What are Benzodiazepines and what are they used for?
Benzodiazepines are drugs that are prescribed for many different types of medical conditions, such as anxiety disorders and insomnia. They are also used for controlling seizures, as well as muscle relaxants. Such drugs tend to have a tranquilizing effect on the individuals taking them. Some very commonly known brand names of benzodiazepines are Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam). Even though these medications are prescribed for the aforementioned problems people are known to abuse them because of the calming effect that they have.
The Addictive Nature of Benzodiazepines
Abuse of benzodiazepines is very common, one of the biggest reasons why this is so is because such drugs are readily available. Other than that, they tend to reduce anxiety in people and produce a calming effect as well. When people feel less anxious and calmer, they are able to deal with the various stressful situations in their lives. However, the thing to note it is the people’s temperament only that becomes nonchalant, as the stressful situations remain as they are. Furthermore, people tend to develop a tolerance to the drugs that they are taking, which is why they need a higher dosage as time passes. People end up requiring an increased dosage for them to have the same effects as before. These are all the reasons why people – both who are using the drug legitimately as prescription medication, as well as those using them illicitly – end up becoming dependent on the drugs. People who take more than the prescribed dosage or those that want to take the drugs recreationally are all likely to become dependent on benzodiazepines.
What are the Symptoms of Benzodiazepines Prescription Drug Abuse?
An interesting thing to note about the abuse of benzodiazepines is that when users abuse this drug, the symptoms mimic the very symptoms that the drug is meant to address, as people start getting insomnia as well as anxiety. Frequent headaches, anorexia, problems with balance, blurred vision, as well as fatigue and weakness in the body are also signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse. Aside from these physical problems, people can also face various emotional, mental, and psychological issues. Abuse can lead to depression, antisocial behavior, as well as loss of interest in the person’s life. When a person becomes addicted to benzodiazepines, he or she also starts to show signs of irritability, which can result in aggression and hostility as well.
Benzodiazepines tend to have extremely dangerous interactions with many other medicines, as well as alcohol. When they are mixed with other drugs or alcohol, they can cause the body to malfunction and even cause death. It has to be noted that several deaths – including of famous celebrities – have reportedly been caused by the negative interaction between alcohol and benzodiazepines.
How can the Abuse of Benzodiazepines be treated?
Several options and alternatives exist for the treatment of those that are afflicted with benzodiazepine abuse and addiction. This can take the form of in-house treatment, as well as treatment that is conducted at a hospital or a rehabilitation center. Benzodiazepines tend to be quite addictive and the abuser can face various negative and adverse withdrawal symptoms upon quitting the drugs. This can include itching and burning of the skin, depression, paranoia, insomnia, and anxiety. The extent of the withdrawal symptoms depends on how long the abuse has been happening.
Suddenly stopping the use of benzodiazepines can be extremely dangerous and it is not recommended. Doctors and other medical professionals must work to slowly and steadily reduce the dosage over a certain period of time. Other medications are also necessary to ease the withdrawal symptoms. After the initial detoxification has taken place, it is extremely important to continue the treatment and to make sure that the person is able to stop the abuse. This is because there is a very high chance of relapse into abuse. It is not the physical addiction that needs to be addressed but also the root causes of the dependency, such as any underlying psychological reasons. It is, therefore, also important to conduct psychotherapy in conjunction with the rehabilitation program.