For those afflicted with benzodiazepine dependence, the road to recovery is a long one. Please do not attempt to reduce, taper or altogether stop this medication without the proper supervision of a professional. This is not widely known as it should be, but abruptly quitting benzodiazepines can lead to seizures that are so severe they may be life threatening.
What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines (also known as benzos) are psychoactive medications with anti-anxiety properties, often prescribed to patients to treat various types of anxiety disorders. In addition, benzos are used as sedatives, anticonvulsants (antiepileptic), and muscle relaxants. Some examples of benzodiazepines include, Xanax, Valium, Clonazepam (Klonopin), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Chlordiazepoxide (Librum).
The Dangers of Benzodiazepine Dependence
If you are addicted to benzodiazepines, you will quite likely require a full medical detox. These medications have gained such a prominent degree of abuse because, despite being very addictive and having deadly withdrawal symptoms, benzodiazepines actually pose a relatively low overdose risk. Plus, since benzos do offer a very legitimate medical use, they rank relatively low on the federal schedule of drugs and doctors often feel comfortable (possibly even too comfortable) prescribing them to patients.
Tolerance to benzodiazepines builds up extremely quickly and, over time, a heavy benzo user can tolerate obscene amounts of these medications. It can, and often does, get to the point where the amount needed to produce the prior anti-anxiety and euphoric effects are greater than the amount the user can obtain. This is where things get very dangerous, because typically the user will then resort to combining benzos with other depressants like opiod pain medications, barbiturates, heroin or alcohol. Combined together, these drugs will work in harmony to potentiate one another. Once you begin to combine medications like this, the chance for overdose becomes extremely, extremely high. Not to mention the only thing that is likely worse than going through benzodiazepine withdrawal is going through it while withdrawing from another substances as well.
Treating Alcohol Withdrawal with Benzodiazepines
For individuals with alcohol dependence who are going through recovery, benzodiazepines (such as Chlordiazepoxide, Valium, or Lorazepam) are often used to dull the withdrawal effects of alcohol. Although helpful, this can be very problematic. Generally speaking, benzos are an excellent short-term detox medication, but they are also highly addictive. Thus, what often ends up happening, is recovering alcoholics get hooked to the benzodiazepines used in their recovery.
Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Much like those who are addicted to pain medications, quite often those with a benzodiazepine dependence have an underlying, legitimate medical need for the medications; typically, in this case, a type of anxiety disorder. At Origins Recovery Centers, our staff is fully trained to treat individuals with co-occurring disorders so that we may effectively manage your medical disorder while also treating your benzo addiction.
Addicted to Benzodiazepines? Contact Origins Recovery Centers for Help
Please understand that just because benzodiazepines happen to come in a pill bottle from the pharmacy, it does not mean you are in less danger than someone who is addicted to a street dug like heroin. In fact, in many ways your situation is even worse, which is precisely why you must take decisive action to treat this issue. At Origins Recovery Centers, we have established tried and true clinical protocols to combat benzodiazepine addiction. Are you ready for us to help you? If so, call 1-888-U-GET-WELL anytime. However, if you are not ready to talk on the phone just yet, click the button below to send us an email.