Benzodiazepines are a category of drugs including diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), both of which are very well-known. Benzodiazepines have been prescribed to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, panic attacks, insomnia, and other conditions. While helpful, these drugs can be incredibly addictive. Benzodiazepines are not typically prescribed for long-term use because of this reason, but many people have used these drugs for longer than intended to continue feeling less harsh effects of their condition.
As an individual begins taking what are otherwise known as tranquilizers, their muscles tend to relax and their anxiety levels tend to lower. The person taking these drugs may feel as though the drugs greatly reduce their pain or anxiety, and may begin to abuse them over time, thus leading them to physical and psychological dependency.
There are certain forms of benzodiazepines that are intended to last either a short or longer dosage period. Ensure that the person taking them knows the prescribed time length and amount to be taken to avoid overdose or abuse of the drug.
There have been over 2,000 version of benzodiazepines created, but only 15 of those are FDA-approved. Individuals who pair this drug with alcohol or other medications are at serious risk – the effects can be extremely damaging, even lethal. When paired with alcohol, the person may risk shutting down their nervous system, as both alcohol and benzodiazepines are depressants.
Signs that an individual is abusing benzodiazepines:
- An overall change in the person’s appearance or behavior
- Changes in relationship dynamic or work performance
If someone is concerned that a loved one is addicted to benzodiazepines, they should consult a doctor immediately. If there are concerns that the individual needs immediate medical attention, that person should be taken to the hospital emergency room as soon as possible. While benzodiazepines can be extremely addictive, there are precautions that can be taken to ensure the individual does not become addicted.
- Have a loved one monitor the use of the drugs
- Use the drugs directly as intended and for the time length prescribed
- Consult a doctor for check-ups and note any preliminary signs of addiction
- Seek treatment immediately to work with a licensed professional on a recovery plan
By doing research and recognizing the signs, people can ensure that they or their loved one stays on a path to recovery and does not put themselves in harm’s way.
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