Benzodiazepines (benzos) are prescription drugs used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Unfortunately, anxiety is often a contributing factor in addiction, and it is not unusual for people on these medications to develop an addiction. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.8 million people over the age of 12 in the United States reported having misused prescription benzodiazepines during the past year. Extended use of benzodiazepines can have serious health consequences, especially when someone tries to completely cut themselves off from the drug. For this reason, it is extremely important that people with benzodiazepine addiction undergo detoxification in a licensed facility where they can receive treatment for withdrawal symptoms.
It is possible to recover from the effects of benzodiazepine addiction and maintain sobriety, but it requires a team effort. Addiction treatments at Silver Ridge are collaborative, intrinsically-focused, and balanced. Our multi-disciplinary team of experienced professionals can help you and your loved ones through this difficult situation.
Types of Benzodiazepines
The Danger of Benzodiazepines
Benzos work by increasing the effects of the GABA neurotransmitter. GABA’s job is to suppress nerve activity, which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and replace them with a more calming sensation. This can be a useful treatment in the short term, but the more a patient relies on benzos, the more likely they are to develop an addiction.
Because benzos alter the very nature of the brain, it becomes harder for the brain to function without benzos the longer they are used. At this point, cutting off benzos completely can result in serious withdrawal symptoms such as high blood pressure, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and sweating. Withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if not properly treated in a detox center.