Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs that act as sedatives. These medications are used to help people with various types of problems, from insomnia to anxiety attacks or severe seizures. They can also be prescribed for people going through alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are divided into different classes based on how long their effects are intended to last. The most common examples within this class of drugs are Valium and Xanax.
Benzodiazepines are among the most prescribed medications in the United States, with millions of individuals using them each year. Even though these medications help many people, there’s also a moderate to high risk of benzodiazepine abuse, which could potentially lead to a lethal overdose. This abuse is largely due to a combination of the effects of these drugs and their state of availability.
How Benzodiazepine Abuse Affects the Body and Mind
As you start taking more of these drugs than intended, you’ll begin to change. The first thing that may develop is a tolerance to the drug, which means you’ll need to take more of it to get the same results as before. Because of this need, you may start taking the substance for longer periods than you’re supposed to and constantly have cravings for more. These cravings may lead you to go to multiple doctors or falsify prescriptions to get more of the drug, and you might ask your family and friends for loans to afford your habit. You might also start lying to your loved ones about your actions or whereabouts.
Your mood might change abruptly without any good reason, and your performance at work or school might suffer. You may also have stopped participating in activities you used to enjoy. In the beginning of this addiction, you might be constantly drowsy and dizzy. As you start taking higher doses, your speech may be slurred, you may be confused without any cause, or you may be weak and without coordination.
As time goes by, you’ll likely start experiencing many of the feelings that led you to start taking benzodiazepines, such as anxiety or insomnia. You may also start experiencing weakness or stop eating for long periods of time, a chronic headache may develop, or you might suffer body tremors. Remembering important things in your life may become difficult. If you’re still taking these drugs despite knowing their negative effects, or you’ve made several failed attempts to cut down or stop using them, the use of benzodiazepines is impacting your life.
If any of this sounds like something you’ve experienced, then you’re in the clutches of benzodiazepine abuse. This isn’t something you can quit by yourself since withdrawal can lead to significant health issues. Fortunately, there’s good news – you can get out of this addiction with some help.
The Benefits of Seeking Help Today
The first thing a professional will do is help you slowly reduce the amount of the substance you’re taking so you can avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. This is best performed at a treatment center where you can be cared for around-the-clock. Since many substance abuse cases are partially based on mental health problems, you’ll also receive treatment that’ll address any mental issues you may be experiencing.
You’ll also get to attend individual and family therapy sessions with a psychiatrist or counselor, which will give you and your loved ones a chance to address any stressful issues that may have caused this addiction. You’ll get to experience group therapy with other people who’ve also suffered from benzodiazepine abuse. As you share your personal stories and progress, you’ll develop a new circle of friends who’ll help you out if you ever experience cravings or desire to use these substances again. Some programs can also help you find new housing and employment, and most programs will help you find new hobbies to keep your mind properly occupied.
Depending on your situation, you may be better suited for outpatient care, which allows you the same benefits without having to leave your home for a long period of time. These outpatient treatments are sufficient if you only have a mild to moderate problem yet also have a fairly supportive family environment. Whatever you choose, you’ll discover how to use the skills you’ve learned in treatment in your everyday life once you’ve completed the initial phases of rehabilitation. You’ll also learn ways to keep benzodiazepines out of your life while keeping your initial difficulties under control.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward your recovery, call the helpline today at 800-447-9081. You can get in touch with an addiction specialist who can help you find the right treatment program for your unique needs. Step out of the throes of benzodiazepine abuse and get your life back on track starting today.