Benzodiazepine abuse is increasing and can pose serious risks for users. But, what are benzos? Benzodiazepines are a prescription medication that commonly treat conditions such as anxiety disorders. Roughly 5% of Americans are prescribed benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan and nearly 10% of Americans have abused or become addicted to benzos.
Emergency rooms are seeing a significant rise in patients experiencing a benzodiazepine related overdose, leading many families of patients asking what are benzos and what are their potential risks. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms due to detoxing from benzodiazepines can be serious and, in many cases, require medical supervision.
To better understand and answer the question of what are benzos, read below for more information about benzos and their potentially harmful side effects.
What Are Benzos?
So, what are benzos? Specifically, they are a prescription medication that treat anxiety disorders, but also treat seizures, insomnia, and muscle disorders. Xanax, the most common benzodiazepine, is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States.
Benzos work by increasing the level of gamma amino butyric acid (GAMA). GAMA is a neurotransmitter inhibitor that slows down brain activity. Benzos work in treating conditions like General Anxiety Disorder by creating a calming effect through increasing GAMA levels in the brain. Benzos can also increase dopamine levels, which creates feelings of contentment and euphoria. Certain benzos are made for short term and immediate effects, like Xanax, while others are longer lasting.
Taking the prescribed dose can lead to physical addiction in as little as 30 days. So, what are benzos most common withdrawal symptoms? Besides worsening anxiety levels, benzo withdrawal can also cause:
- Shakes and tremors
- Depression and mood changes
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Muscle pain
What Are the Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction?
While the majority of people with benzos use the medication properly, they can still become physically dependent. For those that abuse the drug, it is common to also abuse other drugs, such as alcohol and opiates, which causes additional risks of overdose and respiratory failure.
One common sign of addiction is experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using them. Other signs include taking benzos with other substances and taking more than the prescribed dose. Several other common signs of benzo addiction include:
- Preoccupation with acquiring and taking your medication
- Using in risky situations, such as before or while driving
- Needing to take your prescription before work or school
- Spending excessive money
- Regularly running out before you can refill the prescription
- Needing to increase consumption to experience the same positive effects
Finding Help for Benzodiazepine Addiction
If you are looking for help, finding the best benzo addiction treatment center Houston offers is an important step towards achieving sobriety and successfully addressing a substance abuse issue. A treatment center should offer individualized care, experienced medical staff and counselors, and help with setting up aftercare.
Once you understand what are benzos and how dangerous they can be, treatment is only a phone call away. Kemah Palms is a leader in substance abuse treatment, offering a variety of treatment programs that meet your personalized needs. Call us today for help> for more information and to start your first step towards recovery.