What are Benzos?
A “benzo” is a nickname for the class of prescription drugs knowns as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines or “benzos”, such as Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, Ativan, and Ambien, are extremely addictive sedatives used to manage anxiety, seizures, panic attacks, and insomnia. Because benzos are so commonly prescribed, it is easier to obtain and misuse them than illegal street drugs.
Benzo abuse can cause hostility, memory loss, irritability, and abnormal dreaming. Users also run the risk of slowing down the central nervous system, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that over 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzos. Unfortunately, combining benzodiazepines with alcohol or other drugs is common among those with substance use disorders and makes the drugs especially dangerous. Chronic misuse of benzos can create tolerance and, ultimately, dependence.
Dangers of Benzos
Proper treatment is essential to overcoming benzo addiction. Without medical supervision and assistance, serious complications may result from benzo withdrawal. Royal Life Centers at the Haven and RLC at Puget Sound offer guests safe and effective medication-assisted benzo detox.
The short-term effects of benzodiazepine use may include:
- Feeling faint or unsteady
- Anxiety attacks
- Confusion and faulty coordination
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Problems with memory and cognition
- Changes in mood
The long-term effects of benzodiazepine use may include:
- Suicidal thinking or ideation
- Problems with cognition
Should I seek treatment for benzodiazepine addiction?
Signs of benzodiazepine dependence may include:
- “Doctor shopping” for prescriptions
- Snorting, injecting, or otherwise misusing pills to increase effect
- Using benzos with other drugs, like opioids, or alcohol
- Engaging in high-risk behaviors
- Loss of interest in things formerly enjoyable
- Using in spite of negative effects
- Symptoms of withdrawal and/or drug cravings
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or others, you or someone you love may have a benzo problem and should seek medical help to detox safely.
Benzo withdrawal is physically and emotionally trying, and symptoms vary in severity. Generally, a “rebound” stage characterized by anxiety and restlessness, lasting one to four days, will take place upon cessation of benzo use, with more serious symptoms lasting between ten and fourteen days (U.S. National Library of Medicine). Guests are monitored 24/7 throughout detoxification by on-site medical staff.
Withdrawal symptoms from benzos may include (National Center for Biotechnology Information):
- Tension and anxiety
- Seeming inability to concentrate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headache and hallucinations
- Muscle pains
- Drug cravings
What happens after medical detox?
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