Despite the decrease in the prescription of this drug, over 30% of opioid-related overdose is due to benzodiazepine misuse and addiction. This drug is commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia because of its sedative effect.
Once a person orally takes it, this drug dissolves in the blood and works on the brain to calm movements and thinking. Consequently, with the rising incidence of Benzodiazepine addiction, this article aims to give light to guide readers and patients on what to do.
How Bad Is Benzodiazepine Addiction in the United States?
Here are some statistical data showing the incidence of abusing this drug among the streets and residences in the U.S.
- 115 people die due to overdose with this drug
- From 8.1 million, the number of people using this drug rose to 13.5 million, which is around a 67% increment from 1996 to 2013
- Combining both opioids and benzodiazepines can lead to death due to lung and heart failure
- Consumption of lorazepam increased from 1.1 kg to 3.6 kg for 100,000 people
- 23% of those people dying from opioid abuse also have traces of abusing benzodiazepines
- Addiction to this substance can lead to brain and lung failure, comatose, and death
Ideal Duration for Taking Benzodiazepines
A patient prescribed this medication will have an ideal treatment duration of three to four weeks. If any person uses this drug more than its prescribed duration, he will likely experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping from ingesting it.
So far, the safest duration of medicating with this drug is between one to two weeks. Within this period, the person will not develop any dependence on the drug. Furthermore, this prescribed medicine works best with behavioral therapies since any patient cannot solely depend on this substance to get well.
When Is Benzodiazepine Given To Patients?
This medicine has a tranquilizing effect on patients, so it soothes and relaxes their mind and senses. With the associated risks of using this medicine, the patient must strictly abide by his prescription bottle.
Specifically, this drug is given to people with the following conditions:
- Alleviating alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Taken before a patient undergoes surgery
Specific Brands of Benzodiazepines in the Market
There are around 2,000 various types of benzodiazepines manufactured in the industry, yet only 15 are approved by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA). Below are the three classifications of this substance according to its intensity of the effect.
- Very short impact: Halcion (triazolam) and Versed (Midazolam)
- Short impact: Xanax (Alprazolam) and Ativan (Lorazepam)
- Long-acting: Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) and Valium (Diazepam)
Here are other brand names of this drug in the market:
To avoid dependence and addiction, we highly recommend that you only use this medicine under a doctor’s prescription. If a person has benzodiazepine addiction, he should consult with an addiction specialist to have an early intervention.
What Causes A Person To Abuse Benzodiazepines?
Similar to other substances, a few variables are influencing a person to abuse and misuse this drug which includes the following:
- Availability of this drug in the streets and pharmacies
- Used to impair women which leads to rape and sexual harassment
- Peer pressure
- Low economic status
- Lost of job or depression
These are the common culprits why a person is moved to abuse this drug, yet no matter the reason, it is best to seek external help from families and medical personnel.
Symptoms for Benzodiazepines Addiction
An individual misusing this drug will be having a difficult time determining if he is already dependent or addicted to the substance. With that, one can seek external help from their loved ones or from medical personnel in knowing one’s condition.
Nevertheless, here are some of the common signs when an individual has an addiction to benzos.
- Bleary eyesight
- Muscle weakness
- Confusion or lightheadedness
- Inability to speak well
- Difficulty breathing
- Lack of motor coordination
Whereas, here are the serious adverse consequences of abusing this substance.
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sudden loss of weight
- Frequent headaches
- Aggravated anxiety issues
Once a person sees an early sign of addiction, it is strongly recommended that an early intervention must be given.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction
When an individual takes this drug for more than four weeks, he will surely experience withdrawal symptoms upon stopping. The intensity of these withdrawal effects is greatly proportional to how long one is abusing it.
Here are the obvious adverse effects when a person stops using this substance:
- Uncontrolled sweating
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Highly irritable or frequent mood swings
- Stomach pains
- Loss of appetite
Benzodiazepine Addiction Medication Processes
Any substance addiction has its respective medical treatment to cure the biological aspect of this condition. Here are some of the common medications given to patients.
- Inducing vomiting or gastric lavage
- Ingesting activated charcoal to absorb those toxins associated with abusing this substance. The usual side effects of this method are nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
- Letting the patient intake Flumazenil (Romazicon) which can counter the effects of benzodiazepines.
Testing for Benzodiazepine Addiction
There are various means of testing the abuse of this substance among patients, and it must be conducted by a licensed doctor. Oftentimes, some patients and their families are quite hesitant to let their loved ones undergo evaluation regarding their substance addiction.
Here are some monitoring and evaluation measures for abusing benzos:
- Measurement of blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and pulse rate.
- Urine test for determining any residues of benzodiazepines
- Behavioral evaluation
When To Seek Treatment?
Once a person or their loved ones saw three to four signs of addiction, it is best to consult with your local addiction specialist or doctor. Early intervention with benzodiazepine addiction is great because the adverse effects can be treated as early as possible.
Likewise, you need to consider enrolling in a formal rehab treatment program to achieve sobriety from drug abuse. If you need further advice on this matter, feel free to reach out to any medical personnel specialized in treating addiction.