Benzo Addiction Treatment
Benzos, short for Benzodiazepines, are a type of psychoactive prescription drug. Benzos have been prescribed to the public for more than 50 years; these are prescribed to help people with their problems with panic attacks, anxiety, and disturbed sleep patterns.
In 2011 alone, the amount of benzos prescribed is staggering. A report shows that Xanax has been prescribed 49 million times, followed by Ativan with 27.6 million prescriptions, Klonopin at 26.9 million, valium at 15 million and Restoril at 8.5 million. This is not a surprise since benzos are effective at what they do; if taken moderately, they can help not just for panic and anxiety attacks, but can also help people cope with migraines, Tourette’s syndrome and even epilepsy.
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Another important thing to note is that they are very fast-acting; at the first signs of panic or anxiety, benzos provide relief quickly and effectively. They remain useful and popular medicine when taken as prescribed; however, benzos’ quick action and calming “high” make them candidates for abuse and addiction.
What Are the Risks Of Taking Benzos?
Benzos are supposed to be taken only for the short term; they are basically a short-term solution to acute psychological disorders. Especially when taken to control panic or anxiety attacks, benzos can become a crutch for the user. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in one of their reports warned that taking Xanax above 4 mg/day for more than 3 months increases the chances for dependency.
Another study shows that almost half (43%) of people consuming diazepam for eight months or longer experience unwanted withdrawal symptoms when they have stopped taking the medication.
Benzos are used commonly as self-medication; prescriptions are easy to get and the pills themselves are generally not expensive. This tendency toward self-medication is risky in cases of mental health disorders where the patient takes Valium (for example) to control anxiety because a dual diagnosis can develop.
Death does occur with benzo overdose but not as often as other substances like opiates; on the other hand, they can increase the risk of death if they are taken with other substances, especially alcohol.
What are the symptoms and side effects of benzo substance abuse?
For most of the unsuspecting public, they will not know they are already abusing benzos until it is too late. Some early signs are:
- Memory issues,
- Lethargy and drowsiness,
- Change in speech patterns, particularly slurring,
If the behavioral symptoms below are present, it is best to seek professional assistance:
- Lower motor coordination,
- Restlessness and anxiety,
- Unexplained hostility and agitation,
- Problems with sleeping,
- Loss of sex drive,
- Impaired or absent reflexes,
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?
Upon halting the intake of benzodiazepine, withdrawal symptoms can appear as early as 24 to 72 hours. The impact of the symptoms is proportionate to how high the doses and long the intake of the drugs.
Below are symptoms that can be seen for those who suffer from withdrawal:
- Muscle cramps,
- Increased blood pressure,
- Muscle twitches,
- Sweating and tremors,
- Hallucinations and delusions,
- Stronger feelings of anxiety,
What Can Be Done?
Ranch Creek Recovery’s drug addiction treatment centers provide both inpatient and outpatient services for benzo addiction. Drug and alcohol rehab is not a journey people should walk alone; a supporting environment and individualized, caring advice will be of extreme help in those trying times.
Most drug addiction treatment centers use conventional treatments like a 12-step program. With the ever-increasing need for more innovative and efficient methods, Ranch Creek’s holistic addiction treatment centers are leading the charge for a less “cookie-cutter” approach. Our holistic addiction treatment center employs both traditional and alternative therapies that are scientifically proven to help. Newer therapies like the equine-assisted therapy, which facilitates recovery with the interaction of horses, are taking the forefront of treatment options.
Ranch Creek Recovery is a small 6-bed holistic facility which aims not only to stop the withdrawal symptoms by those who suffer from substance abuse but also helping our patients grow personally and emotionally. Call or click today to find out more.