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Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment: Finding Help for this Dangerous Addiction

Benzodiazepines have been around since the late 1950s, and they were marketed as being an alternative to barbiturates and as minor tranquilizers.

benzodiazepine addiction information

When they’re prescribed for short term usage, they can be very useful for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, seizures and after surgeries. However, when people take them for more than two to four weeks, they can become addicted to them.

There are some instances when doctors will prescribe benzodiazepines for longer than the recommended time, and even when patients follow their doctors’ advice to the letter, they can still become dependent on them. That means that when they decide they want to try and stop taking them, benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can surface and cause all kinds of problems and complications.

In order to understand how dangerous this addiction is, it’s important to look at what medications fall into this class, and what you can look for to determine whether you or someone you love is abusing benzodiazepines, or has become addicted to them.

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What Medications are Classified as Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are also referred to on the street as “Benzos,” and they can be very dangerous with prolonged usage. Even though doctors have recently tried to prescribe alternate drugs to their patients because of the risks involved with this classification, there are some who still heavily prescribe them. They are:

  • Valium (generic name: diazepam)
  • Ativan (generic name: lorazepam)
  • Xanax (generic name: alprazolam)
  • Klonopin/Rivotril (generic name: clonazepam)
  • Restoril (generic name: temazepam)
  • Rohypnol (generic name: flunitrazepam)
  • Dalmane (generic name: flurazepam)
  • Imovane (generic name: zopiclone)
  • Ambien (generic name: zoldipem)
  • Lunesta (generic name: eszopiclone)

It is so easy to become dependent upon benzos because they actually do work really well for their intended purpose. However, it’s easy to develop a tolerance after only a short time of using them, which can lead to using increasing amounts as time goes on.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Symptoms and Signs

It’s a bit ironic that many benzodiazepines are prescribed for anxiety and for sleep, yet the longer you take them, the more anxious you feel, and the more your sleep is disturbed. Eventually, they can even lead to depression and increased instances of panic attacks. It’s very common for doctors to increase dosages for benzodiazepines, which only drives people further into their addictions.

Most of the people who use benzos do so under the care and supervision of their doctors. They take them because they’re going through stressful situations that are causing them anxiety or robbing them of sleep, and many aren’t told that they can become addicted to them. Maybe you’ve been taking benzos for quite some time, and you need to know if you’ve developed an addiction. If you’ve exhibited any of the following signs or benzodiazepine addiction behaviors, you most likely are addicted:

  • Feeling drowsy throughout the day
  • Being unsteady or uncoordinated when you walk around
  • Experiencing blurred vision
  • Experiencing bouts of amnesia
  • Feeling hostile, angry or irritable
  • Having disturbing dreams

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The Difference Between Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction

Benzodiazepine abuse is a precursor to addiction, and it’s important to know the difference between these two. You are at risk of developing an addiction to benzos if you abuse them, which can happen if you take more than your prescribed dose of the medications, if you take them longer than two to four weeks, or if you take your doses too close together.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s probable that your abuse has moved into addiction, and you’ll want to seek out professional help in order to stop safely and lessen the severity and duration of benzodiazepine withdrawal.

The Short and Long Term Effects of Benzodiazepines

In addition to the above benzodiazepine addiction behaviors and signs of addiction, you should know how this type of addiction manifests within you. You’ll probably notice significant changes in your life if you’re addicted to benzos. For example, you may feel as though you’re detached from life in general. You may be sedated, and you probably won’t care about things that were once important to you before you started taking the medications. In addition, you may withdraw from your family and friends simply because you either don’t care anymore, or you may realize that you could be harming yourself or other people if you’re around them.

Long term, benzodiazepine addiction can easily lead to overdose, which can result in death or a coma.

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What to do if a Loved One is Addicted to Benzodiazepines

If you suspect that someone you love is addicted to benzodiazepines, you’ll want to encourage him or her to get professional help to stop using them. Benzodiazepine addiction treatment centers are designed to address the unique needs of those who are facing this type of addiction. Please be forewarned that you may come up against some resistance when you bring up professional treatment. It’s very common for those who use benzos to believe that they’re perfectly fine because the medications were prescribed to them by a doctor. However, there are could be many different factors at play here. Your loved one might have a doctor who doesn’t realize how long he or she has been taking them, or the medications could be prescribed by more than one doctor, which is against the law.

If you are in need of help with communicating the importance of benzodiazepine addiction treatment, an intervention is something you might want to consider. Interventions are often very useful in getting people to realize their need for professional drug treatment.

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Getting Help from the Top Benzodiazepine Rehab Centers

You should definitely seek out treatment from one of the top benzodiazepine rehab programs in the Pacific Northwest if you have an addiction to one of these drugs, and here at Northpoint Recovery, we would love to talk with you about how we can help. To learn more about how you can leave this addiction behind and recover, please contact us.