When used as prescribed, benzodiazepines can be helpful in relieving anxiety. But if begin abusing them, you can quickly develop a tolerance. That tolerance is the beginning of a slippery slope that could lead to addiction.

How Benzodiazepines Can Be Helpful

man suffers benzodiazepines withdrawal symptomsDoctors prescribe “benzos” to treat several common conditions. These conditions include:

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Sleeplessness
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tightness or pain
  • Pre-surgery tension

Valium and Xanax are two of the most well-known and widely used benzos. In fact, physicians commonly prescribe these drugs for sedation. But because they sedate and soothe patients’ nerves, some people begin taking more than they should.

As central nervous system depressants, benzos relax muscles and sedate patients. There are over 2,000 types of benzodiazepine medications worldwide, but only 15 are currently legal in the United States. The FDA classifies benzos as ultra-short acting, short acting or long acting.

How Benzodiazepine Addiction Begins

Many people abuse their benzodiazepine medications or buy these drugs illegally. Generally, they abuse these medications long term or overuse them.

Although few patients die or become seriously injured from benzo abuse, combining benzos with drinking or other pills can be deadly.
Benzo abuse can lead to serious side effects, including:

  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Slurring of speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Breathing problems
  • Coma

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Abuse

People who abuse benzos often behave in ways that harm relationships and school or work performance. They also tend to experience changed appearance. Mood problems are also common in these individuals.

Other symptoms of benzo abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Headaches

When someone suffers from benzodiazepine addiction, they can go through serious withdrawal if they stop using the drug. Users may even experience seizures if they suddenly stop using the amount they’re used to taking each day.

In order to end this vicious cycle, getting drug addiction treatment is vital. The best facilities treat benzodiazepine abuse along with co-occurring disorders that may have led to the drug abuse in the first place.

1st Step Behavioral Health Helps Patients Gain Recovery

In Pompano Beach, Florida, patients with a history of benzodiazepine abuse or addiction can get the help they need for lasting recovery. Additionally, patients need treatment for underlying mental health disorders like anxiety simultaneously to give them the best chance for life-long sobriety. At 1st Step, that dual diagnosis care is available.

If you or someone you love are stuck in the destructive cycle of benzodiazepine addiction, take the first steps toward recovery. You can start by contacting us by call or texting 1st Step Behavioral Health now at (855) 425-4846 for more information about our addiction rehab facility.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.