Panic, anxiety, insomnia, seizures. The world can be a maddening and tough place to exist but this is the only place we’ve got. Unfortunately, that means people – perhaps yourself or a loved one – are out there suffering from the aforementioned conditions.
Restless nights leading to increased stress which turns to panic and anxiety.
Seizure disorders like epilepsy make life a guessing game of sorts.
This is where a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines come in and offer relief in a sea of troubles.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
In a word, benzodiazepines, or benzos as they’re known informally, are sedatives.
More specifically, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes, they “work to calm or sedate a person, by raising the level of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain”.
You’ll no doubt have heard of the most common ones:
- alprazolam (Xanax)
- diazepam (Valium)
- chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- midazolam (Versed)
You may have heard of them because of the pop culture popularity of Xanax or the fact that between 1996 and 2013, “the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67%, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million”, according to NIDA.
Because benzos fall into the category of depressants, as in they depress the central nervous system (CNS), it’s incredibly dangerous to mix them with other CNS depressants because they can enhance the effect of each other. In other words, the effect is stronger and more intense.
Mixing with alcohol, in particular, is extremely risky and can be life-threatening.
The potential danger of mixing is so great that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently required a labeling change for benzodiazepines, noting that it’s “requiring an update to the Boxed Warning, the agency’s most prominent safety warning, and requiring class-wide labeling changes for benzodiazepines to include the risks of abuse, misuse, addiction, physical dependence and withdrawal reactions to help improve their safe use”.
Critical information considering, as the FDA goes on to mention, that there were roughly 92 million prescriptions for benzos filled in the U.S. in 2019.
Signs of a Benzodiazepine Addiction
Understanding what an addiction to benzodiazepines looks like helps discern when it’s time to get help for you or someone you care about.
Here’s what you should keep an eye out for:
- Drowsiness to an excessive degree
- Impaired or blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- A hard time breathing
- Mood swings and irritability
- General fatigue, lethargy and weakness
- Unable to stop taking benzos or cut back despite trying
- Secretive behavior
- Doctor shopping to get more of the drug
- Spending a disproportionate time getting, using or recovering from benzos
- Using despite negative consequences
- Oddly enough, misuse can lead back to the issues benzos were prescribed for in the first place, i.e., insomnia, anxiety, seizures, etc.
If you see these begin to compound, it’s time to consider taking action.
Why You Should Go to Benzodiazepine Detox in Orange County
Benzodiazepine detox in Orange County is a brilliant place to start.
Quite frankly, you can’t even begin to touch the mental aspects of addiction until you’ve broken through and overcome the physical side of a substance use disorder (SUD).
At Safe Harbor in Orange County, California, we’re well versed in getting folks over the hurdle of detox safely. With a highly trained and licensed team, we’re with you every step of the way, providing guidance and support so you know what to expect and working tirelessly to relieve as much discomfort from the detox process.
To discover more about our detox options and if they’re right for you, get in touch with us today.