Benzodiazepines (benzos) are prescription drugs used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Unfortunately, anxiety is often a contributing factor in addiction, and it is not unusual for people on these medications to develop an addiction. Extended use of benzodiazepines can have serious health consequences, especially when someone tries to completely cut themselves off from the drug. For this reason, it is extremely important that people with benzodiazepine addiction undergo detoxification in a licensed facility where they can receive treatment for withdrawal symptoms.
It is possible to recover from the effects of benzodiazepine addiction and maintain sobriety, but it requires a team effort. Addiction treatments at Silver Ridge are collaborative, intrinsically-focused, and balanced. Our multi-disciplinary team of experienced professionals can help you and your loved ones through this difficult situation.
The Danger of Benzodiazepines
Benzos work by increasing the effects of the GABA neurotransmitter. GABA’s job is to suppress nerve activity, which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and replace them with a more calming sensation. This can be a useful treatment in the short term, but the more a patient relies on benzos, the more likely they are to develop an addiction.
Because benzos alter the very nature of the brain, it becomes harder for the brain to function without benzos the longer they are used. At this point, cutting off benzos completely can result in serious withdrawal symptoms such as high blood pressure, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and sweating. Withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if not properly treated in a detox center.
Treating Benzo Addiction
No one should take benzos for longer than six months, as this is when the symptoms of dependence usually start to appear. These symptoms may include:
- Muscle spasms
- Impaired coordination
These symptoms often lead people to crave the drug, as it can provide temporary relief. Unfortunately, this will only make the problems worse in the long run. Your only choice when experiencing cravings is to accept them for what they are and recognize that more benzos is not the answer. Do not try to resist the cravings by convincing yourself you don’t really have them. This only causes more internal distress and conflict.
At Silver Ridge, our clients remain in a drug-free premises where they can address their addiction head-on with experienced medical professionals. We use acceptance and commitment therapy to help our clients come to terms with the reality of their addiction and learn new ways of coping with stress and anxiety.