These drugs, commonly referred to as “benzos”, are prescription medications which are effective in helping individuals dealing with the symptoms of anxiety or depression. The most commonly prescribed benzos include Xanax and Ativan. Since benzos are both physically and mentally addictive, they shouldn’t be used for long periods of time. But, often, individuals can develop a dependence on their first round of prescriptions. Whether dependence is developed as a result of a prolonged prescription or simply abuse, benzo addiction is serious. In fact, benzos are one of the few drugs that can actually lead to death from withdrawal. So, it’s extremely important that individuals who develop a physical or mental dependence on these medications get medical, professional help.
What are Benzos?
Benzodiazepines are a classification or prescription medication used in the treatment of anxiety, seizures, insomnia, and panic disorder. They are considered central nervous system depressants and are effective in making users feel calmer and less impulsive. While this is incredibly helpful to those prescribed due to mental or physical health concerns, it can be dangerous to those who use benzos for a long period of time or who use them without prescription.
While benzos do work, anyone who uses them longer than they’re prescribed is at a high risk to develop tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Additionally, high dosage of these drugs can and do lead to overdose deaths.
How the Body Responds to the use of Benzos
When a person takes a Benzodiazepine pill, it’s absorbed through the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. From there, it can be transported to the brain to react specifically with a certain type of neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid-A). This neurotransmitter is known for signaling brain cells, resulting in a calmer state of being. However, over-use of benzodiazepines is believed to adjust the function and even composition of brain receptors. This can increase levels of brain chemicals released like dopamine and serotonin and put a user at a higher risk for developing an addiction.
Benzo Abuse, Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction
Unfortunately, the use of these prescription medicines all too often turns into an addiction. This is because of their highly addictive nature and capability to transform the way the brain responds to neurotransmitters. At first, individuals may experience tolerance, which is the need to take a higher dose of benzos than initially prescribed or used to experience desired results. Tolerance for benzos can happen within 6 months of the first dose. After tolerance, individuals may start to develop a dependence on benzos. This means that their bodies only function successfully when the drug is present, offering withdrawal symptoms when the drug isn’t used.
Sadly, it’s extremely challenging to stop the use of benzos once dependence is developed. This is because withdrawal symptoms from benzos are amongst the most agitating and debilitating of all drug withdrawals. In fact, they’re so bad they can even lead to death. So, most people trying to detox by waiting out withdrawal end up taking benzos just to rid themselves of the painful symptoms. And, continue the cycle of abuse all over again. Symptoms of benzo dependence or addiction may include:
- Problems with memory
- Self-harming behaviors
- Neglecting responsibility
- Relationship issues
- Mood swings
Help for Benzo Addiction
While it may be difficult to detoxify and recover from a benzo addiction, it’s far from impossible. Here at Simple Path Recovery, we provide the tools needed to gain recovery techniques, prevent relapse, and live a long and healthy life of sobriety. If you’re ready to take on a life without benzo addiction, now is the time! Contact us today to speak confidentially with an addiction specialist about our available programs!