Benzodiazepines are one of the best treatments for many disorders such as sleep and anxiety disorders. It is important to note that short-term use of these drugs may be effective and safe with careful monitoring. However, long-term use of these drugs can cause a person to abuse or become addicted to them.
If you or someone you know is abusing or addicted to benzodiazepines, please reach out to our Blue Hills Recovery team for treatment today. In the meantime, it may be helpful to learn some more about this drug and the dangers of them.
What Are Benzos?
Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are a group of drugs that generally are prescribed to treat insomnia, anxiety, seizures and some other health conditions. These drugs affect neurotransmitters in the person’s brain to help provide a calming effect. Particularly, they affect get GABA neurotransmitters or the transmitter that helps to slow brain activity. It does this by applying a negative charge to the neuron, helping to relieve anxiety and other stressors. Benzodiazepines are one of the drugs that doctors in the United States prescribe the most and this has been the case for quite some time.
Uses for Benzodiazepines
There are numerous health disorders that may be treated with the use of benzodiazepines such as:
- Anxiety disorders (PTSD, OCD, phobias, and others)
- Convulsive disorders (multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy may cause seizures and need treatment such as with benzos)
- Sleep disorders (insomnia and other types of sleep issues)
- Detox (these drugs can help people to detox from alcohol and other drugs)
If you or someone you know has been using benzodiazepines to treat these disorders, whether that was via a prescription or illegal use, our Blue Hills Recovery team can help you to get clean from these drugs and into recovery.
Common Benzos Used
Each benzo will work similarly on the brain and body. However, there are different durations they may work and strengths they are prescribed or given in. With this being said, some of the common benzos that people use include:
- Ativan (people generally use this to treat anxiety, but sometimes they use it to help with seizures disorders)
- Xanax (usually people use this to treat panic and anxiety disorders and it is the benzo that is prescribed the most throughout the United States)
- Restoril (sedative commonly prescribed to treat insomnia)
- Klonopin (treats anxiety, seizure disorders, and some other mental health disorders)
- Valium (helps to treat restless leg syndrome, panic attacks, seizures, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms)
If you have been taking any of these benzos and want to get off from them, you aren’t alone. Our Blue Hills Recovery team is ready to help you start this process right away.
Benzodiazepine Side Effects
People who use benzodiazepines generally will experience a range of side effects. Some of these might include:
- Memory loss
Out of all these, dizziness, sleepiness and drowsiness are the ones that people report the most often. In addition to the effects just named, using benzos long-term can cause someone to become dependent upon or addicted to them. There is even more concern when talking about the dangers of benzodiazepines.
Reasons Benzos Are So Dangerous
One of the biggest risks associated with using benzodiazepines is the misuse, dependency or addiction potential. For the majority of people who use these drugs short-term, they don’t generally develop these issues. However, when someone is one benzos for months or years, there is a much higher chance that they will become dependent upon or develop an addiction to them.
In addition, long-term use of benzodiazepines increases the chances that someone will have withdrawal symptoms if they lower their dosage or stop taking the drug altogether. Some of the withdrawal symptoms that a person might experience in these cases include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle stiffness
If you are taking short-acting benzos like Xanax you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms more quickly after stopping the drug than with long-acting drugs like Klonopin. This is due to the amount of time the drug takes to get out of your body. In addition, withdrawal symptoms aren’t usually as intense with the long-acting benzos. Either way, though, it can be difficult to stop taking benzodiazepines, especially if you are trying to do so on your own. If you need help to quit taking them or overcome an addiction to them, our Blue Hills Recovery team can help.
In addition, another danger of taking benzos is the risk of an overdose. There are so many people who lose their life to a benzodiazepine overdose. If you suspect that someone you know is abusing these drugs, it is crucial that you know how to spot the signs of an overdose. The sooner you can help someone who is overdosing, the more of a chance they will have to make it through it.
Benzodiazepine Overdose Signs
Benzodiazepine overdose is a serious matter. Sometimes, it can even be fatal. Generally, it is even more dangerous when someone is mixing benzos with other harmful substances such as alcohol or opioids. Either way, there are some overdose signs that you and others should watch out for, including:
- Slurred speech
- Slow heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Severe weakness
- Severe drowsiness
If you notice these signs in someone, it is important to get them immediate medical help. Even if they aren’t overdosing on benzos, there could be something else going on that requires them to receive emergency medical attention.
Treating the Misuse of Benzos
When talking about treating the misuse or dependency to benzodiazepines, tapering off from the is usually best. When people try to quit cold turkey, they often develop intense mental and physical stress that usually leads them to relapse.
Have you been taking benzodiazepines regularly for a month or more? Do you notice you have withdrawal symptoms when you wean off from or stop taking them? If you answered yes to either of these questions, it would be best to seek out professional treatment help to help you manage withdrawal symptoms, get clean and proceed into your recovery. Here at Blue Hills, we can use a tapering program to help you start this process.
Get Into a Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment Program Today
There are millions of people who struggle with an addiction to benzodiazepines. If you or someone you know is dealing with misuse or addiction to these drugs, there are multiple treatments that can help you to overcome these issues. You can start with medically-assisted detox and move into one of our Blue Hills rehab programs. Throughout the entire process, our team will be here to help you work through withdrawal symptoms, overcome obstacles, recognize the underlying causes of your addiction, teach you recovering lifestyle tips and much more.
Contact us today to get into an addiction treatment program for benzodiazepines today.