Benzodiazepines (commonly known as ‘benzos’) are a type of sedative medication designed to slow down functions in the body and brain. Commonly prescribed to individuals who have difficulty sleeping or suffer severe anxiety, benzodiazepines can be useful in providing relief from these issues when the dosage is controlled by a licensed healthcare professional.
Prescription drug addiction is a notoriously difficult affliction to spot, and it is not uncommon for users to develop a reliance on the drug without their knowledge, continuing their use long after their habit becomes a cause for concern. For this reason, it is vital that those who are taking benzodiazepines monitor their usage, recognising some common signs of addiction to ensure they are protecting their health and wellbeing.
How do benzodiazepines work?
Benzodiazepines are a branch of anti-anxiety medications prescribed to slow down brain activity and relieve symptoms of anxiety or unease. A fast-acting drug, benzos take effect quickly, working in the body sometimes as little as thirty minutes after they are initially administered.
In much the same way as other habit-forming substances, benzodiazepines work by directly impacting chemical messengers in the brain. Benzos, in particular, work by increasing the brain’s production of neurotransmitter GABA, slowing down the action of the central nervous system to induce calming, sedative effects on users, which can improve overall wellbeing.
Why do people become addicted to benzodiazepines?
While benzodiazepines can be effective in treating certain medical conditions, this does not mean that the substance does not carry a high potential for addiction. In fact, those suffering from issues with benzodiazepine misuse seem to be rising every year, with a 6% increase in those abusing the drug reported between 2020 to 2021.
Benzodiazepines can be particularly addictive because of the way they work in the brain, inducing pleasurable sensations that feel so intense that users are encouraged to keep taking the substance. Unfortunately, after continued benzodiazepine use, individuals can develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring a higher dosage, and in smaller intervals, to achieve the same effect. This repeatedly unsafe use of benzos will then prompt a physical reliance, inciting a dangerous cycle of abuse and self-medication, with users eventually taking the substance just to feel normal. This is how benzodiazepine addiction develops.
Signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction
It can be difficult to admit that you are addicted to benzodiazepines, especially as these substances are prescribed in medical settings and regulated by healthcare professionals. However, it is important that you keep a close eye on your benzodiazepine use, looking out for some telltale signs that your consumption is becoming a cause for concern. Some of the symptoms associated with benzodiazepine addiction include:
- Taking some form of benzodiazepine over the recommended two-to-four-week period.
- Requesting repeat prescriptions from your doctor before they are due.
- Taking more of the substance than is recommended.
- Lying about your drug use frequently, either to friends, family, or your doctor.
- Experiencing fears that you are going to run out of benzodiazepines.
- Mixing benzodiazepines with other substances (such as illicit drugs or alcohol) to achieve a more intense ‘high’.
- Feeling emotionally dysregulated or depressed when you are not taking benzodiazepines.
I think I am addicted to benzodiazepines. What should I do?
Admitting to yourself you are starting to display signs of a benzodiazepine addiction means you have already taken a crucial step in relinquishing your dependence and starting on a healthier path. Unfortunately, however, due to the challenging physical and psychological symptoms invoked when coming off the substance, many individuals will find themselves continuing to use the drug, regardless of whether they wish to stop or not.
Therefore, the best way to proceed if you wish to successfully recover from benzodiazepine addiction is to pursue a course of rehab treatment at a registered facility. At a rehab centre, you will have the opportunity to address your physical symptoms through a comprehensive detox, alongside therapeutic treatment and intervention to overcome your psychological dependence on benzodiazepines in a safe space.
Benzodiazepine detox and withdrawal
Benzodiazepine detox refers to a process where your system is cleared of all traces of the drug, with your body undergoing adjustments as you begin to cater to this change. While benzodiazepines can be particularly difficult to detox from, with the care and support of medical professionals at a registered facility, this experience will be made as safe and comfortable as possible.
As you start to come off benzodiazepines, an inevitable part of the process is physical withdrawal, facing varying symptoms as your body regains balance and starts to adjust. The intensity and length of withdrawal symptoms will be dependent on several factors, including:
- Your current dosage of benzodiazepines
- How long you have been using benzodiazepines
- Your general state of health and other medical complications
Some of the symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal are:
- Panic attacks
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid mood changes
What is the safest way to recover from benzodiazepine addiction?
If you are considering freeing yourself from the weight of benzodiazepine dependence, it might seem like an attractive prospect to do so at home, close to your home comforts and in reach of your loved ones. However, due to the harshness of both physical and psychological symptoms, we would urge against this, recommending that you recover in a registered facility designed to treat addiction.
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is particularly challenging, and quitting cold turkey can be highly unsafe without the appropriate medical care, not to mention uncomfortable. At an inpatient rehab centre, however, you will be offered a medical benzodiazepine detox and a course of drug tapering to reduce your dosage gently, rather than cutting off your supply without warning. We have found that this method can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, keeping clients in a relaxed headspace to see through their rehabilitation journey.
Not just this, but inpatient benzodiazepine rehab will give you both the time and the space to focus entirely on your recovery, with all your personal requirements catered to by trained staff. This way, you will not need to shift your focus from your ultimate goal – getting well and healing from your benzodiazepine dependence.
Benzodiazepine rehab treatment at Liberty House
At Liberty House, our facility is dedicated to helping clients overcome their issues with benzodiazepine addiction once and for all. Our success comes from our firm belief that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to rehab treatment, which is why we construct individualised care plans for each of our clients, tailored to their specific needs.
Upon entering our facility, our staff team will assess your needs carefully, taking time and care before agreeing to a finalised treatment plan. Within this treatment programme, you will receive a clear detox plan, alongside a timetable of scheduled therapies which are all aimed at addressing your psychological dependence on benzodiazepines, working to construct healthier patterns of thinking to ensure you do not turn to the drug again.
We are proud to offer a number of proven addiction treatment therapies, with the goal of treating clients holistically, catering to their physical, psychological and spiritual needs. This way, users will not just relinquish their physical reliance, but they will also be able to address their mental dependency as well. Some of the treatments and therapies for addiction we provide at our centre include:
- Group counselling – to help you address your benzodiazepine addiction, surrounded by other individuals who are experiencing the same struggles.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a method to develop healthier coping strategies, dealing with triggers to relapse in a more beneficial way.
- Trauma therapy – for those who have encountered traumatic incidents in their past, these experiences can often prompt individuals to mind-altering substances, taking drugs like benzodiazepines to manage their emotions. In trauma therapy, we work to identify these issues, developing strategies to combat these feelings when they arise.
Which benzodiazepines do we offer treatment for?
At Liberty House, we offer comprehensive rehab treatment for a variety of benzodiazepine addictions. These include:
Click here to learn more about Xanax addiction.
Click here to learn more about Valium addiction.
Click here to learn more about klonopin addiction.
Click here to learn more about Librium addiction.
Click here to learn more about Ativan addiction.
Click here to learn more about Mogadon addiction.
Click here to learn more about temazepam addiction.
Let us help you get your life back.
At Liberty House, we understand just how unnerving it can seem to begin a new life, free from benzodiazepines. For this reason, our centre’s main mission is to provide a safe and peaceful haven to begin your journey to health and healing. For any more information about our facility and the services we provide, do not hesitate to contact a member of our team right away.