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Benzodiazepines Addiction 101

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.

  • Benzodiazepines Addiction115 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

Benzo AddictionA 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:

  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Alleviating alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • 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:

  • Niravam
  • Klonopin
  • Tranxene
  • Restoril

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
  • Self-medication
  • Used to impair women which leads to rape and sexual harassment
  • Hereditary
  • 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
  • Lethargy
  • Inability to speak well
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Comatose
  • 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:

  • Palpitations
  • Uncontrolled sweating
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Muscle aches
  • Fainting
  • Hallucination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Highly irritable or frequent mood swings
  • Depression
  • Stomach pains
  • Confusion
  • 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

BenzoThere 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.

Opioid Addiction

12 Signs of Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is a common problem in the United States. Though opioids are typical prescription drugs used to treat pain, they also have high addictive potentials. Because of that, anyone who misuses the drugs can get addicted easily.

At the early stages of opioid addiction, the signs may be hard to spot. But as the addiction progresses, the signs become more obvious.

If you’re concerned that a friend or family member might be suffering from addiction to opioids, here are clear signs to watch out for.

1. Constantly looking for more opioids

Signs of Opioid AddictionIn rehab terms, this is known as drug-seeking behavior. Here, users become so caught up with getting more opioids. Eventually, it becomes a habit and a normal part of their daily routines.

Soon enough, their cravings for opioids become so intense that most of their time will be spent on taking the drugs. If they don’t seek help, their lives would revolve around the drugs entirely.

2. Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy

Another clear sign of addiction is when users no longer enjoy their hobbies and recreation. Drug-seeking behavior takes over, so they derive less happiness and satisfaction from their passions.

Eventually, they would not want to do the activities they used to love doing so much. The euphoric highs they get from opioids will become their only passion and obsession.

3. Abandoning responsibilities at home and at work

In the early stages of opioid addiction, users may still do their jobs properly and have a pretty normal home life. Later on, though, they will begin to neglect those responsibilities. They would instead pour more time and effort into getting that drug fix.

Pretty soon, they could end up being fired from their jobs and distancing themselves from their families.

4. Lying about their prescriptions

Opioid Addiction FAQsThere are many ways that users show this kind of behavior. For example, they may keep hidden supplies of opioids so they can take more. Or they could keep taking the drugs even after their prescriptions have ended. In both cases, they would often be dishonest to anyone who asks how their medications are going.

Some users may intentionally “lose” their prescriptions so they can get new ones. That way, they can get more opioids legally. Some would even “borrow” other people’s medications.

5. Going to different doctors to get extra prescriptions

This practice is also known as “doctor shopping.” To get more opioids, some users would go to more than one doctor to get lots of prescriptions. That way, they can have as many doses of the drugs as they want.

Another technique is when users present to the hospital with fake symptoms. Here, their goal is the same: to get extra prescriptions.

6. Hanging out more with a different sets of people

By itself, this behavior is not a problem at all. But in the context of opioid addiction, it’s common for users to hang out more with friends who are also drug users.

In turn, they would distance themselves from their usual communities. Eventually, their old friends would notice this change as well.

7. Frequent mood swings

Mood SwingsOpioid addiction also causes changes in users’ moods. First, they’re happy, then next thing you know, they suddenly become aggressive. Then, they’re back to normal again.

Unless they are diagnosed with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses that cause frequent mood swings, the drugs are causing it. Especially if the mood swings happen regularly.

These random changes in mood also occur for no apparent reason. Thus, loved ones may find it really hard to handle this kind of behavior.

8. Not being able to function normally without opioids

At some point during the progress of addiction, users would absolutely need to take opioids to go on with daily life. If not, they would feel like something important is missing from their bodies.

If they try not to take opioids for one day, withdrawal symptoms take hold. These range from mildly unpleasant to severely unbearable, depending on the level of addiction. These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Tremors

What’s worse is these symptoms don’t go away easily. On average, they last for three to five days, but sometimes they can last for as long as ten days.

9. Neglecting personal hygiene

Personal HygieneUsers addicted to opioids also forget to take care of themselves. As most of their time and energy is spent on taking the drugs, even keeping themselves clean is not appealing anymore.

They get their main sense of satisfaction from the highs produced by taking opioids. With that, even basic habits like personal grooming become unimportant to them.

10. Feeling tired and sad nearly all the time

Opioid addiction sucks the life out of users. Thus, most of the time, they have negative emotions running through them. They would always feel tired, not wanting to do anything productive. They would also feel sad often, especially whenever they realize how much their lives have spiraled out of control.

11. Getting involved in crime

Sometimes, users would resort to criminal acts to get their daily fill of opioids. They may steal the drugs directly from pharmacies or steal money from others to buy more drugs.

Their new groups of friends could also be members of gangs or crime syndicates. With that, they would tend to join in those illegal activities as well.

12. Poor decision-making skills

Opioid addiction affects the brain greatly. Users’ brains get so used to the feelings of euphoria that even higher-order thinking skills become severely affected.

Soon enough, users could not make sound decisions. And the decisions they do make may put themselves and the people around them in danger.

Opioid addiction is a huge problem for anyone experiencing it. But there is hope for them. If you have a friend or loved one suffering from this addiction, have them consult a recovery professional. That’s the best option to get their lives back together.

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