Learn what treatment for benzodiazepine abuse is like and how it can help you or a loved one recover
Benzodiazepine is a class of drug that is a central nervous system tranquilizer. Doctors often use the drug to treat insomnia, seizures, anxiety, panic attacks and alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines affect the central nervous system and produce sedation and muscle relaxation. There are about fifteen different types of benzodiazepines that are currently approved by the FDA and they fall into the following three categories:
- Ultra short acting benzodiazepines such as Halcion and Versed
- Short acting benzodiazepines such as Lorazepam and Alprazolam
- Long acting benzodiazepines such as Librium and Diazepam
Benzodiazepines have a high potential for abuse, and when mixed with alcohol or other drugs can cause life-threatening consequences. The drug has a high toxic effect when abused and people have accidentally overdosed on the drug and or used the drug to commit suicide. Below is a list of common benzodiazepines on the market today:
- Lorazepam and more.
Benzodiazepine abuse can cause a variety of adverse effects on the user, which include weakness, drowsiness, sedation, difficulty breathing, lack of coordination, sleep problems, memory impairment, irritability, depression, aggression and self harm.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal should never be attempted alone because it can cause life-threatening health problems such as seizures. The drug must be removed from the body slowly to allow the body to adjust to the changes. Treatment for benzodiazepine abuse or addiction should be treated at a drug rehab center where benzodiazepine withdrawal can be monitored and controlled. Withdrawal from the drug can be difficult for the addict and he may have feelings of anxiety about the process. Nevertheless, a supervised, medically monitored detox process is the best treatment for benzodiazepine abuse and addiction.
The detox experience will vary among patients depending on the severity of the abuse. Some individuals may experience sub-acute withdrawal symptoms for months and even years after they have been weaned off of the drug. This is called protracted withdrawal syndrome and the possibility of it happening can be minimized by a slow, gradual weaning off of the drug. As the body re-adjusts from the changes that the drug caused, the withdrawal symptoms may subside. Some of the many benzodiazepines withdrawal symptoms that the patient may experience are:
- Panic attacks
- Palpitations and chest pains
- Hand tremors
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Muscle pain, stiffness and spasms
- Fatigue and weakness
As you can see, benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be severe and that is why an experienced medical team should monitor and manage the withdrawal process. Some of the withdrawal symptoms may be the same as the symptoms that the drug was originally taken to treat. Benzodiazepines withdrawal symptoms may occur sooner when a short-acting variety of the drug was abused, and emerge later when a long-acting variety of the drug was abused.
Treatment for benzodiazepine abuse should begin with a medically assisted detox process and followed with psychological and behavioral counseling and therapy. Many individuals who abuse benzodiazepines suffer with mental disorders such as anxiety, mood or sleep disorders. Individual and group counseling, plus other types of medication can help them manage their mental problems without relapsing. Family counseling and education, plus peer support groups can help the recovering addict stay on the path of sobriety. If you need help with a benzodiazepine abuse problem, you should contact a drug rehab center in your community and begin the process of getting well.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.