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Anxiety and Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Reaching Alarming Proportions

Benzodiazepine Prescriptions

Benzodiazepine prescriptions are some of the most written by physicians in the United States. With COVID-19 and isolation of individuals, these numbers are only going up. Benzodiazepines are used to treat stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, panic attacks, and seizures. Physicians write benzodiazepine prescriptions mainly for anxiety today.

Benzodiazepine Prescriptions

Under the Controlled Substances Act, benzodiazepines (also called Benzos) are Schedule IV drugs. Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for abuse and do have a medical benefit. However, these drugs can be addictive and cause physical or psychological dependence if abused. Today, benzodiazepine prescriptions most commonly recommended are Valium and Xanax.

Some names of benzodiazepines include:

            • Valium (diazepam)
            • Xanax (alprazolam)
            • Klonopin (clonazepam)
            • Ativan (lorazepam)
            • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
            • Tranxene (clorazepate)
            • Restoril (temazepam)

All of these drugs are commonly prescribed as well as commonly abused. As individuals continue taking these drugs, even with prescriptions, over time they will develop a tolerance to the medication. They will need more of the drug to render the same effects. Alarmingly, once they develop this tolerance, addiction can be very close behind.

Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Abuse

Many times, if a person is confronted with the fact that they might be addicted to their benzodiazepines, they will answer that they have a prescription for the drugs. However, having a prescription for a drug does not mean that you cannot become addicted to the substance. Look at all of the opioid addiction in the United States today. The majority of these addicts started with a prescription for opioids also. Clearly, benzodiazepine prescriptions are quickly becoming the start of a new epidemic such as the opioid crisis.

Some of the signs of benzodiazepine abuse include but are not limited to:

            • Dizziness
            • Shortness of breath
            • Sweating
            • Drowsiness
            • Slurred speech
            • Nausea and vomiting
            • Impaired coordination

Even when patients take benzodiazepines as their physician prescribes them, they can develop a dependence on the drugs. At this time, they may start neglecting responsibilities and stop participating in activities they would normally enjoy. If you find yourself starting these trends, it may be time to seek help from a reputable addiction treatment facility.

Recognizing Benzodiazepine Addiction

When a person develops a full-blown addiction to benzos, they will display signs just as any addict will to any substance of abuse. The individual may start buying benzodiazepines on the street illegally if their doctor refuses to continue prescribing them. They may start “doctor shopping” (going to different doctors in an effort to obtain the drugs) from other sources. 

In addition, this person may start stealing or “borrowing” benzodiazepines from other individuals who also have prescriptions. In the same manner, they may start stealing money or valuables from family and friends to afford these drugs illegally. Furthermore, these individuals will experience withdrawal symptoms if they cannot get the drugs.

Combining Benzodiazepines with Other Substances

Combining Benzodiazepines with other substances is not only dangerous, but it can also be fatal.

More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines.”

All benzodiazepines cause exaggerated sedation when combined with other substances which are also depressants. Substances such as alcohol, barbiturates, opioids, and other tranquilizers when mixed with benzodiazepines can be fatal. The most common substances that individuals mix with benzodiazepines are other benzodiazepines, alcohol, or opioids. Without a doubt, all of these are a  recipe for death.

Seek Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

If you realize that you are dependent on benzodiazepines,  it is time for you to seek help from a reputable inpatient addiction treatment center.  An inpatient addiction treatment facility will aide you in safe detoxification and then go on to provide you the treatment you need to return to a sober and healthy life without the use of any type of substance of abuse.

Contact Awakenings Rehabilitation to learn more about a treatment program that will fit your individual needs and preferences. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about different treatment programs, one of which will be tailor-made for your needs. Contact us today!

Resources:

Drugabuse.gov – Benzodiazepines and Opioids

Verywellmind.com – Benzodiazepines: Schedule IV Substances

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