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BENZODIAZEPINE FAQs

How can you tell if someone is addicted to benzodiazepines?

Recognizing a benzodiazepine addiction is not easy because the prescription status of these drugs deflects the attention from the visible warning signs of abuse. Benzos are prescribed to millions of Americans, and recognizing the signs of misuse is the crucial first step in getting someone help. An addiction to benzos happens quickly, and most misuse problems start with prescriptions. Benzodiazepines are often not meant for long-term or regular use; however, these drugs are commonly misused. The long-term use of benzodiazepines causes dependency, tolerance, and addiction. Drug dependence develops when the body has a tolerance for the effects of the drugs. The drug users are required to keep a certain amount of the drug in the body to avoid withdrawal symptoms. However, family and friends need to recognize the signs before the drug problem becomes worse.

Some of the physical signs of benzodiazepine addiction include sweating, drowsiness, shallow breathing, slurred speech, impaired coordination, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. The immediate side effects of benzo abuse include mental confusion, anxiety, blurred vision, headaches, forgetfulness, irritability, and fatigue. Many of these symptoms become worse with long-term use and abuse of the drug. Some of the long-term effects include impaired concentration and memory, drowsiness, increased reaction time, loss of coordination, and even amnesia. Most drug users abusing benzodiazepines have suffered from permanent cognitive defects, depression, anxiety, and a loss of coordination. Drug-seeking behavior is the most significant indicator because someone who is addicted to prescription drugs actively seeks out new ways to fill the prescription.

Recognizing the signs of benzodiazepine addiction is the first step when wanting to intervene early. Once a prescription for the medication has expired, and the individual is still obsessed with getting the drug, this is a clear sign there is a problem. Someone who is addicted to benzodiazepines may even swipe another person’s medications, or start to forge prescriptions. Within is the United States, it is easy to purchase benzodiazepines illegally, such as through street-level drug dealers or illegal online pharmacies. An addiction to benzos involves talking more of the drug and using it over a longer duration of time. Addicts spend significant time getting and using the drug, and then recovering from extensive benzo use. Because of dependence on benzodiazepines, there are withdrawal symptoms, and the drug user requires more of the drug to meet the tolerance. A benzo addict will exhibit impaired performance at home, work, and at school and will begin to neglect responsibilities in life. Detox and drug rehabilitation is the only way to help a benzo addict overcome his or her addiction.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Detox and Rehabilitation

Benzodiazepine addiction is a dangerous problem that impacts many Americans. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, abuse is frequently associated with adolescents and young adults who take the drug orally or crush it and snort it to get high. Benzo abuse is particularly high among heroin and cocaine users. Also, opioid users often co-abuse benzodiazepines to enhance the euphoric effects. Treating benzo addiction requires proper medical detox and residential or outpatient treatment. Medical detox providers use withdrawal management and administer medication to control withdrawal symptoms. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is associated with various factors like the current dose, how long it has been used, and whether drugs are misused.

Additionally, the onset of benzodiazepine withdrawal depends on the specific drug used as there are long-acting benzos and short-acting benzodiazepines. Possible withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, aches and pains, panic attacks, and depression. Medical detox providers mitigate these problems and help with the smooth transition into a treatment program. Medical detox or other forms of detox should not be considered the only treatment approach. Detox programs do not provide adequate counseling or therapy. Rehabilitation should take place in a residential or outpatient treatment center.

Residential rehabilitation is typically the better option because more services are provided to help addicts and their families. Inpatient programs offer long-term and short-term options. A long-term program usually lasts three to six months, whereas short-term treatment lasts three to six weeks. When deciding on the type of treatment needed, an addiction assessment is a good place to begin. The purpose of an assessment is to determine the extent of addiction and what rehabilitation options are available.

Sources- https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Benzodiazepenes-2020.pdf

Benzodiazepine Addiction Family Intervention

People struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines may not admit they have a problem or want help. A family intervention is a structured conversation between loved ones and an addict, often supervised by a certified interventionist. The intervention aims to help the person struggling with addiction get into an addiction treatment program and help the family take control and save their loved one. It is not easy to approach someone struggling with addiction, but an intervention can motivate someone to accept help.

Family intervention is a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, but hiring a professional interventionist increases the chances of success. The intervention provides specific examples of destructive behaviors and their impact on the addict and their family. Also, it offers prearranged treatment with clear steps, goals, and guidelines.

BENZODIAZEPINE FAQs

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