Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepine Addiction

What is Benzodiazepine?

Benzodiazepine – also known as “benzos” – are a psychoactive drug that is commonly prescribed for treatment of anxiety, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and agitation or some forms of anxiety. In addition, they are often used as a premedication for some medical or dental procedures.

In general, benzos are safe and effective for treatment of a number of conditions if used only in the short term. Long term use or abuse of the drug often leads to a powerful addiction effect and extremely intense withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. These drugs are also commonly taken with other drugs or alcohol and as such they have been associated with a number of high profile celebrity drug overdoses in the past several decades.

Benzodiazepines possess multiple medicinal applications due to the sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant and amnesiac properties of the drug. That said, there is no approved long term usage in a medical sense due to the high potential for addiction, abuse and the powerful withdrawal that accompanies the cessation of use of the drug in higher amounts, or over a long time frame.

Most often, benzos are administered orally, but abusers have been known to administer the drug intravenously, intramuscularly or rectally in order to speed up the rate at which the drug is absorbed into the body or to make for a more powerful high.

Effects of Use

The potential for abuse with benzodiazepine is quite high, and the user often experiences powerful withdrawal symptoms not unlike those experienced by most opiate addicts. In addition, users are known to build a tolerance to the drug leading him or her to use higher and higher doses in order to feel the effects. This, as well as the propensity to mix benzos with other powerful drugs or alcohol leads to serious health implications or even death by overdose.

While abusing the drugs, users report blurred vision, decreased appetite, euphoric-type feelings and an overall sense of warmth and well-being.

The most common side effects of the drug are drowsiness, dizziness and decreased levels of alertness and/or concentration. This lack of coordination often leads to clumsy movement and injuries due to the high risk of falling accidents. Traffic accidents are also commonplace due to the decrease in overall alertness and motor skills that users experience while on the drug. Less common side effects include depression, loss of inhibition, and hypotension as well as suppressed breathing amongst those who use benzos intravenously. It’s also very common for users to report decreased in libido.

In addition to the above, benzodiazepine also has a tendency to produce paradoxical effects such as increased seizures in epileptics, aggression, violence, poor impulse control, irrationality and irritability, and sometimes suicidal thoughts or behavior. The rates of these occurrences is said to be very low, and only experienced at a rate of approximately 1-percent greater than that of placebo. However, this rate only accounts for those using benzos as prescribed, and the instances of paradoxical effects amongst those who abuse the drug are much higher.

Health Risks

The inherent risk of taking benzos as prescribed is relatively minor. Most users experience mild side effects (if any) such as headache, fever, or nausea while using the drug as prescribed. The true risks come from abuse, or long-term use.

Abuse and long-term use often produce dangerous consequences such as deep unconsciousness that often results in shallow or slowed breathing, loss of motor skills, decreased inhibition, and accidents related to slower reaction times or clumsy movement.

Most abusers of the drug also start to build relatively high tolerances to benzos which leads them to use more to feel the same effects, thus increasing the risk of overdose. In addition, since the drug is so commonly used alongside other drugs or alcohol, there are often harmful or deadly effects from these deadly combinations.

How Can Prescott House Help?

Prescott House is a male only recovery facility that has years of experience in treating all types of substance abuse cases. Our qualified staff can discuss a roadmap to recovery with you or your addicted loved one in order to help begin the process of abstaining from harmful substances. Our recovery experts can discuss what our program offers and how it can help you on your path to recovery by utilizing our facility and our program in order to free you from the chains of addiction. Contact us today to find out more.

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