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What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, otherwise known as Benzos, are one of the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States. These drugs are classified as sedatives, which are commonly used to help people sleep, soothe anxiety, control seizures, relax muscles, and more. Common benzodiazepines are Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.

While these drugs can be used to help with serious medical issues, they can also be misused. According to WebMD, there are more than 2,000 benzodiazepines produced, but only 15 of them are approved by the FDA.

How Do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzodiazepines work by interacting with the neurotransmitters in the brain (chemicals that are released by nerves to communicate with other nerves) to release feelings of relaxation and sedation.

What are the Uses of Benzodiazepines?

Treating medical conditions — Benzodiazepines are prescribed by medical professionals to people who are in need of its relaxing benefits. For example, someone who is suffering from anxiety may be prescribed Xanax.

Benzos can help with medical conditions such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal from other medications
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms

Benzodiazepines have helped many people overcome their medical problems. Although, since they are prescribed so commonly, it is easy to misuse them and form an addiction.

Anesthetics — Benzodiazepines can also be used as an anesthetic before one undergoes surgery. The drug’s powerful sedating effects can calm a person so they feel relaxed going into the procedure. It can also be used to induce amnesia for more minor procedures.

Date Rapedrug — Benzodiazepines can be used as a “date rape” drug, meaning it can be secretly added to a person’s alcoholic beverage to sedate them. This is due to the drug’s ability to drastically slow functioning and impair an individual’s mental state. When used in high doses or mixed with alcohol, these drugs can result in benzodiazepine overdose.

Benzodiazepine Dependence and Addiction

There is a difference between dependence and addiction to benzodiazepine drugs. Dependence occurs when your body begins to rely on the drug to function properly. This goes along with withdrawal symptoms; if your body does not get the drug, it will produce withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, or even seizures. An example of benzodiazepine dependence would be not being able to fall asleep at night without taking your daily Ativan.

Addiction to benzodiazepines takes dependence one step further. It occurs when an individual’s mind and body begin to depend on the drug. Addiction results in drug cravings, skipping personal obligations, or even leading to financial and relationship problems. Benzodiazepine addiction can make your life revolve around it, and it may result in death without getting professional help.

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction

The beginning symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction may include drowsiness, blurred vision, and muscle weakness. Over time, an individual may experience confusion, speech problems, and a lack of coordination. Since benzodiazepines are used to relax the body, slowed breathing may occur and result in coma or death.

The more serious symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction may include personal changes such as financial problems, deteriorating relationships, or neglecting personal hygiene. People may begin to skip school or work, and abandoning their personal responsibilities.

You may have a benzodiazepine addiction if:

  • You take a higher dose than prescribed
  • You take them for longer than recommended
  • You experience withdrawal in absence of the drug
  • You fail when you try to get off of the drug
  • You constantly crave the drug
  • You experience other health problems

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

Counseling: counseling is a great way to come to terms with your addiction. Individual counseling and family counseling teach you to be honest with yourself and other people about your addiction so that you can find the best form of recovery for you.

Group therapy: you may want to consider group therapy if you want to maintain sobriety long-term. By being around people who are in the same situation as you, you can see what methods have worked for some and not for others. This way, you can have a supportive community to help you on your road to recovery.

Holistic treatment facilities: finding a holistic treatment facility is crucial to achieving long-term sobriety if you are having serious addiction problems. Try to look for centers that practice a holistic approach to healing, one that puts great emphasis on the mind, body, and spirit as a whole. This way, you will be better equipped to handle obstacles in the future without going back to drugs.

There are many ways that you can fight addiction, but it is important to know that you cannot do it on your own. That’s why there are plenty of treatment options available for your overall health. Call New Beginnings today and let us help you on the road to recovery and sobriety.

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