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Benzodiazepine Addiction Information
Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment at Promises
Because withdrawal symptoms can be severe, detoxification from benzodiazepines should be gradual, with the drug being tapered off at specific intervals. After being assessed by an affiliated independent medical doctor, clients will be assigned a core treatment team that includes family and individual therapists, a nurse, a psychiatrist, and a drug detox specialist.
While every client’s experience is different, all clients will receive individualized care and personalized treatment plans, a family program, multiple weekly group and individual therapy that are based on the 12 steps, and alumni services to help in continued recovery.
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Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that are prescribed medically to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, and more. Also known as “benzos” or “benzies,” these drugs are found in many forms, including:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
- Tranxene (clorazepate)
- Paxipam (halazepam)
- Centrax or Verstran (prazepam)
- Klonopin/Clonopin (clonazepam)
- Dalmane (flurazepam)
- Serax (oxazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Restoril (temazepam)
- Halcion (triazolam)
Benzodiazepines work by enhancing GABA receptors (gamma amino butyric acid), thereby depressing the central nervous system. Long-term use of benzodiazepines can be very dangerous as they can lead to adverse physical and psychological effects, including tolerance and dependence. Benzodiazepines are commonly abused and taken in combination with other substances of abuse.
Short-Term Effects of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines can result in drowsiness, dizziness, and decreased alertness and concentration. The elderly often experience lack of coordination, falls, and injuries when taking benzodiazepines. Decreased libido and sexual performance problems are a common side effect, and less common side effects include nausea, blurred vision, confusion, euphoria, nightmares, changes in appetite, and depression. When injected intravenously, hypotension and suppressed breathing may be encountered.
Long-Term Effects of Benzodiazepines
Tolerance develops quickly with repeated use of benzodiazepines, which can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms. The most frequent withdrawal symptoms are insomnia, gastric problems, tremors, agitation, muscle spasms, and fearfulness. Less common effects are irritability, sweating, depression, psychosis, suicidal behavior, seizures, and delirium tremors. Severe symptoms usually result as a result of abrupt or rapid withdrawal, so gradual reduction is recommended.
Other adverse effects of chronic benzodiazepine use can include a general deterioration in physical and mental health, including cognitive impairments, behavioral problems, anxiety and depression, loss of sex drive, agoraphobia and social phobia, an altered perception of self and environment, and an inability to experience or express feelings.
Chronic, recreational abusers may experience paradoxical effects, such as aggression, violence, impulsivity, irritability, and suicidal behavior.