Every year, millions of people in the United States are prescribed benzodiazepines despite their highly addictive properties. The warning signs of benzo addiction are too often recognized after a problem exists. Benzo abuse and addiction numbers continually rise, and fatal overdose can occur when the drug interferes with breathing and heart rate. The true finality occurs with lethal overdose for those who mix abusing benzos with other substances like alcohol.
Why Do People Use Benzos?
Benzodiazepines are typically treatment options for insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, and anxiety and panic disorders. These medications are a class of central nervous system depressant drugs mainly prescribed for short-term management of the above-mentioned conditions. The danger lies when benzos are misused or taken with other substances. Therefore, all involved with the patient must understand the warning signs of benzo addiction.
In some cases, benzos are treatment options for alcohol withdrawal management. While this may be an effective treatment, benzos can produce a reinforcing effect, which makes people want to keep taking them. Benzos are easily misused, unintentionally or intentionally, and can lead to tolerance, requiring higher dosages to produce the desired effect. This unfortunate cycle is what leads to abuse and addiction.
Warning Signs of Benzo Abuse
Mental health professionals use the term hypnotic, sedative, or anxiolytic use disorder to describe benzo abuse or addiction. The diagnosis requires at least two possible eleven symptoms within the same year. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive, and misuse and abuse can occur unintentionally. Being educated about the warning signs of benzo abuse may save your life or the life of a loved one.
The following are warning signs and symptoms of benzo addiction:
- Using benzos in a higher dosage over a longer period than the prescription directs
- Spending considerable time acquiring the drugs, asking friends, relatives, or doctor shopping
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if dosage dwindles or ends
- Poor judgment, difficulty thinking, and using risky behaviors
- Blurred vision and drowsiness
- Having a desire to cut back on the drug dosage but being unable to
- Mood fluctuations
- Combining benzos with alcohol or other drugs
- Building tolerance and dependence on the drugs
- Impairment of daily functions and lack of responsibility
Benzodiazepines affect individuals physically and psychologically. These drugs are available on the streets, leading to additional dangers. No one knows what additives or other substances are combined with benzos when bought on the street. This increases the threat of a fatal overdose.
Other warning signs of benzo abuse emerge with chronic long-term abuse. Encouraging a loved one to seek treatment for benzo abuse is essential to avoid serious consequences. Medically monitored detox can rid the body of the toxic levels of benzos in the brain and body. Avoid blame and judgments and be supportive in a healthy, positive manner.
Chronic use of benzodiazepines can lead to the following severe signs and symptoms:
- Severe headaches
- Memory problems
Using Benzos With Other Drugs
One in three people using benzodiazepines also take opioids. Benzos are strong sedatives, and opioids are powerful painkillers. Both medications are highly addictive and can lead to tolerance, dependence, and overdose. Mixing these medications increases the chance of overdose, and the side effects are potentially life-threatening, so it is essential to recognize the warning signs of benzo abuse.
A meaningful dilemma remains in the healthcare industry, with doctors writing millions of prescriptions yearly. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that doctors avoid prescribing opioids and benzos simultaneously, but one report states one-third of doctor’s visits include prescriptions for both opioid medication and benzodiazepines. In other situations, those involving more than one doctor receive opioids from one doctor and benzos from another doctor.
The danger in mixing benzos and opioids is that they both slow the central nervous system, which affects breathing and heart rate. An increase in drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, and confusion are all symptoms of this dangerous combination. Those that include alcohol use in the mix are in great danger of overdose. More than one-third of those who overdose on opioids are also taking benzodiazepines.
Physical dependence is a medical condition from developing a tolerance to benzodiazepines. Tolerance is one of the warning signs of benzo abuse, indicating misuse, abuse, or addiction is present. With tolerance to a drug, the brain depends on a certain amount of benzo effects to function. The drugs affect brain chemistry, and if the dosage dwindles or ends, withdrawal begins.
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is dangerous, with the potential for death. Severe symptoms can occur, for example, seizures and hallucinations. Medical care must be a priority when severe warning signs of benzo abuse occur. Every person has a different metabolism and processes benzos individually. Medically monitored detoxification is the recommended treatment for the misuse and abuse of benzos.
The following severe symptoms from benzo withdrawal require care from a medical professional:
- Muscle pain and cramping
- Suicidal thoughts
Find Help for Benzo Addiction in Memphis, TN
It can be a relief to hear the words of a professional describe the signs and symptoms you may be experiencing or see in a loved one who may be abusing benzos. Detox West in Tennessee can assess your situation and has experienced professionals who are familiar with benzo abuse to advise you. A beautiful location and medically monitored detoxification programs are benefits of seeking treatment with Detox West in Memphis Tennessee.
Contact us today to alleviate your anxiety and fears about benzo rehab.