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Benzodiazepine Abuse: Symptoms and Treatment

When taken as directed, benzodiazepines are safe and effective drugs. However, they can be addictive and dangerous when misused. Because benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants, they have the potential to be abused.

According to the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, abuse of benzodiazepines is becoming a common cause for concern. Some individuals abuse these medications intentionally as a means of self-medication or as a way to get “high.” These drugs are so commonly used that there is potential for almost anyone to be exposed to them, either through work or social situations.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse

If you are concerned that someone may be abusing benzodiazepines, common signs can include the following:

  • Irregular sleeping patterns: Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium are often prescribed to treat insomnia. Due to this, many people take these medications regularly. However, it has been shown that abuse can lead to a disruption in sleep patterns.
  • Frequent prescription drug shopping: If you notice that a friend or loved one is regularly taking a new prescription for Xanax or Valium, that may be a sign of abuse.
  • Changes in mood and personality: Someone abusing benzodiazepines may withdraw from loved ones, fail to meet school or work obligations, appear confused, or have trouble remembering.

Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Taking these drugs in ways that are not recommended leads to short-term effects that can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Confusion

Long-term use of benzodiazepines can lead to physical dependence. After taking these medications for long periods of time, your body can become physically dependent on them. This means that you could experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Shaking
  • Depression
  • Seizures

Long-term use of these medications can also lead to cognitive disorders such as dementia and delirium. Cognitive disorders can make it difficult for someone to make sound decisions or use good judgment.

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Abuse

Benzodiazepines are a common class of drugs often prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia. However, these drugs can potentially be abused and can lead to serious health and safety risks if used improperly. If you suspect that you or someone you love is abusing benzodiazepines, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If you are taking these medications and feel you may be abusing them, it is important to talk to a mental health or substance abuse professional. They can help you come up with a plan to reduce your dosage or taper off the drug completely. With the right support, it is possible to overcome an addiction to benzodiazepines.

The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise, and benzodiazepines are no exception. Even with a legitimate prescription, it is easy to become addicted to benzos. They are dangerous because their abuse can lead to the very symptoms they were originally taken to eradicate. If you feel like you may have an issue with benzodiazepine abuse, The Guest House is here to help. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 for more information on the various treatment options we have to offer.