Are You Addicted to Benzodiazepines?

Published On: June 12, 20184.5 min read908 wordsCategories: Addiction Treatment And Rehab

If you’ve experienced a constant, lingering worry or fear that seems  too difficult to overcome, you may be facing a diagnosis of anxiety. While anxiety is manageable with the right therapy and medication, a prescription of benzodiazepines can be easily abused.

If you’ve found yourself wondering if you’re addicted to benzodiazepines and aren’t sure where to turn or what to do, we’re here to help. Here’s what you need to know about why benzodiazepines are addictive and the most common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop using.

What are benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a drug most commonly used in the treatment of anxiety. Benzodiazepines are depressants, meaning they lower neurotransmitter levels, reducing stimulation in certain parts of the brain. This can result in sedation and hypnosis, reduced anxiety and decrease muscle spasms and seizures.

The effects of benzodiazepines are comparable to alcohol, barbiturates, sleeping pills and other depressants. When this drug is consumed, the central nervous system is slowed down, inducing relaxation, drowsiness, slowed breathing and decreased heart rate.

Benzodiazepines are only legally obtainable by a prescription from a doctor. While use may be legally regulated, benzodiazepines are often obtained by visiting multiple doctors, forging prescriptions and buying and selling prescriptions illegal. The drug is taken orally or by crushing it up and snorting the powder.

Are benzodiazepines addictive?

The short answer is yes. Benzodiazepines, while not as addictive as opioids, are a highly addictive substance. Benzodiazepine addiction is most common among adolescents and young adults.

Moreover, benzodiazepines are often combined with higher potency substances like heroin to increase the euphoric sensation. Combining these drugs can have even more dangerous side effects than consuming just one substance. When benzodiazepines are combined with opioids, a person will be more prone to continue using them.

Why are benzodiazepines addictive? for the same reason that other depressants like alcohol are. As a person uses the substance, more and more will be needed to experience the same effects. Your body will naturally build up a tolerance to the drug, while still reinforcing the positive feelings that come with use.

Where can I find a list of benzodiazepines?

There are many commonly prescribed benzodiazepines. Here are the most well known that are used for anxiety and sometimes as anticonvulsants.

  • Valium;
  • Xanax;
  • Halcion;
  • Ativan;
  • Klonopin;
  • Chlordizepoxide;
  •  Centrax;
  • Doral;
  • Serax.

There are also shorting acting forms of this drugs. These are most often used to treat insomnia.

  • Estazolam;
  • Flurazepam;
  • Temazepam;
  • Triazolam;
  • Midazolam.

While these drugs have many legitimate uses, if you think you may be faced with an addiction, it’s time to reach out for help.

How do I know if I’m addicted to benzodiazepines?

Here are some common signs that a prescription use has become an addiction or what you thought was simply recreational use has gone too far.

  • You struggle to feel normal without the drug;
  • You find yourself taking increasing amounts of the drug over time;
  • The amount you started using has no effect on you now;
  • You have resorted to illegal means to obtain more of a prescription;
  • You are facing issues in your daily life due to drug use;
  • You have noticed increasingly negative withdrawal symptoms when you spend a period of time without the drug;
  • Your thoughts always drift back to using the drug and the next time you will use it;
  • You wonder how you will ensure you always have access to the drug;
  • You’re unable to refrain from using the drug for a week or even a day.

Benzodiazepines are addictive, but that doesn’t mean the cycle is impossible to break. When you notice signs that substance use has gotten out of hand, it’s time to start thinking about detox and treatment.

What are benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms?

Experiencing withdrawal from any depressant can have painful and harmful effects. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are no different. Here’s what you can expect a few hours or days after your last use of benzodiazepines.

  • Visual disturbances;
  • Violence and aggression;
  • Tremor;
  • Tinnitus;
  • Taste and smell disturbances;
  • Tachycardia;
  • Suicidal ideation or suicide;
  • Stiffness;
  • Restless legs syndrome;
  • REM sleep rebound;
  • Psychosis;
  • Postural hypotension;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Photophobia;
  • Perspiration;
  • Paranoia;
  • Paresthesia;
  • Organic brain syndrome;
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • Nightmares;
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome-like event;
  • Muscular spasms, cramps, discomfort, or fasciculations;
  • Mood swings;
  • Mild to moderate Aphasia;
  • Mania;
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss;
  • Insomnia;
  • Increased urinary frequency;
  • Increased sensitivity to touch;
  • Impaired memory and concentration;
  • Hypochondriasis;
  • Hypnagogic hallucinations;
  • Hyperthermia;
  • Hypertension;
  • Hypersomnia;
  • Hot and cold spells;
  • Hearing disturbance;
  • Headache;
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance (including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting);
  • Fatigue and weakness;
  • Elevation in blood pressure;
  • Dysphoria;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Dizziness;
  • Dilated pupils;
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality);
  • Depression (can be severe), possible suicidal ideation;
  • Depersonalization;
  • Delirium tremens;
  • Convulsions, which may result in death;
  • Confusion;
  • Coma;
  • Chest pain;
  • Catatonia, which may result in death;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Akathisia;
  • Agitation and Anxiety, possible terror and panic attacks.

The list of potential side effects of benzodiazepine use and withdrawal are severe. This list of benzodiazepine abuse outcomes should be enough to convince anyone to stop using and receive detox care in a professional facility. Your life could be at stake.

Seeking help

If you’re suffering from an addiction and need help, contact Freedom Detox. Freedom Detox is a substance use disorder treatment center in Charlotte, North Carolina. You shouldn’t have to fight addiction on your own. Upon calling you’ll instantly be connected to care and support. You are not alone. You can get back on track to a happier, healthier, drug-free life.

When you’re ready call Freedom Detox.

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