Benzo Addiction is a serious health condition that is involves both a physical and psychological dependence on a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazipines are the most commonly misused pharmaceutical drug in the United States.
What are Benzos?
“Benzos” is the nickname for benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety, but they also are effective in treating several other conditions. The exact mechanism of action of benzodiazepines is not known. In some instances, benzodiazepines can have what are known as paradoxical effects, meaning that they cause the very symptoms that they are supposed to alleviate. Unusual symptoms such as nervousness, anxiety, sweating, tension, restlessness and nightmares can occur.
Examples of benzos:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Benzonatate (Tessalon)
Benzodiazepines are used for treating:
- general anesthesia
- sedation prior to surgery or diagnostic procedures
- muscle relaxation
- alcohol withdrawal
- nausea and vomiting
- panic attacks
Long-term use is controversial due to concerns about adverse psychological and physical effects, increased questioning of effectiveness and because benzodiazepines are prone to cause tolerance, physical dependence, and, upon cessation of use after long term use, a withdrawal syndrome
All benzodiazepines can cause physical dependence. Suddenly stopping therapy after a few months of daily use may be associated with withdrawal symptoms which include a feeling of loss of self-worth, agitation, and insomnia. If benzodiazepines are taken continuously for longer than a few months, stopping therapy suddenly may produce seizures, tremors, muscle cramping, vomiting, and sweating. In order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, the dose of benzodiazepines should be tapered slowly.
What is benzo withdrawal syndrome from a benzo addiction?
Benzo withdrawal syndrome occurs as a result of benzo addiction and it is characterized by a specific set of symptoms. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is similar to alcohol and barbiturate withdrawal syndromes. It can be severe and provoke life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures, particularly with abrupt or over-rapid dosage reduction from high doses or from long term use. Long-term use, defined as daily use for at least three months, is not desirable because of the associated increased risk of dependence, dose escalation, loss of efficacy, increased risk of accidents and falls, as well as cognitive, neurological, and intellectual impairments.
Signs of Benzo Addiction and Dependence
You are benzo-dependent if experience withdrawal symptoms between doses, when you decrease the amount you are taking, or if you stop taking benzos altogether.
5 Signs of Benzo Addiction
- severe sleep disturbance, insomnia, restlessness
- hand tremor, sweating, dry retching and nausea, weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness, seizures
- increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, difficulty in concentration, confusion and cognitive difficulty, memory problems, hallucinations, psychosis, and suicide
- Shortage of funds due to spending money to support habit, financial trouble due to missing bill payments, possible loss of job
- Irritability, isolation, loss of friends and other relationships
Further, these symptoms are notable for the manner in which they come and go and how they vary in severity from day to day or week by week instead of steadily decreasing over time.
If your loved one is in need of benzodiazepines addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.