Benzodiazepine Addiction: Symptoms, Signs, & Side Effects
The sedative effects of, as well as their addiction-forming properties, makes them a popular drug of abuse. Because benzodiazepines are prescription drugs, some individuals may have a legitimate medical reason to use them. However, over time, even those taking benzodiazepines as prescribed can become addicted to them.
Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Abuse
When not taken as prescribed, benzodiazepine use can bring about a number of unpleasant signs and symptoms. These symptoms may differ depending on the length of abuse and the amount of the substance abused. These individuals may shop around to several different doctors to obtain more prescriptions and may display other drug-seeking behaviors.
The most common behavioral symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse include:
- Taking larger doses than intended, for than intended
- Forging prescriptions
- Avoiding friends and family Inability to meet expectations and responsibilities at work, school or home
- Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Feelings of detachment and apathy
- Anxiety and depression
The physical symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse include:
- Increased respiratory infections
- Double vision
- Muscle weakness
- Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
Other symptoms can include memory impairment an confusion, which can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks at work, school or home. Individuals may develop a slower rate of thinking and reaction time, which can make certain jobs impossible.
Side Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Benzodiazepines can be beneficial for short term management of anxiety, but chronic use may lead to tolerance and subsequent dependence. Over time, this can cause a number of long-term, adverse side effects. Some of these risks are unavoidable, even when benzodiazepines are used as prescribed.
The side effects of benzodiazepine abuse can influence physical and mental health, as well as overall functioning. These hindrances in functioning can lead to serious injury, or even death. A person abusing benzodiazepines is likely to appear drowsy and sleepy, lack coordination, and be aggressive and irritable. They may suffer from poor sleep patterns due to vivid and disturbing dreams.
When benzodiazepines are abused with other drugs, the effect can be coma or death. Hundreds of thousands of people go to US emergency rooms each year for problems with benzodiazepine abuse.
Some common side effects of benzodiazepine abuse include:
- Inability to hold down a job
- Lack of interpersonal relationships
- Increasing legal problems
- Worsening mental and physical health
- Depression or anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Signs of Benzodiazepine Overdose
According to the , there has been an increase in the number of overdose deaths related to benzodiazepine use. However, benzodiazepine overdose is most likely when the medication is mixed with other addictive substances, such as alcohol.
Individuals who are prescribed benzodiazepines should be careful of mixing these medications with opioid painkillers and antidepressants.
If an individual suffers an overdose on benzodiazepines, it’s important to call 911 immediately. If they are conscious, try to keep them talking. Do not induce vomiting to remove toxins from the stomach, and make sure they do not ingest additional alcohol or drugs while waiting for emergency help to arrive.
The signs and symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose may differ from person to person and depend on a variety of factors. Some of the signs of an overdose include:
- Trouble breathing
- Bluish fingernails and lips
- Confusion and disorientation
- Extreme dizziness
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Uncoordinated muscle movements
If you are or a loved one is in need of help or assistance in treatment, Orlando Recovery Center is can help. Individuals who struggle with symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction can receive help from our experienced medical team. If you or a loved one suffers from benzodiazepine addiction, o speak with a representative.