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Benzodiazepine Dependence – Signs of Benzodiazepine Use Vs. Abuse, Tolerance

Are Benzodiazepines Addictive?

Benzodiazepines are widely used to treat a number of different conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia. How addictive are benzodiazepines? Because these drugs contain sedative properties, yes, benzodiazepines are highly addictive and abuse can occur easily. The most commonly prescribed anti-depressants in America, benzodiazepines affect a person’s brain and nervous system according to an article on the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) website.

Understanding Benzodiazepine Dependency and Tolerance

benzodiazepine dependenceAbuse of benzodiazepines is usually defined as using the drug to obtain a non-therapeutic effect. When benzodiazepines are taken for long periods, a person may become physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. It is also common for people taking benzodiazepines long-term to develop tolerance. This means the drug no longer has the desired effect. This encourages a person to increase their dosage in order to achieve the therapeutic effect they are used to. Benzodiazepine dependence is usually characterized by a number of symptoms that occur should the person suddenly stop taking the drug. Symptoms of physical dependence include anxiety, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and tremors. Psychological dependence is usually illustrated by a person’s complete preoccupation with taking benzodiazepines. They may appear obsessed with ensuring they take the drug regularly, at the cost of other activities in their life losing importance. Some users may not realize they have a dependency on benzodiazepines, while others may be too afraid to admit they may need help. If you require information on our inpatient and outpatient services, please feel free to call 1-888-803-9961. Alternatively, you can complete one of the quick reply forms.

Effects/Side Effects

The benzodiazepine high has been described as experiencing an intense feeling of euphoria. It is also common for people to experience short-term effects such as increased self-confidence, becoming more talkative, and general feelings of enhanced happiness. Benzodiazepines are also likely to reduce a person’s anxiety, making them feel worry-free and much calmer than usual. As with most highs, users of benzodiazepines will experience a comedown. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and general agitation are not uncommon when coming down from benzodiazepines. The person may also experience uncomfortable physical symptoms such as stomach cramps and headaches. It is this comedown that often encourages a person to continue taking benzodiazepines.

Withdrawal and Detoxification

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can cause a person to experience a range of different symptoms. According to an American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) website article, the most common withdrawal effects include anxiety and insomnia. A person is likely to experience more intense symptoms if they abruptly stop taking the medication. Physical withdrawal symptoms can range from stomach and muscle cramps, diarrhea, tremors, and fever to a general feeling of being unwell. Depending on the severity of the addiction, these symptoms can last from three to 10 days. Psychological withdrawal symptoms usually last much longer and include anxiety attacks, irrational and angry outbursts, depression, and lack of sleep. Ideally, a person should consult their doctor for information on a detoxification program. Attending an official rehab center will increase a person’s chances of successfully overcoming their drug addiction.

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

treatmentWhen benzodiazepines are taken as directed by a medical professional, they rarely have any serious side effects. However, when these drugs are being used long term in a psychiatric setting, there is a higher chance of addiction forming, according to the AAFP website. Generally, medical professionals recommend a combination of treatment for benzodiazepine addiction. Detoxification programs will help a person with their physical dependence, but it is often the psychological dependency on the drug that causes the most problems. Behavioral and cognitive therapy can assist a person in understanding how to break bad habits and help them prevent themselves from forming new ones. Because a person addicted to benzodiazepine believes the drug is the only way they can feel happy, calm, and relaxed, therapists will also help them to develop coping strategies. This helps reduce the chances of a person returning to benzodiazepines.

The most common treatment for benzodiazepine addiction is supervised rehabilitation. This can take place in an official rehab center, hospital, medical center, or even the person’s own home. Supervised rehabilitation ensures the person has access to both medical and psychological help, as and when they may need it. Doctors recommend a person does not attempt to withdraw from benzodiazepines on their own. An official detoxification and therapy program will ensure the person has the support they need for a successful journey to recovery. If you are interested in finding out more about our inpatient and outpatient services for benzodiazepine abuse treatment, please consider calling 1-888-803-9961. Alternatively, you can complete a quick reply form.