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Benzodiazepine Addiction

As the nation faces an unprecedented mental health crisis, more people have begun turning to medications like benzodiazepines to help manage their symptoms. Unfortunately, these drugs can often have negative side effects, including the risk of benzodiazepine addiction.

While benzos can be an effective remedy for many mental health concerns, it is important to know how to safely and properly use these medications, as well as how to recognize the signs of addiction and know when it is time to seek help.

Benzodiazepine Addiction

What Is Benzodiazepine Addiction?

Benzodiazepine addiction, also known as benzodiazepine use disorder (BUD), refers to the misuse or abuse of illicit or prescription benzodiazepines. In most cases, people who abuse benzodiazepines take the drug in its pill form. With that said, some people snort or inject the drug. The effects of benzodiazepines are most similar to alcohol intoxication.

As a sedative-hypnotic, benzodiazepines share the same highly addictive properties as barbiturates and alcohol. Similar to these substances, people who occasionally take benzodiazepines are less likely to develop an addiction. However, much like heavy drinkers, people who take benzos every day are at a much greater risk of developing tolerance and dependency. Benzodiazepine abuse can cause severe physical dependence, resulting in distressing, potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. 

As a result, people who struggle with benzo addiction experience the damaging effects of physical and psychological dependence, withdrawal, and other long-term effects. It is crucial to understand that benzodiazepine addiction is not merely a habit, but a chronic condition that requires expert medical intervention and treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with benzo abuse, please reach out for help today.

What Causes A Benzo Addiction?

Despite their effectiveness in treating a variety of medical conditions, the pleasant effects created by benzodiazepines can also make the person want to continue using these drugs, even if they no longer need them to manage their symptoms.

Alternatively, some people require long-term symptom management, which would be best treated with a alternative treatment, such as buspirone or an anti-depressant. When doctors prescribe benzodiazepines for an extended time, the put patients at risk of developing a dependency, even without misuing their medication.

This is what eventually leads to a benzodiazepine addiction, in which an individual continues to use these drugs despite this having negative consequences on themselves and/or the people around them.

Are All Benzodiazepines Addictive?

Benzodiazepines are a commonly prescribed anxiolytic medication that produces sedation and hypnosis which can assist in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms, and seizures. They act as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which means they work by slowing down the activity in the brain, causing a sensation of relaxation and even euphoria.

For this reason, all benzodiazepines have the potential to be addictive. This is because they work by enhancing the effects of a naturally occurring brain chemical called GABA, which is responsible for calming the brain. When benzodiazepines are taken, they flood the brain with GABA, causing feelings of relaxation and sedation. However, this can also create a tolerance to GABA in the brain, which means that it will need more and more of the drug to produce the same effect.

Over time, this repeated use can lead to tolerance, which is when a person needs to take higher doses of the drug to get the same effect. Tolerance is a key risk factor for addiction, as it can lead to people taking increasingly large doses of the drug to feel the effects they are used to.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction?

Because of how an addiction to benzodiazepines can be, it is important to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of this substance abuse. When someone becomes physically dependent on a benzodiazepine, this means that the body has become accustomed to the presence of the drug.

When suddenly reducing or stopping their usual dosage of an abused medication, this can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, tremors, sweating, and seizures. Often, these symptoms can be so uncomfortable that the person continues abusing their benzo to avoid them.

Benzodiazepine addiction can also cause psychological dependence, in which the brain forms an attachment to the drug and causes them to feel that they need it to function. Once this happens, they may continue to use the drug even if they know it is causing them problems.

Other signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction can include:

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be addicted to benzodiazepines, it is important to seek help. Benzodiazepine addiction is a serious condition, but with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Statistics

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), approximately 30.6 million adults (12.6%) reported using benzodiazepine between 2015 and 2016, with misuse accounting for 17.2% of benzodiazepine use overall.

Unfortunately, these numbers have not improved over time as more people are being prescribed benzodiazepines each year. In fact, emergency department visits for overdoses that involved benzodiazepines rose an alarming 24% from 2019-2020.

As these numbers grow, it is becoming more important than ever to make sure those struggling with benzodiazepine addiction get the treatment and support they need. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to those struggling with benzodiazepine abuse today.

Self-Assessment: Am I Addicted?

The Link Between Benzodiazepines and Mental Health Disorders

Benzodiazepine abuse and mental health have a very interconnected relationship. On one hand, many people who struggle with mental disorders turn to benzodiazepines as a means of managing their symptoms. Over time, this can lead to a worsening of their symptoms, in turn causing a vicious cycle of abuse.

Commonly, doctors prescribe benzodiazepines to assist in the treatment of anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and insomnia. Unfortunately, research shows that people often receive these medications far beyond the recommended timeframe (around a month), and instead take them for years. While few are aware of the consequences of prolonged benzodiazepine use, anyone taking benzos for more than a few weeks is at a higher risk of developing a physical and psychological dependence on the drug.

For this reason, many people who follow their doctor’s orders while taking their prescription benzodiazepine medications end up suffering from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms after missing a dose. The unpleasant symptoms of benzo withdrawal often push people to continue taking the drug to avoid more pain.

Benzodiazepine abuse can occur with or without a prescription for them, although it is easier for someone with access to these medications to form a dependence on them. In both cases, it is not uncommon for benzo abuse to lead to the development of new or worsened mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia. In turn, people may abuse benzos even more often to try to combat these new symptoms.

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When Do You Need Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment?

Due to the vicious the cycle of benzodiazepine addiction, it is important to know when to recognize when it is time to seek professional help. Seeking treatment for benzodiazepine addiction is crucial if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

If you are struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, seeking professional help is essential for overcoming your dependence and regaining control of your life. With the right support, long-term recovery is possible.

How Long Is Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment?

Everyone’s addiction recovery experience is different, meaning it is difficult to determine an exact time for how long you may need to receive treatment. Most treatment programs will last anywhere from 30-90 days, although some can go for much longer.

For those with more severe benzodiazepine addictions, they will usually require more time in treatment and more intensive care. Those with more mild addictions, however, may require a shorter stay in treatment. With that in mind, the longer any person stays in rehab throughout the different levels of care, the better their chances of maintaining their sobriety following treatment. 

Why Is Detox Necessary During Treatment For Benzodiazepine Addiction?

According to research, people who take a benzodiazepine for longer than 3–4 weeks are likely to develop some level of physical dependence. As a result, they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug abruptly.

Attempting to withdraw benzodiazepines may cause anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and other distressing symptoms that deter people from successfully quitting the drug. As a result, people who try to detox off of benzos alone often spiral deeper into the cycle of addiction.

Likewise, benzodiazepine withdrawal may result in life-threatening side effects such as seizures and psychotic reactions. The dangerous side effects associated with benzo addiction and withdrawal pose a high risk of serious complications. For this reason, it is vital for those struggling with benzodiazepine addiction to seek professional treatment in a medical detox facility.

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What To Expect In Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment?

Benzodiazepine addiction treatment is a comprehensive process that addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction. It typically involves a combination of detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, and psychotherapy.

Medical Detox Medications for Benzo Withdrawal

The first step in benzodiazepine addiction treatment is usually detoxification, which involves gradually tapering off the use of benzodiazepines under constant medical supervision.

During detoxification, recovering individuals may be given over-the-counter medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and tremors. Medical detox centers also provide medical tapers during benzodiazepine withdrawal to ensure the safety of those undergoing treatment.

To effectively treat benzo withdrawal symptoms, medical detox programs often prescribe medications such as:

Due to the dangerous side effects of benzo withdrawal, these medications are often necessary to prevent life-threatening seizures and death. While people may question the use of benzodiazepines during the detox process, this evidence-based treatment practice is often a necessary treatment for those undergoing benzo withdrawals. 

Furthermore, these medications are often administered in combination with psychotherapy, which is another important part of benzodiazepine addiction treatment. Psychotherapy can help people to:

Benzo Addiction Therapy

During treatment for benzo addiction, guests will begin participating in psychotherapy. As another important part of benzodiazepine addiction treatment, therapy services can help people to:

Common types of psychotherapy used in benzodiazepine addiction treatment include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and motivational interviewing (MI). These therapeutic offerings are provided within individual, group, and family therapy sessions. During therapy, people work to identify the underlying causes of benzo abuse, whether that be self-medicating anxiety or PTSD symptoms, or another mental health issue. Therapists provide guidance and support to develop the skills needed to effectively manage cravings, resist relapse, and build a healthier lifestyle.

Following detox and residential treatment, aftercare is an important part of benzodiazepine addiction treatment, as this can help people maintain their sobriety and prevent relapse. Common aftercare services include ongoing therapy, support groups, and 12-step programs.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment at
Royal Life Centers

At Royal Life Centers, we believe all forms of addiction have an impact on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health, our comprehensive care programs take a holistic approach to healing. Offering treatment that focuses on each aspect of a person’s well-beingmind, body, and spiritour codeine addiction treatment addresses the whole person.

During treatment at Royal Life Centers at Spokane Heights, you gain access to a comprehensive range of benzo addiction treatment programs including:

Our comprehensive and compassionate treatment approach to the benzodiazepine addiction begins with a medical detox program. Within all levels of care, you will have access to a diverse team of therapists, case managers, and other clinical providers dedicated to providing each of our clients with the best care possible. We use a holistic and evidence-based approach to the addiction treatment process that focuses on healing the mind, body, and spirit.

If you recognize any signs of addiction in your life, don’t wait to get help. You deserve to live a full, healthy life outside of benzodiazepine addiction. You can fill out a contact form today and we will help you get there. 

Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Washington State

As a part of Royal Life Centers’ network of addiction treatment centers, Spokane Heights is our benzo detox and inpatient treatment facility in Spokane, Washington. After completing treatment in our inpatient programs, we also invite you to explore the array of other benzodiazepine addiction treatment options available nearby. 

Our benzodiazepine addiction treatment centers in Washington include:

At our detox and residential inpatient rehab center, we offer a comprehensive range of care services. This allows our guests to seamlessly transition between levels of care to ensure a smooth and effective recovery journey. Throughout your time in treatment with us, our experienced staff will provide guidance and support in making positive lifestyle changes. In doing so, you can lead a healthier and more fulfilling life in recovery from benzodiazepine addiction.

We understand that recovery is a journey, and we are here to provide support in every way possible. For more information on our treatment centers and how you can get help today, call our 24/7 admissions team at 888-907-0898.

Looking for Benzo Addiction Treatment Services?

If you or someone you love is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, please reach out to us to find out more about how our benzodiazepine detox services can help. We work with most private insurance policies and we have affordable self-pay rates if you do not have insurance. Give us a call and we will figure out the best treatment plan for you or your loved one.
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Benzodiazepine Addiction

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Detox Program at Royal

The first step in drug and alcohol treatment is a detox program. During this level of care, you will undergo the detoxification process that will remove the toxins from your body while starting your time in therapy.

Residential Treatment at Royal

Our residential inpatient program aims to identify the underlying causes of addiction. Our clinical care includes intensive therapy, addiction education, goal-setting, and the development of healthy coping skills. 

Can Medication-Assisted Treatment Help Me?

During treatment for addiction at Royal Life Centers, we provide medication-assisted treatment services to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and curb cravings. Learn how these services can help you stay sober.

What Services are offered in Rehab?

Read a comprehensive guide on the services you can participate in when recovering from addiction. As you progress through the different levels of care, you will experience the benefits of evidence-based care.

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