Benzodiazepines (benzos) are central nervous system depressants (CNS) That are frequently prescribed to treat anxiety disorder, panic disorder, insomnia and other medical conditions such as seizures.
While benzos are an effective medication that can be beneficial in the short term, they should not be used long-term, should only be used as directed and should not be used in conjunction with other drugs such as alcohol.
Unfortunately, benzodiazepine addiction is a growing problem and recent research shows that the effects of benzos are more severe than was previously thought. Thousands of people every year end up in the emergency room as a result of overdose or other issues related to benzo addiction and abuse.
The sudden surge in the last few years of benzodiazepines is largely due to overprescribing. Chances are, you know someone who has recently been diagnosed with anxiety and has received a prescription for drugs like Xanax or Ativan. That person could be the loved one you are concerned about.
Anxiety disorder and panic disorder have seen a steady increase in diagnosis over time. This may be due to our increasingly busy, high-pressure society. Our senses are assaulted daily by media, internet and other stimulation. We work too many hours and our off time is filled with errands activities are more reasons to “stay busy.” It is no wonder that anxiety has skyrocketed.
In response to this, pharmaceutical companies have provided the public with drugs like Xanax to alleviate anxiety, and Ambien, to help with insomnia. While Ambien is not a benzo, it shares many similar qualities.
Benzos have long been an issue when it comes to drug abuse, but the problem has gotten worse. The number of prescriptions has increased, and the number of people
who use it recreationally has also increased. While many people who become addicted to benzos are introduced to it by doctors, there are also people who are introduced to it in recreational settings. Pills in general have seen an increase in popularity, and it isn’t uncommon for a young person to go to a party and find a selection of benzodiazepines and opiates, along with alcohol and marijuana. These drugs are often mixed together, and this is where many emergency room visits happen.
There are several commonly used benzos currently being prescribed right now. Although they are all benzos, each has differences that affect its use, potency, likelihood of abuse and side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Here is a list:
Different benzodiazepines possess different characteristics, such as how long the effects last, and how long until the effects start. Drugs like Xanax are generally used for anxiety, whereas Halcion is typically used for insomnia. Klonopin is sometimes prescribed for seizure disorder.
Each person is different when it comes to how a certain drug affects them. Some people are more sensitive, some build a tolerance quicker. When it comes to benzos, initially the effects are intense, but tolerance builds quickly, and within a few days there may be no noticeable signs of use. Here are some common signs:
There are also changes in mood and behavior that are associated with benzodiazepine use. This will vary from person to person. Here are some typical signs and symptoms:
Benzodiazepines may initially help the symptoms of anxiety, but over time their use can actually increase the problem and cause a host of other mood and behavior problems. It isn’t unusual for people who have been abusing benzos to become hostile, erratic, delusional and even violent.
Benzodiazepine abuse is a vicious cycle that endangers lives. Because using benzos results in physical dependence, quitting them is difficult. The user will experience withdrawals, often severe withdrawals.
Aside from the risks of overdose, particularly when combined with other drugs, there are a number of risks associated with benzo use. It has been found that long-term benzodiazepine use causes damage to the brain, some of which is irreversible. Doctors are seeing increasing instances of people who are experiencing memory loss and cognitive deficits as a result of benzo use.
If your loved one is addicted to benzos, it is imperative that he or she get the help that they need.
Getting help for benzo addiction in the form of an intervention can help not only the addict but the family as well. Intervention Services, Inc. provides professional benzodiazepine addiction intervention services and works with you and your family from start to finish to help your loved one. Call 1-877-478-4621 today for more information.