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Signs, Withdrawal Symptoms & Treatment Options

Benzodiazepine Addiction

Dangerous Drugs Being Overprescribed

Benzodiazepine Addiction in the United States

Despite their highly addictive and potentially life-threatening properties, benzodiazepines (also known as “benzos”) continue to be among the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States. Indeed, in a 2018 study, it was found that 1 in 8 adults in the US had used benzodiazepine within the previous 12 months. 

Benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat a wide range of conditions, ranging from insomnia and anxiety to seizures and muscle spasticity. It is also commonly prescribed to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Although benzos have broad clinical applications, their potential for misuse and dependency is immense. For persons who are vulnerable to addiction, including those with a genetic prediction, a history of trauma, or a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the risks of benzo addiction and overdose are severe. It’s estimated, for example, that more than 30% of opioid-related deaths involve benzodiazepine.

Understanding Benzodiazepine Addiction

How Do Benzos Work and Why Are They So Addictive?

Benzodiazepines produce their tranquilizing effects by operating as a central nervous system depressant. More specifically, benzos trigger the release of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is a brain chemical that inhibits autonomic responses, including suppressing respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure.

The sedating effects of benzos are amplified when used in conjunction with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol and opioids. This contributes to the high rates of lethal overdose associated with benzos.

Unfortunately, however, benzo addiction isn’t just instigated by the powerful tranquilizing effects of the drug. 

Benzos also trigger a surge of dopamine, the brain’s feel-good chemical. This means that benzo users often experience a rush of euphoria when exposed to the drug, and it is often this rush that catalyzes the addiction, as users must consume ever-higher quantities of the drug to achieve the desired effects. 

Exposure to benzodiazepine changes both the structure and the functioning of the brain, particularly in regard to the release, absorption, and synaptic response to the neurotransmitters GABA and dopamine. The result is a constellation of physical and psychological symptoms that, when left untreated, may be life-threatening.

Understanding Addiction:

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Freedom from Benzo Addiction

How Bayshore Can Help

At Bayshore, we understand the dangers of benzodiazepine addiction. We also recognize the immense challenges associated with getting clean. For persons with benzodiazepine addiction, the detoxification process can be both painful and dangerous if attempted without the appropriate medical supervision. 

Bayshore’s multidisciplinary team of physicians, mental healthcare providers, and addiction recovery experts can provide the intensive supervision and support you need when facing benzo withdrawal. 

Because we are a fully accredited facility and hold LegitScript and Joint Commission certifications, we are authorized to provide short-term pharmaceutical therapy as appropriate to support your comfort and safety through the detoxification process.

After detox, we provide personalized, comprehensive, evidence-based residential care to promote your recovery. This includes individual, small group, and family mental health counseling, music and art therapy, nutrition education, yoga classes, and massage therapy to help you cultivate new habits of self-care. In addition, we provide robust after-care support, including connecting you with addiction recovery specialists in your area to promote your continued sobriety.


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Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs typically used to treat anxiety disorders. Over the last 5 years, benzo abuse has risen significantly. Learn more about benzo addiction & how Bayshore Retreat can help.

Opioids & Heroin

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