Benzodiazepines or benzos are not new to the medical and mental health treatment settings. For many years, various benzos have been used in treatment programs to help patients manage multiple symptoms stemming from different health struggles. Benzos have been applied to treatment plans for sleeping problems, chronic muscle spasm, panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain.
As beneficial as benzos can be, they are also highly addictive and frequently misused. They will provide symptom relief when used as directed; however, they are not meant to be used for extended periods. It is not uncommon for benzo users to quickly develop a dependency on the feelings and symptom relief benzos provide. In some cases, dependence can occur in as few as three to four weeks of regular (prescribed) use. Because of the high risk for addiction and significant challenges associated with overcoming benzo addiction, these drugs are generally only used in short-term treatment plans.
What are Benzos?
Benzodiazepine’s or benzos are drugs that work within the central nervous system to slow down the speed of communication between the brain and body. Although some medications in the same drug class are naturally derived, meaning they come from natural ingredients, benzodiazepines are manufactured or “man-made.” Benzos are commonly used to help manage symptoms for individuals experiencing anxiety and anxiety-related conditions. Also, they can help as part of a treatment plan to reduce the intensity and severity of some symptoms related to detox and withdrawal from drugs or alcohol.
While the exact process (or mechanism of action) benzodiazepines use to help slow down communication while increasing the brain’s production of chemicals is unknown, it is clear that these drugs are beneficial as part of comprehensive mental health and addiction treatment programs. Commonly prescribed benzos include Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, and Ativan.
How do People Get Addicted to Benzos?
Benzos help relieve symptoms by slowing how quickly messages travel throughout the body. By limiting how quickly the brain receives communications about pain, fear, or discomfort, benzos can help reduce these symptoms’ impact on patients. This action of slowing the speed of communication to and from the brain is called “depressing” the central nervous system.
When someone struggles with a panic disorder, anxiety, chronic pain, or addiction, the effects of benzos are highly desirable. Benzos are powerful drugs with a high risk for addiction. When the drug is active in the body, many if not all of their symptoms go away. Unfortunately, symptom relief is often short-lived, and the user will take another dose to return to “feeling good.” Typically, as dependency on the relief provided by benzos increases, so does tolerance to the effects of the drug. To defeat tolerance, the user will take more frequent and higher doses to feel the same impact their prescribed dose once provided. This is the process that leads to addiction.
Signs of Benzo Abuse
Like many other medications, benzos produce a range of effects. The signs and symptoms of benzo abuse may be physical, psychological, or behavioral. They will also vary in intensity and severity depending on the severity of your addiction to the drug. Also, benzo abuse symptoms may be either short-term (those signs and symptoms that appear immediately or soon after use) or long-term (symptoms of abuse that may be permanent).
Typical short-term signs of benzo abuse include slurred speech, physical weakness, poor coordination, confusion, exhaustion, vision problems, and dizziness. With long-term abuse and developing tolerance, it is possible to develop lasting and potentially life-threatening symptoms. These can include coma, breathing problems, changes in heart rate, and seizures. It is also vital to avoid combining benzos with other depressants or alcohol as the potential for fatal complications is highly increased. Other potential long-term effects of benzo addiction are cognitive and memory problems, tremors, headaches, difficulties sleeping and concentrating, and new or worsening mental health conditions. Behavioral challenges, including stealing money or prescriptions, legal issues related to drug use, drug-seeking behavior, financial problems, increased isolation, and poor personal hygiene, may also occur.
Finding the Best Benzo Drug Rehab Near Me
Although benzos are safe and effective when used as part of a treatment program, they are drugs with an increased risk for addiction. When someone develops an addiction to benzos, it is essential to seek help at a treatment center where the staff is trained to help you safely wean off benzos. Withdrawing from benzos is not something that you should not do alone. Although the drug itself is not inherently dangerous, suddenly stopping use can lead to complex medical and mental health complications. It is important to begin your journey to sobriety in a medically supervised setting where you will have the support and guidance you need to but benzo addiction in the past.
Once detox is complete, you can transition to a therapeutic addiction treatment program designed to help you defeat addiction for good. During treatment at Casa Serena, you will learn about the roots of addiction and how to prevent relapse after treatment is complete. At our women’s treatment center, we understand that addiction treatment programs must be developed around each patient’s unique needs. Let us help you achieve and maintain lasting sobriety and wellness. Contact our admissions team today to learn more about programs at our women-only rehab in Santa Barbara, CA.