Most people who use prescription benzodiazepines trust their doctor. They expect that he will be upfront about any potential side effects. But, doctors are busy, and may not go into great detail about the risks or other facts about benzos. As a result, many addictions and health consequences have occurred.
But, the doctor is not entirely at fault. Americans themselves are also at fault. They tend to look for easy fixes for their problems. The solutions they seek usually come in the form of a prescription or illicit drug. Unfortunately, many people think prescription medications are relatively safe, so they don’t ask questions or seek information about the drug.
Why Do People Use Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are most commonly used to treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia. They may also be prescribed for other conditions such as seizures, alcohol withdrawal, depression, and panic attacks.
The most familiar benzodiazepines on the market are:
- Diazepam (Valium) – starts working within 30 to 60 minutes
- Oxazepam (Serax) – slow onset of action
- Lorazepam (Ativan) – intermediate onset of action
- Alprazolam (Xanax) – intermediate onset of action
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) – long-acting effects
The most common side effects are sedation, unsteadiness, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Other effects may include confusion, irritability, memory impairment, disorientation, or aggression.
Facts About Benzos You May Find Shocking
If you have been prescribed benzodiazepines (benzos), it’s important to research the drug and learn all you can. The risks involved with long-term use of this drug are very real and difficult to overcome.
We’ll help you get started on your fact-finding mission. Here are some disturbing facts about benzos you need to know.
Addiction Can Sneak Up on You
As sedative-hypnotics, benzos work on the central nervous system to produce a sense of calm. By stimulating the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), benzos create a relaxing, sedative effect.
If the drug is used long-term, the body becomes dependent on these pleasant sensations. Over time, it may seem that the pill isn’t producing the desired effects, so the individual takes stronger doses. This is the beginning of a difficult to control addiction.
Can’t Quit Cold Turkey
If you decide to quit benzos cold turkey, you are putting yourself at risk for uncomfortable or severe withdrawal symptoms. This is especially true for individuals who have increased the dosage or used the drug for extended periods. Those who have intentionally abused benzos will struggle the most.
The withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of the drug in the system and the length of time it has been used. Some of the symptoms you may experience are:
Mild to moderate benzo withdrawal symptoms:
- Rebound anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
The symptoms will increase in intensity if benzos were used long-term or used with other drugs or alcohol. Also, with prolonged benzo abuse, symptoms such as seizures can become life-threatening. Benzos are considered one of the hardest drugs to quit because of these symptoms.
Long-Term Use Can Cause Permanent Harm
Benzos are intended for short-term use of only a few weeks or a month. Using the drug longer than prescribed can lead to dependency, addiction, or overdose.
Some of the long-term health consequences of benzo misuse can include permanent effects such as poor memory, confusion, brain damage, difficulty completing tasks. Also, individuals are at a 50 percent increased risk of developing dementia later in life. Furthermore, a recent study shows that individuals who used benzos for 6 months or more were 84percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
One troubling aspect of long-term benzo use is that it can actually cause anxiety and stress. In fact, the disorders benzos were supposed to treat become worse after prolonged use of the drug. When this happens, the individual may experience elevated heart rate, paranoia, mood swings, or hallucinations.
You Can End Benzo Addiction at Design for Change Recovery
Another disturbing fact about benzos is that you can become addicted even when using the medication precisely as directed. If you’re concerned about your benzo use, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help from Design for Change Recovery.
At Design for Change, we understand that no one intends to become addicted to benzos. We won’t judge you or make you feel ashamed. As experts in the field of addiction recovery, we have had extensive experience in helping people overcome benzo use.
We offer a customized, evidence-based approach to treatment that helps you heal physically and mentally. Our team of specialists will be at your side throughout detox and withdrawals to ensure your safety and comfort during the process.
With our comprehensive program of counseling, behavioral therapy, and skills training, you can overcome all aspects of benzo dependence or addiction.
Contact Design for Change Recovery today at our Lancaster, CA facility to begin your transition away from the nightmare of benzo dependence. The path to recovery won’t just appear on its own. You have to seek it out then walk it, step by step, day by day.
After helping you gain the courage, confidence, and motivation to begin the journey, we know you’ll head in the right direction and stay on track.