Benzodiazepine Addiction: Everything You Need to Know

September 16, 2021

Benzodiazepine addiction is affecting people around the globe, so here’s what you need to know about benzos before taking them. 

What are Benzodiazepines? 

Benzodiazepines, often called benzos, are manufactured medications used to treat anxiety, seizures, sleeplessness, and other conditions by depressing the nerves within the brain. According to MedicineNet. These prescription drugs work by “…enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another. Gamma-aminobutyric acid reduces the activity of nerves in the brain and increasing the effect of GABA with a benzodiazepine, reduces brain activity.” 

Names and Examples of Benzodiazepines 

● Alprazolam (brand Names: Xanax, XR) 

● Clobazam (brand Name: Onfi) 

● Clorazepate (brand name: Tranxene) 

● Clonazepam (brand name: Klonopin) 

● Chlordiazepoxide (brand name: Librium) 

● Diazepam (brand names: Valium, Diastat, Diastat Acudial) 

● Estazolam (brand name: Prosom – a discontinued brand in The United States) ● Lorazepam (brand name: Ativan) 

● Oxazepam (brand name: Serax – a discontinued brand in The United States) ● Temazepam (brand name: Restoril) 

● Triazolam (brand name: Halcion) 

What are Benzodiazepines Used For? 

Depending on the prescribed drug, benzodiazepines are used to treat conditions such as: 

● Anxiety disorders 

● Generalized anxiety disorder 

● Social anxiety disorder 

● Panic disorder 

● Nervousness 

● Panic disorders 

● Seizures 

● Sleeplessness 

● Alcohol Withdrawal 

● Status epilepticus 

● Premenstrual syndrome 

● Sedation 

Benzodiazepines Side Effects

While benzos are an effective treatment for some, there are side effects to discuss with anyone instructed to take the prescription: 

● Drowsiness 

● Lightheadedness 

● Confusion 

● Memory impairment 

● Changes in appetite 

● Nausea and vomiting 

● Weight gain 

● Dry mouth 

● Reduced libido 

● Fatigue 

● Drug dependence 

● Withdrawal symptoms 

● Jaundice 

● Irregular heart rate 

● Respiratory depression 

Are Benzodiazepines Addictive? 

Since benzos are sedative drugs, they are often abused and are addictive to many users. According to Mind, these prescriptions are most effective “as a one-off dose,” meaning they are taken when needed, not every day. When prescribed, the doctor will often limit the number of doses you can take by limiting how many pills are prescribed at once and how often you can refill the prescription. While benzo medications can be taken multiple days in a row or daily for a few weeks, doctors advise that you avoid taking the drug every day. 

It’s essential that when you are given a prescription for any form of benzodiazepine, you should follow the guidelines set by your doctor and pharmacist to ensure that you are using the drug correctly and avoiding abuse. Signs of benzodiazepine addiction and abuse include but are not limited to the following: 

● The drug is taken in a higher dose or over a more extended period than instructed by the doctor. 

● Considerable time and money are spent to acquire the drug. 

● When the drug is not in the abuser’s system, they crave it. 

● The user gains a tolerance to the drug and must take a higher dose if to achieve the desired effects. 

● The user’s performance in school, work, or personal life is being compromised due to the impact of the drug. 

● The user experiences withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not in their system.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?

According to VeryWell Mind, the symptoms of withdrawal from benzodiazepines include, but are not limited to, the following: 

● Increased anxiety 

● Insomnia 

● Irritability 

● Restlessness 

● Hand tremors 

● Muscle spasms 

● Sweating 

● Headache 

● Nausea and vomiting 

● Aches and pains 

● Hypersensitivity to stimuli (light and touch) 

● Abnormal bodily sensations (itching, goosebumps, skin-crawling, etc.)

● Hallucinations 

● Visual disturbances 

● Delirium 

● Grand mal seizures 

Steps Recovery Centers for Benzodiazepine Addiction 

If you or someone you know struggles with benzodiazepine addiction, consider Steps Recovery Center when seeking help. We are experts in helping people overcome addiction, and we’re always ready to take in new patients in search of a better, healthier life. We have programs for many forms of substance abuse that have been proven effective, and with the help of our staff, you too can find relief from addiction. We have recovery centers in St. George, Draper, and Payson, Utah, so contact us right away to schedule a free consultation at one of our locations.

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