Benzodiazepine Addiction

What is a Benzodiazepine?

One of the most frequently prescribed drugs, benzodiazepines a.k.a. “benzos,” are classified as sedative-hypnotic medications.

A sedative-hypnotic drug is a chemical compound that reduces anxiety and induces sleep.

The majority of sedative hypnotics are benzodiazepines and they possess hypnotic, sedative, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxing properties.

Other closely related medications are diazepam, alprazolam, clonazepam, and lorazepam.

Side Effects of Benzodiazepine

Benzodiazepines have many side effects such as the extensive drowsiness and lightheadedness.

Other side effects, unrelated to extended pharmacological activity, include hostility, insomnia, amnesia, depression, seizures, hallucinations, depersonalization, taste alterations, diplopia, elevated bilirubin, elevated hepatic enzymes, jaundice, and aggression.

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

The most important benzodiazepine detox tool is a detox doctor. There is no standard treatment for benzodiazepine addiction. Benzodiazepine detoxification treatment is often the first step in the recovery process.

Withdrawal has been known to cause sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension, anxiety, panic attacks, tremors, sweating, difficulty in concentration, nausea, weight loss, headaches, and muscular pain.

In most cases, withdrawal seizures have been reported in association with the discontinuation of XANAX. Multiple seizures with acute, long epileptic crisis were reported as well.

Significant Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms: Severe Anxiety, Fatigue, Irritability, Dysphoria, Insomnia, Nightmares, Tremors, Muscle Pain, Seizures & Hallucinations. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be very severe. Detox comes with serious health risks including seizures, stroke, and death.

Withdrawal can result in anxiety and insomnia. The second pattern is the withdrawal syndrome which usually lasts 10-14 days. A return of anxiety until treatment is the third pattern.

Nothing is more certain to disrupt the recovery process than a bad detox. Learning how to get off benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Klonopin and Xanax is not something you can simply read in a book.

Risks of Benzodiazepine Use

Benzodiazepines can potentially cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Benzodiazepine causes anxiety and insomnia and users can become incapable of dealing with life or falling asleep without the medication thus producing dependence.

Many people misuse benzodiazepines, leading to dependence and addiction.

There is a risk of dependence even after relatively short-term use of benzodiazepines, at the doses recommended for the treatment of temporary anxiety and anxiety disorder. There are certain groups of people that are more susceptible, including polysubstance abusers, alcoholics, and the elderly.

Benzodiazepine with Other Substances

Benzodiazepines are often used with opioids and alcohol. Many opioid addicts have reported taking benzodiazepines in combination with opioid drugs, including methadone.

Evidence suggests that benzodiazepines enhance and intensify the effects of opioids causing an individual to become physically dependent on benzodiazepines and susceptible to withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol or other sedatives also increase the risk of benzodiazepine addiction. Benzodiazepine withdrawal occurs shortly after the cease of use.

If you or a loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, please contact us or call one of StepHouse Recovery’s friendly staff at (888) 923-7623.