Benzodiazepines, also known as “benzos,” are a type of drugs within the category of psychoactive drugs. They are most commonly known by the following brand names: Valium, Klonopin, Librium, and Xanax. At one point, these drugs were the most popular and heavily prescribed in the world. That’s because they’re extremely helpful when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety, and treating panic attacks and PTSD. But, what are they exactly?
Benzodiazepines are an incredibly popular prescribed drug, but they have a high potential of being abused. Even individuals with a prescription for this drug can become dependent or addicted easily. Once an individual is addicted to this drug, quitting can be beyond difficult. Withdrawal associated with stoppage can be life threatening. To combat some of the addiction issues associated with Benzodiazepine use, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), put out by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), recommends that Benzodiazepines only be prescribed for five weeks at a time. Still, millions of people across the world are prescribed the drug each year. Though, in the past few decades, the introduction of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) has made it so Benzodiazepines are prescribed less. Still, they remain frequently used worldwide.
Addiction to Benzodiazepines develops as a result of frequent exposure. An individual will become dependent over a period of time (usually a relatively short period.) Dependency occurs as the result of tolerance. An individual will take the drug day after day and realize that they’re not getting the same results as they used to. So, they’ll increase their dosage in an attempt to get the same effects. While physical addiction is setting in, users also quickly become mentally reliant on the drug. Mental reliance looks like this: to stop a panic attack or bout of anxiety, an individual takes a Benzodiazepine pill because nothing else works, even though breathing exercises helped at one point. Chemical dependence on Benzodiazepines is what leads to drug-seeking behaviors, and suddenly, the user realizes they are hooked. This realization can be incredibly isolating and, for many, it will lead to increased use and dependence. If you or a loved one is abusing or addicted to Benzodiazepines, it’s important to get help right away. Treatment is the best way for an individual addicted to Benzodiazepines to get back their life and start pursuing their dreams and goals.
An individual who has been using and/or abusing Benzodiazepines may show the following signs and symptoms:
Benzodiazepine use can produce wonderful side effects in the short term. That’s because Benzos are effective at addressing anxiety and PTSD. As a result, short term use of this drug can improve an individual’s life. If the drug is used long term, some side effects begin to show. Suddenly, the individual benefitting from their Benzodiazepine prescription will realize that they’ve developed a tolerance and therefore require a higher dosage. Dependency requires professional intervention, because Benzo withdrawal can be life-threatening
Long and short term side effects associated with Benzodiazepine use may include:
At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.
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