The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that, between 1996 and 2013, benzo prescriptions increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. That same report states that, during 2015, twenty-three percent of individuals who overdosed on opioids also had benzodiazepines in their system.
The dangers of benzo and opioid addiction are rampant and well known in the opioid-using community. Loved ones, family members, and friends can be susceptible to addiction because of its relaxing and seemingly mild qualities of acting as a depressant on the brain’s central nervous system. Addiction can lead family members and friends of those addicted to Renaissance Recovery, a benzo addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA.
Educate yourself on what benzos are, the signs of addiction, what the benzo addiction treatment program at Renaissance Recovery can do for you, and how our treatment facility can help you fight addiction today.
What Are Benzos?
Benzo is another way of saying benzodiazepines, which are tranquilizers. The effect of benzos is to slow down an individual’s central nervous system (CNS), so they feel relief from anxiety, relaxation, and sedation. Xanax is usually prescribed to people with mental health issues like anxiety and panic disorders. Dangerous effects can occur when misusing benzos as they will slow down or stop the CNS.
The most commonly prescribed benzos are Valium and Xanax. Most often, medical professionals prescribe them to treat the following:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- General anxiety and social anxiety disorders
- Panic disorders
Benzos are also common for those who need a muscle relaxant or for help sleeping.
Tolerance vs. Benzodiazepine Dependence
Tolerance builds over time as a reaction to repeated benzo use. After extended use of the drug, a person’s system becomes highly adjusted to it. As time progresses, he or she will need increasingly higher doses of benzodiazepine to achieve the desired outcome or high.
Attempts to scale up from this tolerance end up in the consistently increased amounts of drug use, which quickly sets in symptoms of physical dependence. As dependence develops, the user may experience the unpleasant feeling that they cannot function without the drug, and is likely to face an unpleasant withdrawal when they attempt to come off the drugs.
The cycle of increasing frequency, higher-dosage drug use to surpass tolerance and curb themselves off withdrawal often leads to the compulsive behaviors of benzodiazepine addiction.
Tolerance occurs after the body builds a strong resistance against benzodiazepine’s effects. Following long-term use of the drug, a person’s system becomes adjusted to it. Frighteningly, he or she or they will require increasingly higher doses of benzodiazepine to achieve the desired effects. The normal usage of a benzodiazepine, such as Xanax, can lead to addiction over time. Unfortunately, this makes the user incapable of functioning a normal, functioning life without the help of the benzos.
Types of Benzos
Any benzodiazepine can cause the effects of calming the nervous system but eventually spiraling into addiction. Here are some drugs in this classification that are of particular concern. Those drugs include:
- Xanax (alprazolam): This drug xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax comes in many different strengths. One formulation is of deep concern, as it’s made to release benzodiazepine effects over an extended period of time. Users who crush the xanax pills can get all of the CNS calming effects at once. This would give the users the robust and full force effects of Xanax without needing to wait for it set in. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has noted that Xanax works immediately, delivering immense effects almost all at once. Therefore, a Xanax more dangerous than other benzo type on the market.
- Klonopin (clonazepam): Seizure disorders and panic disorders are frequently treated with the drug Klonopin. Pills come in 1 mg or 2 mg strength sizes. Some pills come in dissolve or form, and disassemble when you taste them. EMCDDA notes that Klonopins are intermediate-acting benzo.
- Valium (diazepam): Anxiety disorder, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms and their effects can all be mitigated with Valium. Valium is one of the most dated benzos on the market today. This drug, which has many chemical makeups. Valium comes in a number of different strengths. The strengths vary by including types of Valium that release their power over an extended period of time. There is good news, as EMCDDA says Valium takes a long time to sink in. This version of benzo doesn’t provide an immediate high. It tends to come on slower, and it’s a little less impactful, which helps with avoiding addiction.
- Ativan (lorazepam): This drug is designed to aid people who suffer from various panic disorders. Ativan comes in pill form however, it can also be served as a liquid. The liquid can be inserted into veins with a needle. Ativan has a short-to-intermediate onset, which means it could give users a big and rewarding drug rush to some users.
Who Abuses Benzos?
While benzodiazepines were originally created to aid people with real mental health or physical health concerns, people who use these drugs aren’t using them for fun. Instead, they’re driven to use these drugs because of the lack of or their own chemical changes deep inside the brain.
People who deal with this problem tend to fall into one of two groups: those who have prescriptions and those who don’t have prescriptions.
According to an analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, addiction is rarely an effect when users properly use these drugs. When people have prescriptions for the benzos and they are using it according to the doctors’ orders, they typically don’t exit from the experience with a benzo addiction.
However, there are people who don’t follow doctors’ orders. They might take doses too close together, or they might take doses that are much too large. They might take pills when they’re no longer needed, or they might hoard pills in order to take them on a “bad day.” This may be a small group of users, researchers say, but the impact of their habits can be huge.
The other users are recreational users. They don’t have prescriptions from doctors or specific orders to follow. They get the drugs when and where they can, and they abuse the drugs for euphoric or relaxation purposes. These users might also take in benzodiazepines in order to boost or soften the drug-using experience.
Analysis of statistics from New York from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that non-medical benzo users are between ages 18-25. That group of people has the highest level of recreational use, and that level seems to go up each and every year.
These young adults might get benzos through theft, or they might buy them directly from dealers. Either is a viable method.
Signs of Benzo Addiction
Throughout the United States, benzos are the most commonly prescribed medication. Abuse of these medications occurs when someone takes them without a prescription or not as directed. The signs of benzo addiction include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Breathing difficulties
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
The Risks of Benzo Addiction
Prescribing benzodiazepines is common, and when used as prescribed, beneficial for specific medical conditions. However, if prescription drug misuse occurs, there are risks. Symptoms of benzo abuse include:
- Lack of motivation
- Memory disturbances
- Sleeping difficulties
- Personality changes
When individuals use benzos in combination with alcohol or other drugs, the risk factors amplify. That amplification could lead to breathing difficulties, overdose, and even death.
What Is an Excellent Benzo Addiction Treatment Center in Southern California?
Renaissance Recovery is a benzo addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA, where individuals turn when they’re suffering from benzodiazepine addiction. Approximately one-third of those taking benzos for at least six months or longer experience health issues when attempting to quit. When they attend a benzo addiction treatment program in Southern California, the first step is undergoing medical detox. Medical benzo detox lessens uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when ceasing benzo use. Once that’s complete, patients can move on to addiction treatment programs.
The Benefits of Benzo Addiction Treatment
Benzo addiction treatment involves professional counseling and therapy for mental and physical health. Professionals use a variety of therapeutic approaches because there’s no one single treatment program that works for everyone. Addiction treatments include components such as detoxing and stabilization, rehabilitation, and aftercare. The benefits of these addiction treatments include:
- Withdrawal symptom management eases the discomfort and pains of withdrawal.
- The management of dangerous side effects to prevent severe complications.
- There is a monitored reduction of use to ensure safety.
- Partial hospitalization and outpatient monitoring options give the right level of care for your situation.
- The development of coping strategies to reduce the chances of relapse.
Convincing a Loved One to Attend Rehab
Addictions work at the subconscious level. People with an obsession with benzos aren’t making the choice to seek out and abuse these drugs. Their damaged brain cells prompt them to get and take more benzos. But the conscious mind is still at work in people like this. By reaching out to that conscious mind, families may be able to influence deep change.
An intervention helps families to outline the symptoms of benzo addiction they’ve seen in the person they love. Interventions also let these families enumerate the benefits of drug rehab. At the end of a conversation like this, a person with an addiction won’t be able to deny the problem or its solution. A person with an addiction will know just what must be done in order to make the situation better.
Interventions for benzos typically follow this format:
- The person with the addiction is invited to a meeting with family members and friends.
- Every person in the meeting brings a prepared speech that discusses changes seen, memories of the drug-free past, and hopes for the future.
- Everyone reads their letters while the person with the addiction listens.
- As soon as the person with the addiction agrees to get treatment, the meeting ends.
An interventionist is a mental health professional that can assist with these conversations. The interventionist may help the family to draw up letters, and the person might stay involved during the conversation. When the talk is over, that interventionist may also drive or transport the addicted person to a treatment facility.
Are Benzodiazepine Rehabs Confidential?
State laws require certain types of health information to be restricted to guarantee the privacy of the client. In accordance with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are fines and penalties for offenses made against these laws.3 Prior to enrolling yourself in a benzodiazepine treatment facility, be sure that the facility guarantees the protection of your rights.
Paying for Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment
Rehab prices can vary considerably, from free to tens of thousands of dollars. Some free options include grants and scholarships that can cover treatment costs for people who can’t afford otherwise afford rehab. The most expensive options include luxury and executive treatment centers, since they include upscale amenities and are often located in very desirable places, such as by the beach. Inpatient programs tend to be more costly than outpatient since you have to pay for room and board.
Treatment costs may be paid in a number of ways, including by:
- Credit cards.
- Payment plans.
- Coverage provided by insurance policies.
What Happens After Rehab?
Individualized aftercare planning and active participation with the aftercare plan will go a long way to further the recovery momentum initiated during rehabilitation. Many find enrolling in an outpatient treatment program as a “step-down” treatment is an excellent way to continue recovery work.
Together with therapy, you may want to enroll in an addiction support team. In a support group, you will connect with others in recovery and continue with the peer-based support meetings given along with therapy in many benzodiazepine rehab centers.
Whether aftercare entails residence in a sober living environment, daily meeting attendance, or regularly scheduled therapy appointments, the purpose is to make sure you put to use all the skills you learned in the center in your day-to-day routines in order to avoid relapse.
Contact Renaissance Recovery’s Benzo Addiction Treatment Center in Southern California
Are you or someone you know experiencing benzo addiction? Do you or a family member have questions about a benzo addiction treatment center in Southern California? Navigating these challenges can be overwhelming, and no one has to go through that alone. Our team is here to lend a helping hand.
Contact Renaissance Recovery by calling 866.268.1206 or completing our confidential online form to learn more about benzo addiction treatment programs and how rehab programs can help.