Many are familiar with the difficulties experienced when someone is addicted to opioids (prescription painkillers), alcohol, or other drugs. Despite significant efforts to stem the impacts of the opioid crisis, the death toll continues to rise. However, another highly addictive class of drugs does not receive as much attention in the public eye. Like prescription opioids, benzodiazepines are legally prescribed and, when used properly, are beneficial in helping those who struggle with specific conditions mitigate and reduce the severity of their symptoms. However, also like opioids, benzodiazepines can be highly addictive and are, unfortunately, frequently misused.
Benzodiazepines often referred to as Benzos, are a class of drugs commonly prescribed as part of a treatment program for anxiety and panic disorders as well as difficulties sleeping, muscle relaxation, seizures. In some cases, specific benzodiazepines are used as part of a medically assisted treatment plan for alcohol use disorder recovery. Drugs that fall into this class are prescription sedatives (tranquilizers) such as Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. Benzodiazepines have been prescribed to treat various conditions since the 1960s, and since that time, hundreds of different formulas have been produced. Today only fifteen are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
How Benzos Are Addictive
When used as directed, benzodiazepines are generally highly effective. However, because the chemical properties of benzodiazepines work in the brain and body in similar ways to opioids, ongoing use or misuse of benzodiazepine drugs carries a high rate of addiction and potential for overdose. Benzodiazepines act on the central nervous system producing sensations of relaxation and sedation. Because of their sedative effects and helpful ability to reduce (and often entirely remove) feelings of panic and anxiety, the user quickly develops an addiction to happier feelings. This also results in addition to the substance itself quite quickly as the user believes they cannot “feel” the same emotions without the help of the drug.
In most cases, after three to four weeks of regular (even prescribed) use, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. To reduce the severity of withdrawal, most courses of treatment involving benzodiazepines are limited to no more than thirty-to-sixty-day increments. In instances of abuse and misuse, it is essential to seek comprehensive addiction treatment to ensure a safe and healthy detox from the effects and impacts of benzo use.
What to Do if You Have a Benzodiazepine Addiction
The use of benzodiazepines, when used as directed, typically does not result in dangerous or life-threatening effects. However, the process of detoxing and withdrawing from benzodiazepines can be dangerous, especially when one attempts to “self-detox” or detox “cold turkey.” If you are ready to detox from benzodiazepines, it is essential to do so in a controlled environment, under medical supervision. In a medically supervised detox setting, addiction treatment professionals and medical providers can ensure you can detox safely from benzodiazepines.
Depending on your needs, the team at Relevance Recovery will monitor your vitals continuously throughout the detox process and, in some cases, provide medications to help reduce the intensity and severity of your withdrawal symptoms. Undergoing the detox process in a controlled setting is not only beneficial to your health and safety but to your ongoing treatment process. Once the medically supervised detox is complete, you can transition directly to a therapeutic program designed to help you achieve and maintain ongoing sobriety.
Relevance Recovery Is Here to Help Set You Free From Addiction
If you are concerned about your dependence on or addiction to benzodiazepines, it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. At Relevance Recovery, our highly trained team of treatment professionals will work with you to create a treatment plan uniquely designed to meet your treatment needs and goals. Let our experienced Freehold, New Jersey team help you take the first steps on your journey to freedom from benzo addiction.