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Benzodiazepine Addiction Affects Millions Of Families
Benzodiazepines, also known as Benzos, are the most commonly prescribed medications in Europe, Canada and the United States. Despite their abundance, they are highly addictive. Benzodiazepine addiction affects millions of individuals and their families.
Benzodiazepine overdoses are very common, coming in second to the number of Opioid overdoses. Benzos were to blame in 30% of prescription drug overdoses in 2013, though 75% of Benzo-related deaths also involved Opioids.
Examples of Benzodiazepines:
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Benzodiazepine Side Effects And Symptoms
Benzodiazepines are classified as a depressant which means it slows down the central nervous system. The effects caused by benzos include:
- Increased anxiety
- Muscle weakness
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Dry mouth
- Blurry vision
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
When a person is abusing Benzodiazepines, their relationships, work performance, and other obligations may be impacted. Abrupt changes in mood can also be a warning sign for an Benzo addiction. Other signs of an addiction to this substance are:
Risk Factors For Benzodiazepine Addiction
Most who become addicted to Benzodiazepines first start taking the drugs as prescribed by their doctor. Benzos, like Valium and Xanax, are prescribed to people suffering with mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. In fact, 56% of prescriptions of Benzos are written to help treat anxiety disorders. This is unfortunate, as individuals with mental health conditions are considerably more likely to experience substance use disorders. This creates what behavioral health professionals refer to as co-occurring disorders.
In addition to co-occuring disorders, there are a number of factors that influence whether or not someone using benzos will become addicted. Although fewer studies have been conducted on Benzodiazepine addiction compared to alcohol and other drugs, it is believed that the following factors play a role.
- Genetic predisposition to addiction
- Addictive personality
- Social environment
- Personal attitudes towards drug use
- A history of drug and alcohol use
- Ease of obtaining Benzos
- Support of friends and family
- Presence of co-occurring disorders
Groups Who Benzodiazepine Addiction Affects
Benzodiazepine addiction can impact anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. These drugs are commonly used and abused by anyone looking to achieve relief from an anxiety disorder.
Teenager use of Benzos is increasing. These drugs are often available at a low cost and are easily available on the street or from classmates who have a prescription. Xanax use is becoming nearly as popular among teens as marijuana and alcohol. Some teens are influenced to abuse Benzos by musicians who popularized use of the substance , while others are exposed through friends at parties.
Women are much more likely to use Benzos than men. Women between the ages of 18 and 80 are twice as likely to be prescribed a Benzodiazepine as men of the same age. At least one third of women who are prescribed Benzos receive a long-term prescription which are more likely to lead to an addiction.
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Older people are not immune to the addictive power of benzos. Prescriptions for adults aged between 44 to 65 are increasing. Some researchers believe this increase is due to the growing numbers of older Americans battling insomnia. Older adults are more likely to be prescribed long-lasting Benzos, increasing their risk of both dependency and Alzheimer’s disease.
Other Groups Benzodiazepine Addiction Affects
- College students
- LGBTQ individuals
- Medical professionals
Seeking Recovery From Benzo Use?
The most effective way to treat Benzodiazepine addiction is by attending rehab. Upon entering rehab, patients are assessed for co-occurring disorders to treat the addiction from the inside out. Patients connect with caring staff members who have knowledge of treatment methods. Gentle, holistic-based therapies offered in rehab facilities include:
- Faith-based healing
- 12-Step peer groups
- Fitness therapy
- Nutrition counseling
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Family therapy
- Cutting-edge medicines for detox
- Animal therapy (e.g. equine therapy)
If you or a loved one struggles with toxic Benzodiazepine addiction, don’t hesitate to contact a treatment provider today.
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