Benzodiazepine Addiction

What are Benzodiazepines? How do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzodiazepines are a class of sedative drugs used to treat anxiety, PTSD, phobias, and other mental disorders. They are commonly used to treat insomnia and anxiety and they work by slowing down electrical activity in the brain, specifically GABA, which is a neurotransmitter used to produce a calming effect by blocking specific signals in the central nervous system.

There are many drugs that are included in this classification, such as Xanax, Ativan, Serax, Valium, Resitrol, Klonopin, Doral, Tranxene, Versed, ProSom, and Halcion.

Although these drugs can be helpful for treating anxiety, long-term use can be dangerous and is never recommended. Using any of the above mentioned benzodiazepines can lead to dependency within only two weeks.

Addiction to benzodiazepines occurs when an individual continues to use the drug despite experiencing negative affects on their physical and mental health. Withdrawing from these types of drugs can be dangerous, and must be done in detox under a medical professional. Withdrawing too quickly can have serious negative implications and can even result in death.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you may be overwhelmed with fear or hopelessness. At GraceWay, we are here to assure you that recovery is possible for anyone.

GraceWay, which is located in the heart of South Georgia, offers a variety of services that are designed to help individuals overcome their addiction. We use a combination of behavioral and experiential groups, individual counseling, 12-Step methodology, as well as process groups, to create a customized recovery plan to fit your needs.

Xanax Addiction

Abuse happens when the drug is taken more frequently or in higher doses than prescribed, or if the drug is used without a prescription. Once you become tolerant to the drug, you will have to take more and more just to feel normal. Over time, you will not experience a “feel good feeling” when you take the drug, but you will recognize that you feel bad when you don’t take it. 

Dependence and Withdrawal

According to American Family Physician, the effects of a drug’s dosage, duration, and potency can lead to a physical and psychological dependence. This dependence can cause withdrawal symptoms that are usually triggered by either a sudden, or rapid decrease, of using this drug.

The long-term use of benzodiazepines will almost always lead to dependence and withdrawal. It can also cause a loss in self-confidence and cause you to develop different drug-seeking behaviors. Some people may also avoid discontinuing their drug due to their fears or anxiety.

The most common short-term withdrawal symptoms that are caused by the  benzodiazepines are anxiety and depression. Other conditions such as autonomic instability and sensory hypersensitivity are also common. One of the most severe symptoms of acute withdrawal is delirium tremens and seizures.

Even those who have used benzodiazepines for a short time frame, 2-3 months, at the dosage prescribed by their physician, may still experience withdrawal symptoms when the dosage is lowered or they stop taking it all together. Although the exact cause of this condition is not known, it can be triggered by various factors such as the amount of the drug that an individual takes, the rate at which it is reduced, and the withdrawal symptoms’ definition.

Post acute withdrawal syndrome syndrome (PAWS) may also occur when an individual stops taking this drug. PAWS can cause various symptoms such as insomnia, depression, anxiety as well as other physical symptoms related to gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and neurological to occur.

Treating Benzodiazepine Addiction

The initial step in a comprehensive recovery program for individuals who use benzodiazepines is detox. This process can be safely and effectively carried out under medical supervision. It can be very dangerous for individuals to try and do it at home. Most people experience unpleasant psychological and physical side effects during withdrawal, however some people experience seizures during withdrawal which is why detox should always detox from this drug under the care of a physician.

A effective recovery program can help you or your loved one move forward from benzodiazipine addiction and learn how to leave the past in the past and move forward into sober living. It can also help develop effective strategies to stay clean in the future.

Family members are encouraged to be involved in the process of recovery so that the entire family system can all experience wellness and enter into recovery. Recovery from Benzodiazepines is absolutely within reach for anyone who enters treatment for their addiction.

At GraceWay, we create recovery plans customized for each person’s individual needs. We also provide 24-hour support and can help you start the recovery process today. Contact us to speak with one of our counselors and take the first step towards getting sober.