For those struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines, benzo treatment is often necessary to address their addiction and help them to recovery.
What are benzodiazepines or “benzos”?
Benzodiazepines, more commonly known as benzos, are drugs that were introduced in the 1960s and are widely prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. They have also been used to treat insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, panic attacks and seizure disorders.
When used as prescribed, benzos can be highly effective. However, they have a high risk for abuse. Benzo users quickly build up a tolerance for the drug and may increase their dosage in an effort to experience the “high” they experienced off of earlier doses. Benzos are also extremely addictive and can be deadly if stopped abruptly.
Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan).
How do benzos work?
Benzodiazepines work in the central nervous system by occupying GABA-A receptors in the brain. During this process, benzos enhance responses to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) the brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter, which allows the neuron to become negatively charged and resistant to excitement. This produces the calming effects on the body and mind that benzos area prescribed for.
What are the effects of benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines may cause:
- Trembling or “the shakes”
- Feelings of depression and apathy
- Impaired coordination
- Lowered sense of alertness
- A feeling of “mental fog”
What are the potential dangers of benzos?
As mentioned, benzos can be highly addictive and carry a high potential for abuse.
Abruptly stopping benzos is highly dangerous. Going “cold turkey” can cause muscle cramps, tremors and seizures that could be fatal. Long-term benzo users should detox slowly under the supervision of a medical professional.
Benzos are also extremely dangerous when mixed with other drugs, particularly alcohol and opiates. Because benzos act as a depressant for the central nervous system, combining them with other depressants greatly increases the chance for overdose.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to benzodiazepines, benzo treatment might be the answer. At Turning Point Treatment Center, our individualized treatment plans, highly qualified staff and personalized approach to recovery have a proven track record of success. For more information on alcoholism treatment at Turning Point Treatment Center, please contact us.