What is Benzo Addiction?
Benzodiazepines or ‘benzos’ for short, are a class of prescription central nervous system depressants. They are most often prescribed for anxiety disorders and panic attacks. They are also sometimes prescribed for insomnia or seizures. Prescriptions for insomnia and seizures are less common than they once were because doctors have become increasingly aware of benzo addiction. Benzodiazepines are physically and psychologically addictive. If you take these drugs regularly for an extended period of time you will become physically dependent. This can be as short as a few weeks. In terms of benzo addiction, this means if you were to cut back or stop taking the drug, you would soon get physical withdrawal symptoms. These usually begin with anxiety and insomnia. After a day or two, this can progress into depression and mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. Anxiety tends to get worse before it gets better and it can last weeks. You can become dependent upon benzodiazepines even if you are taking them exactly as prescribed.
An Important Note About Benzo Withdrawal
An unfortunate part of benzo addiction is the specter of benzo withdrawal. Anyone who takes benzos, even if they follow their doctor’s prescription to the letter, needs to be aware of the seriousness of the withdrawal symptoms. There are only 3 categories of drugs that have potentially fatal withdrawal effects. The first two are alcohol and barbiturates. The third is benzodiazepines. The biggest risk in withdrawal is seizures. These can be serious enough to be fatal and it isn’t always clear how a person will react. Two different people of similar age, weight, and health who take about the same amount of the drug may have different withdrawal experiences. One may have a fatal seizure and die in withdrawal. It is very, very important that you never stop using benzodiazepines suddenly. Whether benzo addiction is a problem or not, there is a risk of withdrawal without medical support. You should always seek professional medical help, consult your doctor or enter a medical detox program. Do not try to detox yourself or anyone else off benzos at home. Never, ever attempt it.
- Never attempt to cut back or quit benzodiazepines on your own.
- Always call your doctor or seek professional medical help regarding this medicine.
- A home benzo addiction detox can be deadly, ALWAYS go to a medical detox or hospital.
- Do not consider anything in this article medical advice, when in doubt always ask a doctor.
How Common is Benzo Addiction?
Benzodiazepines are very popular in the Unites States. A public health study by the NIH in 2018 found that approximately 30.5 million people used benzodiazepines and 17.1% of them admitted misusing them. As some users will be in denial or not admit their misuse or addiction, the real number is likely higher. Of the people who admitted misusing these drugs, 46.3% say their motive was to relax or relieve stress. 22.4% say they did it to help them sleep. The number who said they were experimenting was 5.7%. Finally 11.8% of the respondents admitted they just wanted to get high. Whatever the reasons someone ends up caught in benzo addiction, the result is the same. It’s a difficult situation to fond your way out of. In fact, as noted above it can be dangerous or even deadly to try on your own, so remember – ASK FOR HELP.
- Over 30 million people in America use these drugs.
- Up to 17.1% admit that they misuse or abuse them.
- Of those, 46.3% did it to escape stress, making this the most common reason for misuse.
- 5.7% said they were just ‘experimenting’.
- 11.8% of the people admitted they abused them just to get high.
Asking For Help
Benzo addiction is a serious problem. The world seems like a scarier place than ever for many of us. Whether we are looking for relief from worry or an escape from our problems, benzodiazepines can be tempting. But they are not a permanent solution to any problem. Even when they are prescribed a person is at serious risk of becoming physically dependent upon them. Anyone who takes them daily for more than a couple of weeks almost certainly will be physically dependent. You must never try to detox yourself or anyone else from benzos at home. It is one of the few classes of drugs that can actually kill you in withdrawal. This is serious. Ask for help from a medical professional. If someone is showing signs of benzo withdrawal, get them to a medical detox immediately or call 911. If you or someone you love is dependent on Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, or any other drug, please call NJ Rehabs. We have the experience you need to get the help you deserve. Call us at (973) 858-5125 or reach us through our contact page here.