Benzodiazepines are a highly addictive class of drug that often receives little attention in comparison to opioids. Like prescription opioids (prescription painkillers), benzodiazepines are legally prescribed by a medical provider to treat various chronic conditions. When used correctly, they are highly beneficial as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for those struggling with specific needs. In these cases, they can help reduce the intensity and severity of symptoms. However, also like opioids, benzodiazepines can be highly addictive and are, unfortunately, frequently misused. Quitting benzodiazepines (or benzos) is often difficult and should be done only in a supportive environment where medical staff are skilled in assisting with benzo rehab.
Are Benzodiazepines Addictive?
Benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions. The most common include anxiety and panic disorders, difficulties sleeping, and seizures. They are also prescribed as muscle relaxers and for use as part of a treatment plan for alcohol use disorder recovery. Benzodiazepines are generally referred to as prescription sedatives or prescription tranquilizers and include well-known drugs such as Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium, among others.
Benzodiazepines have been part of medical treatment programs since the 1960s. When used properly, they are highly effective. However, the chemical properties of the drug work in the brain and body in similar ways to opioids, making them highly addictive as well.
Benzodiazepines act on the central nervous system (the brain and spine), producing sensations of sedation and intense relaxation. These sedative effects and the effective ability to reduce (and often entirely remove) feelings of panic and anxiety. Someone who takes benzodiazepines will often become addicted to the psychological effects of the drug.
Signs of a Benzo Addiction
An addiction to benzodiazepines produces both physical and psychological symptoms. Some of the most common include:
- Exhaustion and lethargy
- Muscle weakness
- Cognitive difficulties including confusion and impaired memory
- Slurred speech
- Vision difficulties
- Lack of coordination
- Poor judgment
In more severe cases, some may experience potentially life-threatening symptoms, including respiratory distress, coma, and death. These symptoms are more common when benzodiazepines are mixed with other drugs or with alcohol.
If one chooses to continue abusing benzodiazepines and does not seek additional treatment, they may experience various long-term effects. You may notice difficulties sleeping, tremors, headaches, problems concentrating, memory problems, and changes in eating patterns or weight. Benzodiazepine abuse can also lead to new or worsening mental health issues depending on how one reacts to the drug itself. Behavioral signs of abuse include many characteristics that are similar to other drugs. For example, withdrawing from family and friends, borrowing or stealing money, drug-seeking, reduction in efforts to maintain hygiene, new or abnormal mood swings, and new or increased legal and financial difficulties.
Why You Should Go to a Benzo Rehab in Florida
Although the use of benzodiazepines typically does not result in life-threatening effects (except under certain circumstances), withdrawing from benzos after long-term use or misuse can be dangerous. For this reason, it is highly recommended that those looking to detox do so in a benzo rehab in Florida, where medical supervision is available. In a medically supervised detox setting such as Bayshore Retreat in Destin, Florida, setting addiction treatment professionals and medical providers can ensure you can detox safely from benzodiazepines. Detoxing at a benzo rehab like Bayshore is also beneficial because once detox is complete, you can transition directly to a therapeutic program designed to help you achieve sobriety and sustain long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one are ready to seek treatment for benzodiazepine addiction, reach out to the admissions team at Bayshore Retreat today. Defeating a struggle with benzos requires determination and commitment to your recovery. With the help of the treatment team at Bayshore Retreat, sobriety is possible.