Benzodiazepines are a group of sedatives used to treat anxiety disorders. They are classified as Schedule IV drugs in the Controlled Substances Act because of their addictive nature. Sadly, benzo addiction is more common than people realize. Most attention goes towards opioids but benzos are also a concern.
Let’s look at some statistics. The number of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription in the U.S. has increased by 67% in 17 years. As prescriptions increase, so do overdoses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths involving benzos rose from 1,135 in 1999 to over 11,537 in 2017. It's clear that we have a quiet epidemic on our hands.
Here are three shocking facts about benzo addiction that you should know. Identifying and treating benzo addiction is crucial to preventing another widespread epidemic.
Becoming addicted is easy.
Just because benzodiazepines are legally prescribed doesn't make them safe. Benzos are addictive, especially when used longer term. When you take a benzodiazepine, dopamine floods the brain. This wave of pleasure feels incredible, and understandably, makes some people crave the feeling. It’s estimated that 44% of users eventually become dependent on benzos.
Quitting is very difficult.
Stopping a benzo addiction is not easy. Withdrawal symptoms typically appear 6-8 hours from the last dose and include anxiety, insomnia, nausea and sweating. It’s never advised to quit on your own, as withdrawal can lead to life-threatening seizures or psychosis. Benzo detox is best done in a safe and supportive drug rehab in Agoura Hills. A detox program will help you wean off the medication and manage your withdrawal symptoms.
Long term effects are an issue.
Not only can benzodiazepine use increase the risk for addiction, but there are also long-term health problems to be aware of. For example, people who stay on benzos for a long time have a higher chance of developing cognitive impairment. According to one study, the risk for developing a neurodegenerative disease is 84% higher for those who take benzos long term. Benzos also have the greatest number of early deaths among all prescription medications tested, according to one study.
Benzodiazepines do have their benefits in the medical field. However, misusing or abusing these medications puts you at risk for addiction and overdose, especially when you combine them with other opioid medications. If you or someone you love is struggling with benzo addiction, contact Awakenings Treatment Center for personalized treatment solutions.