The Dangers Of Benzo Addiction

18. November 2015

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants and include prescription drugs such as Valium, Xanax, Ativan and others. Benzos have been used to treat a variety of conditions and symptoms, such as insomnia, anxiety and seizures.

While benzos can be an effective medication for certain situations, they have a high risk of abuse. Because they tend to be prescribed rather freely for anxiety and insomnia, benzo addiction is an ongoing and growing problem in the United States as well as other countries.

Benzodiazepines slow things down. They act on the central nervous system and affect a variety of functions including the respiratory system and cognitive function. When a person is under the influence of these drugs, they may feel a sense of euphoria, well-being, and relaxation, both physically and mentally.

In addition, they may experience slowed breathing, impaired muscle coordination, blurred vision, slurred speech, drowsiness and lowered inhibitions.

There are a variety of risks associated with benzo use, including the risk of becoming physically dependent, addicted, a risk of overdose and a variety of health problems, both physical and mental.

What You Need To Know About Benzos

hand with benzos

Benzodiazepine addiction has become a growing problem. With today’s fast-paced, high-pressure society, anxiety and insomnia are frequent issues faced by many Americans. More people than ever are seeking help for panic attacks, sleeplessness, and chronic anxiety. While there are many solutions and strategies for dealing with anxiety and insomnia, benzos are frequently prescribed.

These days, many people get their benzo prescriptions from doctors they have no history with, after answering a few quick questions. They may or may not get a follow-up appointment. This is, unfortunately, a healthcare issue and a common one. The result is more and more people walking out of doctor’s offices with prescriptions for Xanax, Ativan, and Valium.

When used as directed, benzos can be effective for managing panic disorder, anxiety and insomnia, however, they are not meant to be a long-term solution. Despite the fact that their use should be temporary and monitored, this doesn’t always happen, and people continue getting their monthly refills long-term. This is creating growing numbers of people who have a benzo addiction.

Signs Of Benzo Addiction

It is interesting to note that many of the signs of benzo addiction are similar to the symptoms that the individual may have started taking the medication for. In other words, a person addicted to benzos may display and experience insomnia, anxiety, agitation and panic attacks. Here are some other signs and symptoms of benzo addiction:

  • Preoccupation with the drug. May become agitated or anxious when running low. May start “doctor hopping” to get more, or may start buying them illegally.
  • Lack of interest in normal activities. Stops spending time with family or abandons hobbies.
  • Lack of self-care. Maybe neglecting diet, hygiene, and exercise.
  • Frequent, uncharacteristic mood swings.
  • Paranoia, withdrawal from loved ones, isolation.
  • Frequent confusion, short term memory loss.
  • Physical weakness and lack of coordination. Often sleeping, lethargic.

These are just some of the symptoms you may notice in your loved one if they are abusing benzos. He or she may not display all of these behaviors, some people are more “functional” in their addiction than others.

Dangers Of Benzo Addiction

A person who is has a benzo addiction runs the very real risk of overdose, especially if they mix benzos with alcohol or other drugs. Emergency room admissions due to overdose and other benzo-related problems have skyrocketed. ER visits from Xanax alone are in the tens of thousands per year.

While overdose, liver damage, respiratory and heart damage are all serious issues, there are other reasons to take benzo addiction seriously. Studies now show that prolonged use of benzodiazepines can result in permanent cognitive impairment. This may include memory loss, reduced problem-solving skills, confusion and a reduced ability to care for oneself.

Finally, for those who are dependent on benzos, detoxing from the drug can be risky if not done under the supervision of a medical professional. The withdrawal symptoms are often severe, and can cause seizures and erratic and volatile behavior. Hallucinations and paranoia may accompany these symptoms.

If you are struggling with benzo addiction and are ready to quit, it is important that you seek care from a medical detox clinic.

Recovery From Benzo Addiction

While benzo addiction is dangerous and difficult to overcome, recovery is possible. With medical detox help and treatment, you or your loved one can overcome this addiction.

Sometimes, it can be tough for people struggling with addiction to admit that they have a problem. This is known as denial and it is one of the biggest barriers to getting help for benzo addiction. If your loved one is unwilling to get help, or insists that he or she doesn’t have a problem, it may be time for an intervention.

When It’s Time For A Benzo Addiction Intervention

Intervention works where threats, bribes, bargains and pleas fail. 90% of interventions result in the addicted person going to treatment. If your loved one is addicted to benzos and they will not get help, an intervention specialist can give you, your family and your loved one the support and guidance needed to overcome their fear and denial and make a change. When you have exhausted other options, it is time to get help for your family with a benzo addiction intervention.

Where To Find A Benzo Addiction Intervention Specialist

If you are ready to take the next step, Intervention Services, Inc. is here for you. Once you make the call, your intervention specialist will be there for you every step of the way, offering support not only to your loved one but also to your family throughout the entire process. Call Intervention Services, Inc. at 877-478-4621 today.