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If you think that you may have lost control of your benzodiazepine consumption and you may be addicted to the prescription drug, seeking treatment for drug addiction is the best step you can take.

At Help4Addiction, we can help to find the best local addiction treatment centre for you, whether you’d prefer to undergo rehab on an inpatient basis at a residential facility, or as an outpatient.

What is Benzodiazepine?

Benzodiazepines are a form of sedative medication that functions in the central nervous system. The use of benzodiazepines can help with a variety of medical conditions, acting on specific receptors in the brain known as GABA-A receptors, which stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid-A.

How do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzodiazepines, also known as ‘benzos’, work by affecting your central nervous system. They act on GABA-A receptors in your brain – attaching to these receptors to make your brain’s nerves less reactive to stimulation. This is what causes the calming effects that benzodiazepines create.

Our bodies naturally have GABA chemicals. Gamma-aminobutyric works to reduce activity in certain areas of the brain – areas that are responsible for memory, emotions, reasoning, as well as essential functions (for example, breathing).

Because the drugs increase the GABA effects on your body and your brain, some effects of benzodiazepines include:

However, you may also experience side effects from benzodiazepines. The side effects you experience can depend on the type of benzodiazepine you have taken. However, some common side effects include:

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Prescription Drug Abuse

Substance use disorder can affect anybody, regardless of whether the substance is legal or illegal. If you have legitimate medical conditions, you may be prescribed medication as a form of treatment.

Many people make the mistake of believing that prescription drugs are 100% safe – but unfortunately, this is not the case. Just like it is possible to abuse alcohol and street drugs, it is possible to abuse prescription drugs too.

Some commonly prescribed medications that are frequently abused involve depressants, opioids and morphine derivatives, and stimulants.

Benzodiazepine Abuse

Like with other prescription drugs, it’s possible to abuse benzodiazepines. This could include taking somebody else’s prescription, taking them to get ‘high’, mixing them with alcohol and/or other drugs, or simply not taking them as prescribed.

Benzodiazepine abuse (aka benzo abuse) is often associated with young adults who will take the drug in tablet form or crush up pills and snort the powder to feel relaxed and feel the ‘euphoric’ effects that the drug can cause. Heroin and cocaine users may also be more likely to abuse benzodiazepines, as may those who are taking other opioids.

The effect of benzodiazepines can be dangerous if the medicine is abused, and it’s important to follow instructions given by the doctor. Abusing benzodiazepines can lead to benzodiazepine addiction as well as a combination of physical health problems and mental health problems.

Abusing benzodiazepine prescriptions or illicit/ fake/ street ‘benzos’ can lead to a benzodiazepine overdose and even death – although prescribed benzodiazepines are much safer.

Following professional medical advice can ensure that you avoid benzodiazepine overdoses. Some signs that you or somebody you’re with may have overdosed on the drug include:

If you think you or somebody you know is experiencing a drug overdose, seek medical care urgently.

Can You Develop a Benzodiazepine Dependence?

Prolonged use of benzodiazepines can lead to you developing a benzodiazepine dependence, whether taken illegally, as prescribed or abused.

Long-term use on a high dose puts you at risk of severe benzodiazepine dependence. Like most opioids, you can develop a physical and psychological dependence on benzodiazepines.

To treat benzodiazepine dependence, we always recommend undergoing a drug rehab program. The detox stage of the rehab process focuses on the physical aspect of addiction and can free your body of the drug. You may benefit from a gradual dose reduction before completing detoxing.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

f you have developed a physical dependence on benzodiazepines, you may notice physical symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly or if you drastically lower your dose (e.g going from a high dose to a low dose).

Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, with effects on your physical and mental health. This is especially the case if you have a high dose of benzodiazepine dependence – which is why we recommend that you undergo a medically supervised detox as opposed to quitting cold turkey.

Some common unpleasant benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include:

Withdrawal symptoms can also be severe – especially if you stop taking benzodiazepines suddenly when you’re used to high doses. Some examples of severe withdrawal symptoms include psychosis, seizures, tremors, hallucinations, and high blood pressure.

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

At Help4Addiction, we can help you gain control over your benzodiazepine use by finding the best treatment centre for you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and to discuss your treatment options, whether it be for opioid addiction, alcohol addiction, or other substances and addictive drug addiction.

The first step of the treatment process involves detoxing from the drug. This is the stage where you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms.

We can find a quality 7-day drug detox, 14-day detox, or a 28-day detox, whether it be at a residential rehab centre (inpatient treatment) or at home as an outpatient. However, if you have a severe benzodiazepine addiction, we recommend you undergo treatment as an inpatient in the form of medical detox.

The next stage of your journey involves therapy – whether it be group therapy, one-to-one counselling, or a course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). This can not only help you break the psychological dependence, but can improve your confidence and wellbeing, as well as help with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, and panic disorder.

Upon completing addiction rehab, you may wish to continue secondary treatment as an outpatient. This could involve attending group therapy sessions, extra counselling, or joining support groups. This can help to ease your transition back into society, enabling you to live a drug-free life.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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