Understanding Why Benzodiazepine Addiction is So Serious

Drug addiction has historically been one of the harder types of addiction to break and permanently recover from. Both smoking and alcohol present their challenges. However, because most drugs directly impact the brain and its chemical functions, detaching from a related addiction is exponentially harder. Ironically, however, drugs are used on a regular basis, both for physical medicine and mental health treatment. And, similar to painkillers, certain mental health pharmaceuticals produce a high risk for dangerous addiction concerns. Benzodiazepines are one of those drugs.

What Exactly is Involved with Benzodiazepine?

A benzodiazepine prescription is typically provided by a psychiatrist for depression treatment. Like many controlled pharmaceuticals for mental health, the amount taken is very specific and is built up over time. The most physical result a patient experiences involves a sense of calming and being tired. The drug is particularly effective on patients who have anxiety, epilepsy and seizures. However, when benzodiazepine is taken in large amounts, it has a different effect; the drug produces a high or euphoric feeling. That tends to be an attractant for abuse. Once engaged repeatedly, patients are at risk of a very strong addiction that can be hard to break and recover from.

Benzodiazepines and addiction can be found in well over 50 percent of long-term treatment cases, which makes it an extremely problematic medicine to prescribe. However, even knowing this, benzo prescriptions are incredibly common, and at least 5 percent of U.S. adults have an ongoing problem with benzo addiction.

What are the Common Marketing Names?

Benzos are not marketed or labeled with their technical names. Instead, they come in a number of more recognizable names regularly seen on TV, in magazines and Internet ads. These names include Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Halcion and similar. However, there are nuances from one product to the other. They are also prescribed for different conditions. For example, where Xanax and Klonopin share insomnia treatment, Xanax and Valium are paired for anxiety. Ativan is a key product used for high energy conditions of spasms, panic attacks and other addiction withdrawals. A few aren’t even allowed in the U.S. at all, like Rohypnol.

Why Benzodiazepines Have Such an Impact

As noted earlier, benzos have a direct chemical impact on the brain when used. They also cause a change to how brain cell receptors work. Under limited use, the benzo effect dampens the receptors. Under larger use, the benzo impact produces euphoria. It’s also been a driver that has caused patients to seek similar substitutes in heroin as the addiction becomes stronger.

Even with closely monitored treatment, when used for more than three or four weeks, benzos have a high frequency of triggering withdrawals, resulting in a need for a waning process versus a quick cessation approach. Not providing a clean ramp-down has been known to drive patients into addiction to avoid the related withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, there are specialized detox programs available for various drug addictions, including opioids, stimulants, and sedatives, each tailored to address the specific needs and challenges associated with different substances of abuse. For example, morphine detox may involve a gradual tapering off of the drug under medical supervision to minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These comprehensive programs typically incorporate a combination of medical detoxification, therapy, and support services to ensure individuals receive personalized care and support throughout their recovery journey.

A doctor-guided detox including rehabilitation and aftercare are highly advised. It’s with a closely guided care program that patients both avoid addiction and receive the needed help to wind down effectively from an addiction as well.