What is Benzodiazepine Addiction?
Benzos are a class of prescription anti-anxiety medications that are extremely addictive. Roughly 1/3rd of people who take benzos regularly for 6 months or longer will experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the medication. Some examples of benzos include Ativan, Ambien, Klonopin, Xanax, and Valium. Due to risky nature of withdrawal symptoms, medically supervised and medication assisted detox is often needed as a first step towards treating a benzo addiction.
These medications are not to be trifled with, however users who do develop an addiction can make a full recovery.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment Options
Despite how difficult benzo addictions can be for those suffering with the disorder, a full recovery is possible with the right treatment plan. There are tons of options available for anyone who’s ready to get started on their path to recovery.
Most rehab treatment plans, especially concerning prescription drugs like benzos, begin with a detox treatment program. Detox gives your body a chance to relearn how to function without the substance you’ve grown dependent on. During this period, withdrawal symptoms will likely present themselves, which is why it’s important to have medical supervision. There are also medications that can help lessen and control severe withdrawal symptoms. Once detox treatment is complete, patients will move forward with their individualized treatment plan.
Different rehab centers offer different programs and therapies, depending on their specialties and what’s available in that region. Individual and group therapy are generally staples of any treatment plan, as is family therapy in many cases. In individual therapy, patients will work with their therapist to uncover the roots of their addiction problems and learn better stress management skills. Group therapy provides a support network of peers who all work together to support one another throughout treatment. And family therapy is designed to help families understand what their loved one is going through. It also provides opportunities to mend any damaged bonds caused by the addiction.
How Do People End Up Addicted to Benzos?
benzodiazepines were originally developed as a way to help people very real mental health or physical health concerns cope with those problems, such as anxiety or seizures. People who abuse these drugs aren’t doing so in order to make their lives better, per say. Instead, their brains have undergone chemical changes causing them to become highly dependent on these substances. Benzo abusers tend to fall into two groups: those with prescriptions and those without.
According to an analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, addiction is rarely a consequence when these drugs are used properly. If people who are prescribed benzos follow their doctor’s orders exactly, they usually don’t end up gaining an addiction from the experience.
However, there are people who may not follow orders exactly. These individuals may take doses too close together or take larger doses than they were prescribed. They may continue to use benzos even after they’re no longer needed or even hoard pills to “save them for a bad day”. This may be a small group of users, according to research on benzo users, but these people still end up addicted to benzodiazepines.
There are also those that use benzos recreationally. This group typically doesn’t have a prescription from their doctor, so they get ahold of these drugs however and whenever they can. They then proceed to use these drugs for the “high” rather than their medical purpose. They may also combine benzos with other substances to intensify the overall experience. It is not uncommon to find benzodiazepines used in conjunction with alcohol or cocaine under these circumstances.
Research suggests that the typical recreational benzo abuser is between 18 and 25 years old, which is also one of the more common age groups to use any substance recreationally. These numbers tend to climb annually.
Getting Your Loved One to Agree to Rehab Treatment
Addiction is a mental illness, a behavioral disorder.. People with an obsession with benzos aren’t making a fully conscious choice to continue using benzos. Their brains are chemically altered, which prompts them to get and take more benzos in order to function normally. That isn’t to say that people have no control at all over their circumstances. You can bring the logical mind back into play and convince your loved one that they need help if they’re in denial. When combined with the help of a professional interventionist, families can really come together to help support the benzo abuser in their lives and help them find a solution.
Benzodiazepine interventions typically follow this series of events:
- The benzo abuser is invited to a meeting with family members and friends
- Everyone present at the meeting (except the drug abuser) brings a prepared speech that discusses the changes they’ve noticed in their loved one, their desire to see them healthy again, and hopes for the future
- Everyone takes turns reading their letters, sometimes the substance abuser may comment in between when applicable
- Once the person with the addiction agrees to treatment, the intervention is over
Interventionists are psychiatric professionals that are highly experienced in assisting with interventions, namely by helping maintain order and easing any high conflict situations that may arise. They may also help the family draft their letters, participate in the discussions during the intervention, and provide transport to the treatment facility after the addicted individual has agreed to treatment.
Inpatient Treatment for a Benzo Addiction
Due to the risky nature of withdrawal symptoms, undergoing detox treatment without medical supervision is extremely risky. Although rare, life-threatening complications can arise while attempting to reach sobriety. Plus, roughly a third of people who’ve been on benzos for six months or longer may experience symptoms like:
- Muscle Spasms
Inpatient programs provide monitoring during medical detox. This means symptoms are spotted and addressed before they have a chance to reach a fatal level of complications. It’s difficult for families to provide 24/7 care, but for an inpatient treatment center this type of treatment is standard.
Thankfully, Inpatient programs don’t have to be clinical and impersonal. Many provide home-like amenities and comfortable surroundings so people can heal in environments that are familiar and soothing.
We Can Help You Find Treatment Today
You and your loved ones don’t need to suffer anymore. Our service representatives are available 24/7 to help you get started whenever you make the choice towards regaining control over your life. Call us today for your free insurance consultation and we’ll help match you with the best rehab center for you situation.