The term benzodiazepine (often abbreviated as “benzo”) refers to an addictive class of depressants that are typically prescribed by physicians for anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and acute stress reactions. Because these medications are given to people by doctors, they incorrectly assume that they are safe to take in any amount.
Misuse of these drugs may take several forms, including taking them differently than prescribed, taking another person’s medication, or taking the drugs to experience a high. It is possible to overdose on these medicines, which is why it is vital for loved ones to identify when someone has developed an addiction to benzos.
Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Recognizing that your loved one is misusing a prescription medication can be more challenging than noticing illicit drug use. Side effects of these drugs include confusion, anxiety, headaches, forgetfulness, irritability, fatigue, and blurred vision, but these may be difficult to detect unless your loved one complains about them aloud.
Outward signs of benzo misuse can include:
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Shallow or slowed breathing
- Dry mouth
- “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple physicians to obtain prescriptions)
- Impaired coordination
- Confusion or cloudiness
- Failing to perform at school or work
- Stealing another person’s pills or prescriptions
- Forging prescriptions
- Spending an increasing amount of time obtaining and using the drugs
- Slurred speech
- Developing a tolerance (needing to take more to acheive the same effect)
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Abandoning once-loved hobbies and activities
- Nausea and vomiting
- Taking medication for longer or in larger dosages than first intended
Benzos carry intense withdrawal symptoms which are physically and mentally painful – they may even be life-threatening if someone decides to quit “cold turkey” without medical supervision. Those who have taken the drugs in large amounts or for a long time will experience the worst withdrawals. The most common symptoms of benzo withdrawal include sleep issues, panic attacks, anxiety, tension, hyperhidrosis (extreme sweating), tremors, loss of mental clarity, hallucinations, grand mal seizures, and psychosis.
For this reason, it is vital that those who wish to break free of addiction to benzos seek proper medical care. Medically supervised detox ensures that patients will receive 24/7 clinical assistance, along with medications that can ease these symptoms and make them much more manageable.
Treatment for Addiction to Benzodiazepines
Detox is the first step, but this alone is not sufficient to ensure lasting sobriety. This is because merely removing one’s substance of choice does not erase the factors that push someone into misusing prescription medications. Those who are looking to overcome addiction should pursue residential or outpatient rehab. By working with an addiction treatment specialist, patients may determine which path to treatment is right for them. Inpatient or residential rehabs provide a distraction-free environment in which patients may focus on getting sober.
The most important component of addiction recovery is a comprehensive treatment plan. This approach should be tailored to each individual and ought to take their personal history, past substance abuse, and mental health into account. Effective addiction treatment should include:
- Individual Counseling (CBT, DBT, EMDR)
- Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders
- Group Therapy
- Individualized Treatment Plans
- A Positive, Supportive Environment
- 12-Step Immersion
- Transitional Living
- Family Involvement
- Continuing Care
- Addiction Education
Benzo Addiction Treatment in Long Beach, CA
Begin your journey to recovery. At New Found Life, we utilize evidence-based treatment models to ensure that each of our patients receives the highest quality care. Contact us today to speak with a recovery counselor and begin the enrollment process. A new life is possible, and it starts here. Call 800-635-9899 to learn more.