Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Huntington Beach
When taken as directed by a physician, benzodiazepines help treat anxiety and panic disorders. Though they help you feel relaxed, there’s a downside. When you stop taking benzodiazepines as directed by your doctor, you may experience withdrawal symptoms or rebound anxiety — where your problems come back worse than before. This can lead to taking more benzodiazepines and can create an addiction to the drug.
If you suspect someone has overdosed on benzodiazepines, call 911 immediately.
Since 2002, Hired Power, an addiction recovery service in Huntington Beach, California, has provided a personalized approach to the addiction and mental health recovery process. From professional intervention services to post-treatment monitoring, Hired Power helps clients navigate the often complex road of treatment and recovery.
What are benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, sometimes called “benzos,” are a class of drugs prescribed for various reasons, including anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. In the 1980s and 1990s, doctors began prescribing benzodiazepines for treating panic disorders and anxiety disorders, but it soon became apparent that these drugs were highly addictive.
This class of drug is particularly dangerous when combined with alcohol. In addition to being physically addictive, benzos can also cause psychological dependence in users. The most common types of benzodiazepines include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
How are they used?
Benzodiazepines are typically prescribed by physicians to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, or seizures. Due to their rapid onset of action, benzodiazepines are frequently the drug of choice for the short-term management of severe anxiety. Long-term use is generally discouraged as they are highly addictive and can cause detrimental side effects.
Treatment with benzodiazepines typically lasts 6-8 weeks. Doctors will likely recommend discontinuing the medication after this time unless anxiety disorder symptoms are present. However, some people need to stay on the drug for extended periods to control their symptoms.
How do they affect the body?
Once ingested, benzodiazepines are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body, ultimately reaching the brain. They bind to specific receptors at the brain level that cause central nervous system depressant effects, including sedation, relaxation, and relief from anxiety and panic attacks. Some types of benzodiazepines may also slow down motor skills and cause changes in behavior.
The effects of benzodiazepines can be observed in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. At lower doses, benzodiazepines produce a calming effect. But at higher doses, benzodiazepine produces adverse effects such as sedation, muscle relaxation, and memory impairment.
Even small amounts can slow reaction time and impair driving ability. Long-term use can result in tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, and addiction.
What are the signs of benzodiazepine addiction?
Benzodiazepines can be addictive, with effects similar to that of alcohol. People who use benzodiazepines for a long time can experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication.
Benzodiazepines are often used for recreational use because they cause euphoria and relaxation. When taken in excess, benzodiazepines can cause drowsiness, confusion, and slurred speech.
If you’re worried about yourself or someone else, there are some specific behavioral and physical signs of benzodiazepine addiction that can be present.
Behavioral signs of benzodiazepine addiction include:
- Loss of interest in activities that used to give you pleasure
- A tendency towards impulsive behavior
- Changes in personality
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
Physical signs of benzodiazepine addiction include:
- Loss of coordination
- A slowed heart rate
- Slurred speech
- Mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
- Taking more than the prescribed dose
- Feeling like you need the drug to function normally
- Developing tolerance to the drug
- Having withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it
- Experiencing “pseudo-addiction” — a feeling that the drug is necessary to get through the day but not necessarily because of a high
- Taking the drug differently than prescribed (for example, snorting)
If you see these signs in yourself or others, it is critical to seek treatment as soon as possible. It’s also necessary to get immediate help if you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms, as this can be uncomfortable and even life-threatening.
Symptoms of a Benzodiazepine Overdose
The symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose are similar to those of alcohol or other sedatives, including:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slow breathing, irregular breathing, or depressed breathing
- Slowed heart rate or slowed breathing rate that may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when standing up
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and hypertension (high blood pressure)
Benzodiazepine overdose is a major, potentially fatal, medical emergency. If you suspect someone has overdosed on benzodiazepines, call 911 immediately.
Treatment for benzodiazepine overdose includes:
- Stabilizing the person’s heart rate and blood pressure
- Providing oxygen therapy, if necessary
- Giving medications to help counteract the effects of an overdose
Why are benzodiazepines dangerous?
While benzodiazepines effectively treat anxiety and insomnia, they can also cause serious adverse reactions, including addiction, overdose, and death. While many people use these drugs as directed and without incident, benzodiazepines are highly addictive and can cause severe side effects.
Tolerance to benzodiazepines can develop rapidly, which makes them even more dangerous. As tolerance increases, the danger of misuse becomes significant. The higher doses a person uses, the more likely they will experience adverse reactions or overdose.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment
Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction is complex and shouldn’t be attempted without professional help. Treatment typically involves some combination of counseling, medication, and support group to address both the physical dependence and psychological aspects of addiction.
Once treated, it’s crucial to maintain long-term recovery by avoiding triggers that lead to relapse. Many people recovering from benzodiazepine addiction find it essential to participate in support groups like 12-Step programs to learn coping skills that can help them handle stress in healthy ways.
Treating addiction is complicated. Many people who develop an addiction suffer from other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. When both diseases are present, it is known as a co-occurring disorder. In this case, treatment involves addressing both conditions to ensure the best possible outcome.
Hired Power Can Support You Throughout the Recovery Process
Hired Power, an addiction recovery service in Huntington Beach, California, offers an individualized, compassionate approach to the entire recovery process. With over two decades of experience, we’ve earned the trust of thousands of treatment centers, professionals, clients, and their loved ones.