Prescription drug abuse has been on the rise in the United States for the past decade and the opioid epidemic shows no signs of tapering; however, benzodiazepine abuse has also increased. While not as potent as opioids, benzodiazepines are highly addictive and commonly prescribed.

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as “benzos” are prescription tranquillizers, or, central nervous system depressants. Xanax, Klonopin and Valium are a few examples. They are prescribed to treat insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, and seizure disorders. Usually intended for short-term use due to their high potency and addiction risk, physicians typically prescribe benzos for a few months. Unfortunately, dependency can easily develop within that time frame. Accurate use would involve taking these prescriptions strictly under physician supervision, adhering to prescription instructions and dosage, alerting the doctor if tolerance develops, and asking for help with weaning from these medications.

Benzodiazepine prescription bottles on a medical document

Currently, there are 15 name brands of benzos available in the United States which include:

  • Ativan
  • Librium
  • Halicon
  • ProSom
  • Restoril
  • Valium
  • Klonopin
  • Versed
  • Xanax

The Dangers of Abusing Benzodiazepines

When prescribed and taken correctly, benzos can help treat specific medical conditions; however, when taken for too long, individuals will likely start to experience adverse reactions. If a patient is prescribed Valium to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder and they do not follow the specific prescription instructions, they may start to experience even higher levels of anxiety. Adverse symptoms of benzos can be a signal that an individual has developed an unhealthy attachment to these drugs. Some adverse symptoms that may point to long-term benzo use or abuse may include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Mood swings
  • Increased anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Impaired judgment
  • Psychosis
  • Forgetfulness
  • Apathy
  • Trouble with mobility

What makes benzos so dangerous is explained by their inherent nature. Because they are considered central nervous system depressants, there is a high risk of overdose fatality. When used in excess, organs dependent on the central nervous system can fail. This includes the respiratory system. Those who abuse benzodiazepines can go into respiratory distress and stop breathing, leading to a fatal overdose.

Dangers of Detoxing from Benzos

Pills in the shape of a skull & crossbones

Usually, a drug is considered dangerous if it has the potential to be fatal or it can lead to complications during detox. Benzodiazepines are dangerous in both ways. While the substance is a factor in many overdose deaths, it is also one of the only drugs that can cause withdrawal death. Because benzos are considered central nervous system depressants, it is important to pay adhere to the physician’s instructions when weaning off these drugs. Without direct supervision and instruction by a medical professional, benzo usage is the most fatal.

If you or a loved one are considering treatment for benzodiazepine addiction, detox must be performed in a medical facility under the guidance and care of an addiction specialist. This way, withdrawal symptoms can be managed and even prevented so that the dangers of detoxing from benzos remain minimal.

Getting Benzodiazepines Treatment

Benzodiazepines are extremely potent and a threat once dependence has formed, but there is help available. Rehab Carolinas has developed a number of programs and therapy options to fit the needs and desires of all patients. Find out why Rehab Carolinas is the place so many have chosen to obtain freedom from addiction and call us today.

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