Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are a class of sedative medications that have been in use for over six decades. They are among the most commonly prescribed drug types in the country. Studies reveal that over 5% of the US population, primarily middle-aged adults, uses them to treat various mental disorders.
There are different types of benzodiazepines, and each one has its unique effects. The most common benzodiazepines are Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam). Other common benzodiazepines include Klonopin and Librium.
So, what do benzos do? Benzos work by binding to the GABA receptors in the brain, which increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA. This action results in a calming effect on the body and mind.
What are the Medical Uses of Benzos?
Physicians prescribe benzos to treat various health conditions, including:
Xanax is the most potent benzodiazepine, and it’s typically used to treat anxiety. Patients can take benzos for anxiety in different ways, depending on the severity of the anxiety disorder. For milder forms of anxiety, benzodiazepines may be taken on an as-needed basis, while for more severe forms of anxiety, they may be taken regularly.
Aside from Xanax, Klonopin is also an FDA-approved drug for anxiety and other panic disorders. Once the symptoms have improved, patients are advised to stop using the drug slowly, as stopping it abruptly could cause severe withdrawal symptoms.
Valium is a less potent benzodiazepine, and it’s typically used as a short-term treatment for seizures. It’s typically taken by mouth, and it works by calming the nervous system. Patients can take Valium regularly or as needed. This drug is usually prescribed when other seizure medications have not been effective.
Xanax, Valium, and Ativan are some common benzodiazepines used to treat insomnia. You can take them in pill form or as a liquid, and they can help to promote relaxation and sleep.
- Acute alcohol withdrawals
If you’re experiencing acute alcohol withdrawals, your doctor may recommend using a benzodiazepine. Librium is often prescribed to treat acute alcohol withdrawals. It works by depressing the central nervous system, which can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepines are generally safe and well-tolerated, but they can cause some side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. If you think you may benefit from benzodiazepines, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.
Issues with Recreationally Using Benzos
Benzodiazepines are pretty popular, not just as medications to treat mental disorders but also as recreational drugs. They are known to have mild to moderate euphoric effects, which is why some people take them illegally for recreational use. Illegal benzodiazepines include Etizolam, Flualprazolam, and Flubromazolam.
Despite their many helpful uses, benzos can be extremely dangerous when used recreationally. Here are some of the risks associated with the recreational use of these drugs:
- Benzos can be deadly
Benzodiazepines are involved in a large number of fatal overdoses. In fact, they are the most commonly prescribed drugs involved in fatal overdoses in the United States.
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), Benzos led to nearly 7,000 overdose deaths, accounting for 17% of all drug overdose deaths in 23 states from January 2019 to June 2020. In non-fatal cases, benzos cause overdose symptoms, such as confusion, slurred speech, respiration depression, and coma.
- Benzos can cause blackouts
People who abuse benzos often report experiencing blackouts or periods where they cannot remember what they did. This can be extremely dangerous, as it can lead to risky behaviors like driving while intoxicated.
- Benzos can cause memory problems
Researchers have established a link between long-term abuse of benzos and anterograde amnesia, which is memory loss for events occurring forward in time. Memory loss is highly likely in benzos with a high benzodiazepine-receptor affinity that’s given intravenously or in high doses or that’s eliminated slowly.
- Benzos can be addictive
People who abuse benzos can quickly develop tolerance, meaning they need to take larger and larger doses to get the same effect. This can lead to dependence and addiction.
Are you or a loved one struggling with benzodiazepines? Consider connecting with the AToN Center to learn about our Benzodiazepine Treatment Program and how you can recover in luxury.
How Addictive are Benzos?
Many people wonder how addictive benzos are. The truth is that they can be very addictive.
Benzos are some of the most addictive substances out there. If you abuse them, you can develop a tolerance very quickly. This means you need to take more and more of the drug to get the same effect.
If you keep taking benzos, you’ll eventually develop dependence. This means that your body will become used to the drug and that you’ll need it to function normally. If you try to quit, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. These can be very severe and can even be life-threatening.
So, if you’re thinking about taking benzos, be very careful. They can be very dangerous, so they should only be used as a short-term solution and as directed by a doctor.
Treatment Options for Benzo Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, you should seek professional help. Medical professionals can help people determine what course of treatment is most appropriate given their circumstances. Various treatment options are available, and the best course of action will depend on the individual’s needs.
Inpatient treatment programs offer 24-hour supervision and support, which can be especially helpful for people who are struggling with severe addiction. These programs typically include detox, individual and group therapy, and other activities designed to help people recover from addiction.
Outpatient treatment programs provide similar services to inpatient programs but on a less intensive level. People in outpatient programs typically live at home and attend treatment during the day. This program can be a good option for people with a strong home support system and who are motivated to recover from addiction.
Want to learn more about benzodiazepines and the dangers they can pose? Check out our Ultimate Benzodiazepine Resource Guide to stay up-to-date on all benzodiazepine research and findings.
Find Help with AToN in San Diego
If you’re in need of addiction treatment in San Diego, California, AToN Center is the perfect place. The first reason why you should consider our facility as your addiction treatment center is that we are accredited by The Joint Commission, which is the leading accrediting body for healthcare organizations in the United States. This accreditation means that we meet their high standards for quality and safety.
Another reason to choose AToN Center is that we offer a variety of evidence-based treatments for addiction, including detoxification services, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step facilitation, and medication-assisted treatment. We believe in using treatments that have been proven effective in treating addiction.
Our team at AToN Center includes addiction counselors, nurses, and psychiatrists. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that you’ll receive comprehensive care during your time at our center. We provide comprehensive treatment to treat behavioral and mental health.
Contact us today to discuss the addiction treatment options available at our addiction treatment center.