Benzodiazepine addiction

If you are suffering from anxiety, insomnia or a panic disorder, you may be prescribed a widely used sedative drug called a Benzodiazepine from your doctor. The psychoactive substance, often referred to as Benzos, covers a vast array of medications from Ativan, Xanax and Valium, otherwise known as Diazepam. There are around 12 million prescriptions in the UK each year. Many administered in the treatment of emotional or physical disorders.

Benzodiazepine addiction abuse & help

However, it is a well-known fact using benzodiazepines can often lead to addiction, which may be treated by going through a difficult, unpleasant withdrawal. It can be tough to stop taking benzodiazepines, which is why it is recommended you move forward with a full rehabilitation programme when battling your addiction to benzodiazepines. For many, the best course of action is to arrange to stay at a residential rehab clinic where you may be under medical supervision when undergoing detox. It is not advisable to try and quit taking the drug on your own due to the difficult, often hazardous side effects. It is better to be under the care of medical professionals, who can monitor any change in your condition and provide you with any medications you require to help you overcome withdrawal.

Benzodiazepine dependence

But what are benzodiazepines, and how can you get hooked on them? They may be commonly dispensed but come with the danger of being overused and abused, which may result in an overdose. Some people may not appreciate how Benzos can be possibly highly addictive with a capacity for being abused, even if they may have prescribed initially to treat a condition and used as directed. However, it is not unheard of for some people to exceed the prescribed dosage and take the drug recreationally until it became habit-forming, and they find themselves in the grips of addiction. Sources say approximately a million and a half people in the UK are addicted to benzodiazepines and more than half of those who misuse the drug got them by prescription.

How do benzodiazepines work?

It is not hard to see why benzos are so readily prescribed for treating numerous conditions. They generally begin to work between half an hour and thirty minutes of being taken and can last for up to six hours. Making them useful for providing quick relief from intense anxiety symptoms. The drug may also be given as a muscle or pre-operative relaxant, for epilepsy and mania, as well as being utilised in alcohol and opiate withdrawal. Benzodiazepines can relieve tension and make you feel more relaxed

Benzodiazepines work just like other addictive substances by altering the reward system of the human brain. When you take benzos, they affect the chemicals producing rewards such as dopamine and norepinephrine. After a period, the brain is no longer capable of producing these chemicals naturally and comes to depend on benzodiazepines to provide the required effect.

However, benzodiazepines differ from most addictive drugs as they do not create a sense of euphoria or a quick, intense rush. On the contrary, when taking benzos, you feel the effects progressively, leaving you with a heightened sense of calm and sedation.

How do people become addicted to benzodiazepines?

When a user takes benzodiazepines, they alter the levels of reward producing natural chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.  Anyone who has struggled to stop using benzodiazepines will be aware of the serious effects they have on the mind and body. which explains why they are so hard to give up.

Benzodiazepines effectively heighten the activity of a chemical in the human brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid, otherwise referred to as GABA. An essential component of the brain’s natural sedating system, which sends signals from the brain cell to brain cell to slow down or stop working altogether. This usually occurs in moments of great stress, so we can cope with a difficult situation without becoming too anxious. However, when benzodiazepines are used for a long period, the brain responds by reducing the amount of these neurotransmitters it naturally produces, leading to a reliance on the drugs just to feel ‘normal’. 

Benzodiazepines work by literally slowing down the functioning of the brain. Despite the risk, people still take benzodiazepines for their calming effects. You may particularly wish to experience this sense of calm if you already suffer have an underlying anxiety condition. You may see taking the drug as your only escape. You should be aware though Benzos are a type of tranquilliser, depressant drugs which slow your reactions and can make you feel lethargic and drowsy. They can also bring on headaches, vertigo, affect your memory and concentration. 

However, If you have grown accustomed to taking benzos if, in the grip of abuse and addition, it can feel like a chemical high, it is a feeling you wish to experience again and again, so you use the drug repeatedly until it becomes a drug addiction. This can be especially true if you have built up a tolerance to benzodiazepines, where you must increase the dose and take the substance more often to feel the required high.  Benzodiazepines are essentially tranquillizers. This means when a person is under the influence of benzodiazepine, he or she will appear to be detached from life. 

Although these drugs are legally manufactured and prescribed by doctors, they are acutely addictive. Many doctors advise you should not take benzos for longer than a month as the substance is so addictive, and you can develop a tolerance so quickly that the chances of getting hooked are greatly increased. It is said that approximately 40% of people consuming benzodiazepines for more six weeks will become addicted.  If you increase your consumption of benzodiazepines in order to achieve a specific level of relief, you might also begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the effects of the medication wear off.

What are the signs of benzodiazepine addiction?

The need for more drugs can deteriorate from taking benzodiazepines medically, to using it recreationally, which in the end can result in dependency. You can then exhibit the various symptoms of benzodiazepines addiction.

For instance, you may display what may appear to be drunken behaviour, incoherence, loss of concentration, heightened friendliness, and you may have no filter and be frankly honest and open.

You may also experience impaired reflexes, loss of memory, confusion, mood swings, as well as physical symptoms like slowed breathing, loss of appetite and Intestinal problems.

If you have been taking high doses of benzo and stop suddenly, you may suffer potentially hazardous side effects such as hallucinations and convulsions. There is also the possibility in extreme cases, especially when combined with opioids or alcohol, you may suffer an overdose, possibly leading to a coma and even death.

How does benzodiazepine treatment work?

If you no longer wish to endure the hardship of benzodiazepines addiction and are ready to quit, you will have to prepare yourself for withdrawal. There is no question it can be a difficult, unpleasant process, which is partly why so many people are reluctant to take that step.  They would rather continue their so-called treatment and keep taking prescription benzos, despite the fact they may have reached the point of abusing the drug. However, many are afraid to stop taking benzodiazepines, in fear of undergoing withdrawal. It is perfectly understandable, but, with the proper support and assistance, from family friends, doctors and counsellors, you can make it through.

When stopping taking drugs, you may suffer a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, both physically and psychologically. These may include heightened anxiety, which is ironic as many people take benzos to treat anxiety in the first place. Some experience panic attacks, perspiration, heart palpitations, tremors, muscle pains and headaches. You may become irritable, have trouble concentrating or sleeping and may lose weight.

Taking these factors into consideration, it is understandable that some people may be wary of stopping using benzos and continue using in the short term, despite the risk it may pose to their ongoing health. However, in the long run, if you wish to be free of benzodiazepines once and for all, you should proceed with a comprehensive rehabilitation programme.

If you, or someone close to you, is using benzodiazepines as prescribed by a doctor, are abusing them recreationally or have developed an addiction to benzodiazepines, it can be hard to stop even more so if you are suffering from an underlying anxiety condition in the first place. You may wish to carry on taking your medication. However, if it has reached the point where benzos have taken over your life and have become a dependency, then you should move ahead with comprehensive therapy.

If you are looking for the most comprehensive in-depth rehabilitation treatment, then you should arrange to stay at a residential rehab centre, catering to your individual needs.

Benzodiazepine  addiction detox

Many feel in order to overcome benzodiazepine addiction; you should adopt a complete abstinence approach. However, in many cases, patients with a high dose dependency do not attain total abstinence in the long run. Leading some doctors and medical professionals to employ benzodiazepine substitution therapy. Addiction professionals agree that the best practice for individuals seeking to stop using benzodiazepines is to be weaned off these drugs during a medically supervised detox process.

It is common practice in treating benzodiazepine misuse to perform a medical detox, where you stop taking the drug, and the toxins are cleansed from your body in a controlled environment. Highly skilled medical staff at a rehabilitation rehab centre will keep a close eye on your condition, stabilise you if necessary and dispense any medication you need to help you through withdrawal.

A benzodiazepines detox typically requires between three and four weeks to complete. If you are suffering from a long-term and chronic addiction to benzodiazepines, then it is possible your detox could require up to 6-8 weeks to complete.

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You can undergo rehab and a thorough rehabilitation programme, where, through psychotherapy sessions, you can discuss your problems with a counsellor, who will examine any underlying issues which may be at the root of your addiction.

You can also benefit from an aftercare programme once you leave rehab, where advisors can assist you to readjust to normal life and continue with your recovery when you go home.

These are just some of the ways you can get help to stop using benzos. There is an alternative to living with anxiety, without abusing prescription medication and falling into addiction. It is never too late to get help, and you can live a clean life, free of benzodiazepine. If someone you love or care about is addicted to benzodiazepines, you will want to do all you can to help. 

To learn about benzodiazepine addiction treatment, contact Detox Plus UK today on 02072052734. Alternatively, contact us through this website and a member of our team will return your call shortly.

FAQs

Drugs faq

Which medications are used during detox?

 

Different medications are used to treat different withdrawal symptoms. Some of the drugs that are prescribed in detox include: Benzodiazepines- These drugs reduce anxiety and irritability. Anxiety is a common symptom of withdrawal from many drugs, including cocaine and opiates, like heroin. Benzos have a sedative effect, which helps ease alcohol withdrawals.

Doctors are cautious about prescribing benzos because they are addictive. Antidepressants- Without drugs, an addicted person cannot produce natural amounts of happiness-inducing chemicals in their brain. Because they’ve relied on drugs to keep them happy for so long, people in detox often experience depression. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac can help relieve these feelings until the brain is able to produce happiness-inducing chemicals on its own again.

How is illicitly manufactured fentanyl being sold?

It can in pill form sold as fake Oxycodone and other club drugs or powder form sold as heroin, or fentanyl powder form mixed into other drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, and on blotter papers disguised as “blotter LSD”.

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