Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan are minor tranquilizers, used for sedation purposes to ease anxiety, treat seizures and panic attacks. In addition to being practical for controlling seizures and managing anxiety, benzodiazepines are also used during medical detoxification for alcoholism and opiate addiction. Because of their substantial sedative qualities, some benzodiazepines are often useful in helping people detoxing from opiates and alcohol to fall asleep throughout the process. Although in many cases benzodiazepines do not allow someone detoxing from opiates or alcohol to sleep, they often do assist with taking the edge off to some degree. Other legitimate uses for benzodiazepines are for just before minor medical or dental procedures that may provoke a high degree of anxiety in the patient.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, most of the common benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, are Schedule IV drugs, indicating an unlikelihood for abuse. These drugs are very commonly prescribed for complaints of anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, and loss (of a loved one). Most benzodiazepines are not indicated for long-term use, and never intended to be consumed in amounts exceeding the prescribed dosage. Not only do these drugs have addictive qualities as a result of the euphoria they provide, but this class of drugs also causes physical dependence and should never be stopped or altered without a physician's consultation and supervision. Benzodiazepines act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants with similar effects to drugs like alcohol and opiates (prescription painkillers and heroin). People under the influence of benzodiazepines will feel euphorically relaxed, eyes will appear droopy and there will be signs of involuntary eye movement, and speech will be slurred. As the user's heart rate slows, so do his/her actions, reactions, and thought processes. People under the influence may experience extreme personality shifts, blackouts, memory loss, falling asleep in the middle of speaking or any other activity (like cooking, smoking, or driving), lack of coordination and general confusion. Often, abusers and addicts mix benzodiazepines with other CNS depressants like alcohol or opiates to enhance their sense of euphoria.
Despite their seemingly simple Scheduling by the DEA, benzodiazepines can be very dangerous when abused. Although the medical field, in general, doesn't seem to be too concerned with prescribing benzodiazepines too freely, the fact is that a good enough story and knowing enough about a particular ailment will get an addict a prescription for whatever they want. Whether it's lying to doctors, doctor shopping, or ordering drugs from internet pharmacies who sell prescription strength and quality drugs online without prescriptions or identification verification, it has become too easy to get dangerous prescription drugs. Today, benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Xanax, Ativan, and Valium are becoming more widely available, more commonly abused, and teens are finding easy access from medicine cabinets of unsuspecting patients. Benzodiazepine addiction and abuse are on a steep incline as a result of the growing number of online pharmacies and the widening availability of legitimate prescriptions through medical doctor visits. In addition to the dangers inherent with abusing benzodiazepines, when they are stopped or cut down after a period of sustained use, withdrawal symptoms can be perilous and sometimes fatal without the consultation and supervision of a medical professional. Some signs of benzodiazepine withdrawal can include changes in mood, depression, tremors, nausea, loss of appetite, psychosis, hallucinations, seizures, delusions, rapid heart rates, insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks, many of which can be life-threatening without medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms may occur with anyone who has taken benzodiazepines for any length of time, as no benzodiazepine is intended to be taken for prolonged periods of time. Withdrawal requires a medically supervised regimen of slow weaning and should not be attempted without medical consultation. Depending on age, general health of the addict, and the length and severity of the addiction, the benzodiazepine detoxification process is usually a period of 3-10 days.
After the detoxification process, an addiction rehabilitation program is recommended to be at least a 30-day residential program to give the addict time to begin to adjust to life without addiction. Addiction effects and changes the brain chemistry in ways that often take periods of several years to repair. 30 days is a very short period considering the damage the drugs cause to the brain. While attending a treatment program for benzodiazepine addiction, the goal is to reprogram the way the addict thinks and perceives his/her surroundings. Depending on the length and severity of the addiction, the rehabilitation process can take several months to years before a sense of sober normalcy can be attained.
When a benzodiazepine addict is genuinely ready to be a slave to his/her addiction no longer and work for sobriety, residential treatment is one of the most powerful resources available. If taken seriously and used correctly, the right treatment type and modality for any addict can be the single most powerful influence in solidifying the path to recovery.
In addiction treatment, addicts meet others just like them, who share not only an addiction to drugs like Klonopin, sleep aids, Valium, Xanax, and Ativan, but also share the root problems that contributed the desire to escape reality in the first place. Some of the friendships formed in residential addiction treatment can last a lifetime and serve as very powerful support mechanisms on the road to recovery from addiction.
Benzodiazepines are one of the more difficult drugs from which to remain sober because they are so widely available and in many social circles. Recovery from any addiction always means that any addict only needs to change one thing: everything - people, places, things, routines, and jobs. Whether realized or not, when an addict is in his/her addiction, everything they do on any regular basis, people they are around, even their diet can all weigh massively on an addiction just from association. When in recovery from drugs as easily obtained as benzodiazepines and sleep aids, it is always recommended for the addict to change as much as humanly possible about their lives to eliminate associations that may trigger a relapse. Benzodiazepine addiction, like any addiction, can be managed and sobriety can be achieved. Millions of addicts can gain one more day of abstinence from addiction every day with the help of addiction treatment and addiction recovery aids like sober living facilities, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, life coaches, and the many recovering addicts providing help to those still struggling with their own addictions.
With the right help from an addiction treatment center and a strong support system to help on the road to recovery from benzodiazepine addiction, addicts learn that life can be just as exhilarating without the unmanageability of addiction.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a benzodiazepine addiction or an addiction to sleep aids, please call us at 1-800-610-4673, and we will gladly help you to find the best addiction treatment program for yourself or a loved one. We are here to help.