What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzos are intensely habit-forming

Benzodiazepines aka benzos are an assortment of prescription drugs typically prescribed for anxiety and or panic disorder. In some cases, they can also be used to treat muscle spasms or even seizure disorders. While these medications are proven safe when used as directed, benzos can also be highly addictive when used contrary to medical indications or in excess of prescribed dosages. Benzos are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CNS depressants reduce or slow down brain activity. This brain-slowing effect makes them extremely effective for treating anxiety or panic. On the flip side, this brain-slowing effect can also cause euphoria which leads to abuse for some.

Medication misuse or abuse includes:

Taking medication more frequently than prescribed

Taking larger doses than prescribed

Taking medication that is not prescribed to you

Taking medication via a route other than the route prescribed 

Benzodiazepine Abuse in the U.S.

The most recent data from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that approximately 30.5 million adults in the U.S. use benzos. Approximately 2% of those who have used the drug admit to misusing it, and about 0.2% meet the standards for benzodiazepine use disorder (BUD). While these percentages may seem low, it is important to note that medication abuse tends to be drastically underreported.

The Different Types of Benzos:

Byfavo (generic name: remimazolam)

Doral (generic name: quazepam)

Halcion (generic name: triazolam)

Klonopin (generic name: clonazepam)

Librium (generic name: chlordiazepoxide)

Niravam (generic name: alprazolam)

Prosom (generic name: estazolam)

Restoril (generic name: temazepam)

Seizalam (generic name: midazolam)

Serax (generic name: oxazepam)

Tranxexe SD and Tranxene T-Tab (generic name: clorazepate)

Valium (generic name: diazepam)

Xanax (generic name: alprazolam)

Effects Of Benzo Addiction

Benzos produce reactions in the body similar to alcohol. It binds to brain receptors known as GABA receptors.. The job of the neurotransmitter GABA is essentially to slow things down within the brain. It is responsible for reducing anxiety and fear. Benzo’s mimic the effect of GABA. As mentioned previously, the brain is always seeking its equilibrium so when the benzos enter the system mimicking GABA, the brain begins to produce less GABA. This allows for better functioning while benzos are in the individual’s system, but makes functioning without the benzos progressively harder. Individuals may begin to notice withdrawal symptoms while not taking benzos such as increased anxiety, panic, tremors, jitteriness and agitation just to name a few. This typically leads to an increased benzo intake whether it is in dosage or frequency and thus the cycle of addiction and dependency begins.

What Is the Process for Benzo Detox?

First and foremost, it is pertinent to note that Benzo detox can be extremely uncomfortable and extremely dangerous in many cases. There is an increased seizure risk which can lead to life-threatening complications. It is always advisable to seek medical help to properly detox from Benzos. In the majority of cases, a taper is recommended in which your benzo dosage is gradually decreased over a number of days, and supplemental medications are used to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Here at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center, we offer various levels of care to treat benzo addiction, substance use disorder, addiction, and co-occurring conditions such as depression and anxiety. For more information about our services please call us directly at 732-847-4555. We are available 24/7 to help. All calls are no obligation and are strictly confidential.