Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as benzos, are depressants that are often prescribed for conditions like anxiety and sleep issues. Some of the brand names that you might recognize are Xanax, Valium and Ativan, which are all classified as Schedule IV drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.
Not only are benzos some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, but they are also some of the most highly addictive. When a person misuses these drugs, benzo addiction can happen shockingly fast. Fortunately, there is also help available through qualified rehab programs and other options.
Benzo Addiction and Overdose Deaths Are Soaring
Misuse of psychotherapeutic drugs is one of this nation’s most significant drug issues. In 2015 alone, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that 119 million Americans ages 12 and older used these drugs and 6.1 million misused this class of drugs to help them relax or sleep.
According to the National Institutes of Health, overdose deaths linked to benzos increased eightfold from 2002 to 2016. In 2016, approximately 10,684 Americans died in overdoses related to benzos. Because of the way that benzos act on the body and mind, they are particularly dangerous and can lead to addiction.
What Causes Benzo Addiction?
Benzos have become so popular because they tend to work well for their intended use, but this comes at great risk. The drugs function by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA-A, which produces a type of sedative-hypnotic effect.
According to researchers, when you take benzos, your dopamine levels soar, which floods your brain with feelings of pleasure. These rewards can be an enticement for you to either want to repeat or enhance the feelings, which can lead to the misuse of the drugs. Misuse involves taking more of the drug than prescribed or taking the drugs without a prescription.
There are many physical, psychological and social signs of benzo addiction. A few of the symptoms to watch for include:
- Sleep problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Taking increasing amounts of benzos
- “Doctor shopping” to get additional medication
- Lower job or academic performance
- Isolating from loved ones
- Hiding drug use
- Continued use despite negative consequences
Where to Get Benzo Addiction Treatment
If you have developed a benzo addiction, professional help can be a vital part of recovery. Do not attempt to handle detoxing on your own as this could have life-threatening consequences. Withdrawal can be dangerous with any drug, but it is particularly so with this type of substance. Stopping benzodiazepine use abruptly without medical supervision can lead to severe consequences including seizures and even death.
When you attend an addiction treatment program at Orlando Recovery Center, you will have the benefit of a team of medical and therapeutic professionals that will give you the personalized attention you need and deserve. Treatment typically begins with a detailed evaluation and then a medically supervised detox program. You may then transition into the rehab program that best suits your needs.
Contact Orlando Recovery Center now to receive answers to your questions and learn more about our options for admission.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.