Over the past several years, a nationwide opioid epidemic has been claiming thousands of lives on an annual basis. However, while opioid addiction has undeniably taken the spotlight, there is another potent, addictive, and dangerous drug that is being widely abused and causing thousands of overdose-related deaths – benzodiazepines. It is estimated that roughly 30 percent of all recent heroin overdose deaths also involved benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines – more commonly referred to as “benzos” – are prescription tranquilizers that are most commonly used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Some name brand benzos include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Librium, and Klonopin. The most common side effects associated with benzo use (when the medications are used as prescribed by a medical professional) are: mild to moderate sedation, dizziness, a lack of coordination, weakness, and drowsiness. Individuals that abuse the drugs (take benzos other than as prescribed) might experience the following side effects: feelings of depression and general malaise, sleep disturbances, confusion and a lack of coordination, persistent headaches, irritability and aggression, impaired memory and compromised cognitive function.
Benzos are highly addictive, and they are never safe to use in any way other than when prescribed by a medical professional for an existing disorder.
Dangers of Benzodiazepine Addiction
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently reported that while the rates of benzodiazepine abuse are exceptionally high throughout the country, the number of individuals who suffer from severe benzodiazepine addiction remains somewhat low (in comparison to other prescription medications that are commonly abused). From 2015-2016, a total of 102,000 American adults participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study concluded that 12.5 percent of all adults used benzodiazepines regularly (which equates to 30.5 million individuals) and that only 2.1 percent of those individuals were suffering at the hands of a legitimate and diagnosed benzo addiction. Since this survey, the rates of benzo abuse have continued to climb countrywide. Now, benzodiazepine addiction is a major health-related concern in the US.
As mentioned previously, the escalating rates of benzodiazepine abuse coincide with the rates of an opioid-related overdose. Because benzodiazepines are tranquilizers, many individuals who have been abusing opioid narcotics like heroin and prescription painkillers will turn to drugs like Xanax and Valium to make the “high” more intense. However, mixing these two chemical substances can be extremely deadly, and often results in overdose.
Why Are Benzodiazepines So Addictive?
It is important to understand that even medications prescribed by a physician for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition can be habit-forming – and addiction can occur even when the medications are being taken as prescribed. When it comes to benzodiazepine abuse, many adults reported that they initially began taking the medication to help relieve stress that related to interpersonal problems, their career paths, or their current circumstances in some capacity. Self-medication is a huge problem when it comes to benzo abuse – if you have been suffering from untreated anxiety and have reached towards a medication you were not prescribed to combat these underlying feelings and uncomfortable emotions, we are available to help.
Agape Treatment Center and Benzo Addiction Recovery
At Agape Treatment Center we specialize in the treatment of benzodiazepine abuse and addiction. Our staff members are both highly experienced and deeply compassionate, and the clinical care we provide coupled with our luxury facility makes for a treatment experience quite unlike any other. To learn more about our comprehensive program of benzodiazepine addiction recovery, please feel free to give us a call at any time. We look forward to speaking with you soon, answering any additional questions you may have, and getting you started on your journey of drug addiction recovery today.