benzodiazepine intake should be supervised by a doctor. While this process can be completed at home, many addicts may find it easier and more effective to attend a drug rehabilitation center, where professionals will monitor a person’s benzodiazepine addiction symptoms and physical condition during recovery. To begin the rehabilitation process, call to discuss the best treatment center for you.
Weaning yourself off benzodiazepines is only the first step in the recovery process. To fully achieve benzodiazepine addiction recovery, addicts must learn skills and receive support to prevent relapses. At most treatment centers, an addict will receive social support in group therapy, as well as individual and possibly family psychotherapy. Later in the recovery process, benzodiazepine addicts may need help getting jobs or obtaining housing. Family and friends who can offer support during recovery will also make the treatment process easier. For help with overcoming benzodiazepine addiction symptoms, call .