Benzodiazepines have been available to treat patients who have anxiety since 1960. The first two prescriptions that contain this substance are Librium and Valium. These two were very popular when they first came out and still are 50 years later in our present society. It wasn’t until almost 20 years after they were introduced when doctors started to realize benzodiazepine addiction could occur when people took these prescribed drugs and how difficult it was for patients to stop taking them.
There are millions of people who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and compulsive behaviors who attempt to handle their issues on their own and without any prescription medications. However, there are thousands of people who are unable to treat their anxiety, so instead, they go see their family physician. Their doctor can prescribe one of the many types of anti-anxiety medications available on the market today, but a long-standing favorite for physicians has been a medication that contained benzodiazepines.
What are the Dangers and Side Effects of Benzodiazepine Addiction?
Individuals who take benzodiazepines often find they are less anxious and their compulsive tendencies and panic attacks subside. However, many patients who are taking this prescription medication don’t realize the danger of what can happen if the prescribed dosage is abused. Also, individuals who buy benzodiazepine pills off the black market typically self-medicate and are not diagnosed, lacking the medical expertise of a physician to inform what the dangers are of using this controlled substance for a prolonged period of time. Family members and friends who worry if their loved one is abusing benzodiazepine medications should understand what dangers and side effects can occur when someone is abusing this substance.
When taken at the normal prescribed dosage, benzodiazepines reduce feelings of anxiety and panic attacks. If taken in larger dosages than what is prescribed, the following symptoms could occur:
- Lack of coordination
- Dizziness, euphoria
- Decreased concentration
- Lowered sex drive
- Increased risk of traffic accidents
- Sudden changes in appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Slurred speech
An overdose of benzodiazepines is serious and could create long-lasting psychological issues that need treatment with therapy.
Physical and Psychological Benzodiazepine Addiction
Even though benzodiazepines are useful in relieving anxiety and panic attacks, taking this medication for long periods of time is not recommended as it leads patients to becoming psychologically and physically addicted to the drug. Individuals who try to stop taking benzos may suffer from extreme withdrawal symptoms if they stop without using an approved detoxification process. Oftentimes it is difficult to distinguish between anxiety and withdrawal symptoms the individual is experiencing as they both have similar symptoms.
Statistics from a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMSHA) in 2004 show that benzodiazepine was the most abused prescription drug in the United States. The number of benzo prescriptions written every year for patients hovers around 100 million. Even though it is difficult to determine the number of individuals who abuse this drug, the amount of people seeking drug abuse treatment indicates it is a serious problem in today’s society.
Additional Signs of a Suspected Benzodiazepine Addict
Family members and friends who are concerned about their loved ones having a benzodiazepine addiction need to recognize other signs or symptoms that could indicate they are abusing this medication. They may involve:
- The individual develops a tolerance to prescription medications, therefore, requiring them to take larger doses than normally prescribed.
- Those becoming addicted take the prescription longer than it was originally prescribed
- The user has a desire to take benzodiazepines and doesn’t want to discontinue using the drug even without experiencing anxiety.
- Individual stops interacting or socializing with family members or friends and withdraws from activities that were normally enjoyed.
Getting Help for Benzodiazepine Addicts
Those who suspect their loved one is addicted to using benzos and are concerned with them potentially overdosing need to take immediate action before an addiction gets worse. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ an overdose will happen, but ‘when’ it will happen as this drug has a powerful influence. When it is too late, it may be more difficult to manage an illness or disability that results from an overdose.
Best Drug Rehabilitation can help you find solutions for benzodiazepine addiction. Call our toll-free number today to learn more about our services.
Take action now because the longer individuals ignore an addiction, the greater the risk of serious injury or even death.