A Brief Introduction to Benzos and Xanax Addiction
Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are a classification of drugs consisting of the substances Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan among others. These drugs, commonly prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders, can often lead to addiction. Drugs like Xanax are commonly taken orally but can be used sublingually by people abusing it in order to speed up its effects. Benzodiazepines should only be used short term and their use should monitored by a doctor. Individuals that abuse Xanax and other benzos develop withdrawal symptoms that can be so dangerous and severe that they have the potential to be fatal.
Most doctor prescribe benzos for short term use and decrease the dosage until the patient no longer needs it. This way the patient does not become addicted. Common doses range from 0.25 to 2 milligrams. Often doctors start patients on a low dosage and increase the dosage if it does not work effectively. Misusing benzos often leads to addiction. If you of a loved one is struggling with Xanax or benzodiazepine addiction, help is available.
What is Benzodiazepine Addiction?
Benzos like Xanax are addictive because they release dopamine in the brain. The substance controls the reward center of the brain. This increases the pleasurable feelings a person experiences while decreasing the negative emotions they feel. In other words it creates a euphoric state which, in turn, leads to addiction. Many men and women suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. As such, doctor’s widely prescribe benzodiazepines including Xanax. The result being a large number of consumers developing addiction.
Addiction occurs when a person cannot function without taking the drug on a daily basis. When an addict stops using, the onset of withdrawal symptoms begins shortly after. When a person becomes addicted to benzos, they focus on using a larger dose than prescribed. They do this because they have to take more of the drug in order to achieve similar effects. Commonly addicts cannot afford to buy the drug illegally, so they resort to getting their fix from friends or family, oftentimes stealing Xanax or other benzos from medicine cabinets.
Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
Addiction to Xanax and other benzos produces both physical and behavioral symptoms. These are a few signs of benzodiazepine addiction:
- Feelings of Euphoria
- Moods Swings
Other physical symptoms include:
- Dry Mouth
- Slurred speech
- Lack of Concentration
- Increased Heartbeat
Some patients try to stop taking the drug themselves without seeking professional help. When looking for addiction in teens, college students, family members, or friends look for some of these specific symptoms. Mood changes, poor grade or work performance, sleeping long periods of time, headaches, and problems with money. These may indicate a problem.
Additional Thoughts on Benzodiazepine Addiction
In a chaotic world, benzos are drugs that many consumers take to help relieve stress, anxiety, and various other panic disorders. College and high school students, high achievers, and over worked employees in every industry take them. Addiction begins when users take more than the prescribed dose to eliminate stressful emotions quickly. Often the drug causes drowsiness and when someone drives with the drug in their system it can lead to an accident.
When combined with alcohol, benzodiazepines can produce dangerous reactions. Even social drinking can have deadly consequences. It causes drowsiness and fatigue leading to car accidents, falling, or injuries when operating machinery. Using drugs like ibuprofen and cold remedies have similar results. Mixing this drug with others can lead to dizziness and confusion, even caffeine can increase the potency of benzos in users.
Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Withdrawal from Xanax and benzos requires professional help. The first stage begins about six to twelve hours after not taking the drug. The person has problems sleeping along with high levels of anxiety. After that, stage two lasts one to four days with increased levels of stress and physical symptoms. These too need monitoring by medical professionals. After stopping the drug withdrawal can last five to fourteen days. The symptoms of anxiety and insomnia continue. With the last stage being a return to the psychological condition or symptom for which the drug was prescribed in the first place.
A medically assisted program at an inpatient detox facility is the best option for benzodiazepine addiction. Most facilites have outpatient or inpatient treatment. Rehab centers can monitor the patient twenty-four hours a day and provide other medications that make withdrawal less stressful. Medications help with the physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal. Some of these drugs are pain killers, anti-nausea drugs, and medications for stressful emotions.
Some patients undergo outpatient treatment medically supervised by trained professionals. Oftentimes this is the case when they have less severe symptoms or after inpatient treatment. Sometimes, this is the first step someone takes to treat a serious addiction. Outpatients treatment often includes family counseling, group therapy, a healthy diet, and exercise program.
Different Forms of Therapy for Benzodiazepine Addiction
Rehab centers use a number of different therapies during the treatment process. Cognitive behavioral therapy is where the patient works with a qualified therapist to learn new ways of coping. This therapy helps patients address the stressful feelings that come with addiction. It teaches them to recognize connections between thoughts, feelings, and actions. They learn effective communication skills and new way of coping. In addition to this, therapy offers many exercises for when a patient returns home.
Facilities frequently teach patients meditation as a tool to reduce stress. Meditation focuses on concentration and breathing techniques. It’s one of the tools patient’s can use at home when they’re discharged. In addition to this, facilities encourage patients to develop a daily exercise routine (walking, biking, working out, etc) during treatment. Patients are often provided with a quiet dark room due to their sensitivity to the light when withdrawing from benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
Group therapy involves a number of different activities for patients to participate in. Some programs include art therapy with drawing, painting, making collages, or crafts. Other rehab centers offer equine therapy where participants work with horses and care for them. Furthermore, facilities may offer yoga and massage therapy. In conclusion, treatment depends on the severity and individual needs of the patient’s benzo addiction.
Seeking Help for Benzodiazepine Addiction
When someone suffers from a benzo addiction it is important to get them professional help. A number of rehab centers will come to the house and perform an intervention to convince the person to get treatment. This experience can lead to denial and anger in the patient. Therefore, it is not always an effective method. Benzodiazepine and Xanax abuse is a widespread addiction and countless numbers of people have been treated for it. It is a well-known drug that is often mixed with alcohol to intensify its effects at parties and concerts. Some teens steal the medication from family medicine cabinets, and this is frequently how addiction begins.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five were heavy users of benzos. Stress from entering college as well as working are often the reason behind why this Xanax and similar drugs are taken. Commonly, benzos lead to emergency room visits as well as treatment because they’re combined with alcohol and other drugs.
The rate of benzodiazepine and Xanax prescriptions keeps rising every year since 2008, on average by about nine percent. Interventions and supervised medical treatment are essential to overcoming benzo addiction and the misuse of this drug. People take benzos across racial and economic groups. Both men and women can develop a Xanax or other benzo addiction. It is a drug that reaches many consumers. If you of a loved one is struggling with benzo addiction, help is available. Click here to see the treatment options we have available and begin your road to recovery today.