06 Mar Benzos: What You Don’t Know Could Kill You
“Benzos,” short for benzodiazepines, are a class of tranquilizers that are prescribed for anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures, panic attacks and other conditions. Highly addictive in nature, benzos have become popular among users for its euphoric effects due to surges of dopamine levels in the brain. Within six months, users can develop a tolerance to brands like Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, which raises urgent concerns among researchers because, over the last six years, emergency room visits related to benzo overdoses have more than doubled, particularly with Xanax, according to an article published in CNN.
How does addiction to benzos develop?
When patients follow their doctors’ exact orders as prescribed, they will be less likely to develop an addiction to the tranquilizers, but because of the immediate “feel-good” effect of the drug, users begin to abuse benzos by taking doses too close together or continuing to use the drug after they’re supposed to stop. Even at low prescribed doses, patients can still develop an addiction after a period of use, because by the time a patient is supposed to stop taking the medication, the patient’s brain structure may have already been changed by the drugs.
Who’s at risk for benzo dependency?
The comorbid conditions of the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, rendering them vulnerable to benzo dependency. In the beginning stages of dementia, before any family members notice changes in their elderly loved one’s state of mind, it’s easy to confuse doses of multiple medications for heart disease, kidney failure, high cholesterol, and other age-related ailments for which their doctors prescribe these medications. Unless a caregiver is present to assist with medication management, an older adult can overdose on benzodiazepines along with other prescribed medications.
Younger adults become psychologically addicted to the way benzos make them feel. The euphoric intensity alone is enough to demotivate them from discontinuing the drug, but the physiological dependence adds a layer of difficulty when adults do try to stop using. One study reveals that attempts to stop were met with unpredictable complications and fast relapses.
Are there alternative treatments for anxiety other than benzodiazepines?
Consult an addiction psychiatrist about your concerns with benzos. At New Method Wellness, addiction psychiatrists treat all types of addiction, including dependence to benzodiazepines. Treating substance abuse addiction while weaning an individual off an addiction to a prescription drug is a very delicate balance and requires close clinical supervision. If you’re having a hard time quitting benzos, do not try to do this on your own, as this could result in life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.
For more information about benzo addiction treatment, call 866.951.1824 today!