Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as benzos, are prescription medications that rose in popularity alongside the opioid epidemic. As a result, Benzo addiction has become a widespread concern, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse reporting that 16% of opioid deaths also involve benzodiazepine overdose.
Unfortunately, since benzo addiction hasn’t earned the same notoriety as other drugs, such as opioids, they’re still dramatically overprescribed. As a result, patients with a longstanding prescription are likely to develop benzodiazepine dependence, requiring medical attention to detox and maintain sobriety.
At Jewel City Treatment Center in California, we offer benzodiazepine addiction treatment options to help those battling Benzo addiction to free themselves from the toxic effects of long-term benzodiazepine use.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are classified as a schedule IV controlled substance that slows the central nervous system (CNS) and related brain functioning. Since the CNS encompasses the brain and spinal cord, any drug affecting the CNS causes a change in the entire body.
Upon ingestion, benzodiazepines target the neurotransmitter GABA-A, producing a calming effect on the body. The effects of benzodiazepines make them commonly prescribed medications for those with anxiety disorders, insomnia, panic attacks, or experiencing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
What Are the Different Types of Benzodiazepines?
As benzodiazepines treat acute anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks, some benzos, such as Valium, provide a short-to-immediate onset. In contrast, Klonopin and others are intermediate-acting benzodiazepines continuing to work in the body for 11 to 20 hours after ingestion. Long-acting benzodiazepines can remain in the system for one to three days.
Popular benzodiapines include:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Librax (chlordiazepoxide)
- Versed (midazolam)
While all of the above are benzodiazepines, they target the GABA receptors differently, making each prescription medication appropriate for a different health concern.
What Causes Benzodiazepine Addiction?
Like many other drugs, benzodiazepines trigger a surge in dopamine levels, which creates feelings of euphoria and pleasure in the body. However, with extended benzodiazepine use, the brain’s ability to regulate dopamine becomes compromised, and functioning without the drugs is more challenging.
Once benzo addiction alters the brain’s chemical structure, patients develop severe withdrawal symptoms that may become life-threatening without proper medical care.
What Are the Side Effects of Benzodiazepines?
Similar to other depressants, the side effects and symptoms of benzodiazepines often center around drowsiness, slower reactions, and cognitive impairment. The most frequently reported side effects of benzodiazepine use include the following:
- Mental confusion
- Increased anxiety
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle weakness
- Dry mouth
- Blurry vision
- Memory impairment
In addition, those who regularly take benzodiazepines have an increased likelihood of experiencing an accident or injury.
Why Are Benzodiazepines Considered Dangerous?
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.8 million Americans over 12 have misused benzodiazepine prescriptions in the past year. In addition, due to the significant effects benzodiazepines have on the body, pairing the drugs with other depressants can cause dangerous or deadly consequences.
When paired with other commonly abused depressants, like alcohol and opioids, patients are at an increased risk of:
- Significant cognitive impairment
- Respiratory depression
- Developing long-term mental health conditions
- Decreased physical functioning and reaction times
- Developing severe benzodiazepine dependence
Additionally, when pairing benzodiazepines with other drugs, the side effects of both drugs are enhanced, increasing their severity.
What Are the Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction?
Patients who take benzodiazepines for over six months will start to develop symptoms of benzo addiction. These include:
- Muscle spasms
- Sensory hypersensitivity
- Impaired coordination
Often, patients experiencing these symptoms crave benzodiazepines to restore the normalcy they provide. However, continuing the use of benzodiazepines only worsens cravings and symptoms.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
Benzodiazepine discontinuation requires medical assistance. Patients taking high doses or who abuse benzodiazepines for an extended period may need to detox from the drug while in a hospital, clinic, or outpatient facility.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the duration and dosage of benzo use and the specific drug used. Benzo withdrawal symptoms include:
- Heart palpitations
- Poor memory
- Poor concentration
- Changes in sensory processing
Before attempting benzodiazepine withdrawal, consult a medical professional to determine whether you need a detox plan to manage your symptoms. Some patients’ withdrawal symptoms are severe enough to become life-threatening.
Outpatient Benzo Addiction Treatment
At Jewel City Treatment Center, we offer several outpatient treatment options for benzodiazepine abuse. Each addiction treatment program provides different levels of care, depending on where the client is in their substance abuse recovery.
Intensive Outpatient Program
Jewel City Treatment Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Benzo addiction offers the perfect balance between structured therapeutic intervention and the autonomy to continue daily life responsibilities. Our IOP dives deep into the core issues behind addiction, utilizing evidence-based practices, group therapy sessions, and one-on-one counseling.
The program emphasizes cognitive-behavioral techniques, coping strategies, and peer support, ensuring clients have a robust foundation to resist relapse. With the flexibility to integrate treatment seamlessly into daily routines and the comprehensive support of our dedicated team, Jewel City’s IOP stands as a beacon of hope for those striving to overcome benzo addiction and reclaim control over their lives.
Standard Outpatient Treatment
Our outpatient program for Benzo addiction provides a flexible yet comprehensive approach, catering to those who have advanced through more intensive treatment phases or are in the earlier stages of their addiction. Rooted in evidence-based methodologies, the program offers weekly therapeutic sessions, enabling clients to delve into their addiction’s underlying causes and work on sustainable recovery strategies.
Alongside individual counseling, the program fosters a sense of community through group therapies, allowing for shared experiences and peer encouragement. Balancing life’s daily responsibilities with treatment becomes seamless, ensuring that recovery remains a priority. At Jewel City, our aim is to empower individuals with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to confidently step into a benzo-free future.
For clients managing Benzo addiction and a mental health condition, such as anxiety disorder, living without benzodiazepines can feel insurmountable. Our dual-diagnosis treatment focuses on the psychiatric conditions that lead to substance use disorders and provides clients with the tools to manage their mental health without controlled substances.
In addition to offering addiction support, we provide patients with relaxation techniques to manage anxiety disorders, sleep hygiene techniques for insomnia, and other tools to thrive without prescription medications. Each patient’s individualized treatment plan targets their specific medical concerns and creates a path for recovery.
Get the Help You Need to Conquer Benzo Addiction
When the challenges of overcoming benzodiazepine addiction seem overwhelming, the professional team at JC Treatment Center is here to help. Individuals battling Benzo addiction in California can benefit from our skilled, comprehensive care to conquer addiction.
Begin your new life free from benzo addiction by filling out our online contact form today.