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What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepine, sometimes called “benzos” is a class of drug also known as tranquilizers. They are primarily used to treat severe anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. These are one of the most widely prescribed medications in the United States. When utilized without a prescription and outside of medical observance, individuals who take benzodiazepines for the sedative effects can abuse the drug and may become addicted over time.
Common benzodiazepines are Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam). Xanax often treats anxiety disorders and Valium may treat alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, and seizures.
Benzodiazepines increase the neurotransmitter GABA which inhibits signals to the nervous system, ultimately causing a sedative effect. In high doses, individuals who take benzodiazepines may experience drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, weakness, blurred vision, and even coma.
Signs of Abuse
Benzodiazepines can cause physical and psychological dependence, causing the user to take more of the drug for a heightened effect. When combined with other drugs, especially alcohol and opiates, they can be fatal.
Signs of abuse include:
- Needing to take higher doses for the same effect
- Craving the drug
- Dependence on drug to perform activities of daily living including work.
- Spending a substantial amount of time seeking the drug
- Decreased motivation
Signs of physical dependence include:
- Difficulty breathing
Individuals who take benzodiazepines long-term may experience withdrawal effects. The longer an individual takes these drugs, the more severe the symptoms become. Over time, the brain becomes chemically altered, requiring the drug in order to function properly.
Signs of Withdrawal include:
- Blurred vision
Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction
Benzodiazepine addiction is serious, and it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Depending on severity of benzodiazepine abuse, withdrawal can be fatal. It is important to seek medically supervised detox in order to prevent risk of death.
If you or someone you know is in danger of addition, there is help available. At Water Gap Wellness, we treat the root causes of addiction in a variety of settings. Our trained medical and clinical staff will guide you along the way to recovery from benzodiazepine addiction.