Benzodiazepine Addiction is Epidemic in America!
There are already approximately 4 million Americans with benzodiazepine addiction and using benzodiazepines well past any recommendation of national medical authority. Everyday more people get exposed to an addiction that to many is chronic and leaves them homebound and suffering silently. Many of them are afraid to stop because to do so may mean going through withdrawal that brings back the symptoms of the original anxiety related condition but in extreme intensity. Some individuals also endure benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome which includes; skin crawling, light, touch and sound sensitivity, hallucinations, psychosis, and a host of other very difficult additional symptoms.
- If you were told that benzodiazepine addiction could likely occur in two months.
- If you were told that the anxiety related condition will more than likely get worse.
- If you were told withdrawal can likely bring extreme anxiety related symptoms.
- If you were told withdrawal can include additional symptoms such as seizures, psychosis & death.
- If you were told that you could likely have a chronic addiction for the rest of your life.
It is doubtful that so many people would want to take so much risk let alone see an increase of over 10 million additional prescriptions since 2004.
The truth is that benzodiazepine dependence is an acceptable society term and marketing tool for what is really benzodiazepine addiction.
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When someone has been using opiates for a long time and has a large tolerance, adding benzos to the mix will increase the feelings of well-being, comfort and will permit the user to easily start nodding in and out of a dream-like state. This is the state that most opiate addicts enjoy and usually seek the most from the drug. Overdose is a HUGE problem and mixing opiates and benzos will likely land the individual in the ER soon or dead.
Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used for social phobia and GAD, lorazepam (Ativan®) is helpful for panic disorder, and alprazolam (Xanax®) is useful for both panic disorder and GAD.
Some people experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking benzodiazepines abruptly instead of tapering off, and anxiety can return once the medication is stopped. These potential problems have led some physicians to shy away from using these drugs or to use them in inadequate doses.
Buspirone (Buspar®), an azapirone, is a newer anti-anxiety medication used to treat GAD. Possible side effects include dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Unlike benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken consistently for at least 2 weeks to achieve an anti-anxiety effect."
Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are similar or identical to the original condition and often times much worse. This often presents a big barrier for individuals hoping to become benzo-free. Benzodiazepines are often times prescribed with very little thought into exit strategy in case benzodiazepine addiction develops. Careful consideration must be given to increasing dosage to offset tolerance. Increase in dosage sets the stage for the addiction cycle and raises the risks of adverse benzodiazepine side effects and benzodiazepine withdrawal effects. However, when dosage is reduced or eliminated, clinical studies indicate that the patients show improvements with memory and overall anxiety levels.
Each individual is quite unique and each one has medical conditions that can make for a complicated diagnosis. Subsequently each individual needs to find the proper medical attention that can help reduce or eliminate the complications of benzodiazepine withdrawal. What works for one may not work for another and an addiction specialist that understands benzodiazepine addiction, is the best option for anyone considering dosage reduction or cessation.
benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for short periods of time, especially for people who have abused drugs or alcohol and who become dependent on medication easily - Source: NIMHIndividuals who combine benzodiazepines with other drugs and/or alcohol are at highest risk for central nervous system depression. This can easily lead to coma and death. Overdose is common when combining benzodiazepines with other drugs or alcohol, which is highlighted by the 35% of drug-related emergency room visits involving benzodiazepines. Alcohol combined with benzodiazepines place the individual at extremely high risk for alcoholic blackout and often aggravates alcohol aggression. Individuals addicted to multiple drugs often have the most difficult withdrawal symptoms as brain chemistry seeks to normalize during the withdrawal process. The higher the tolerance the individual has to multiple drugs, the more action the brain generally needs to take to normalize. This generally makes the addiction harder to quit and proves to have more longer lasting withdrawal symptoms.
However, everyone is quite unique and every individual has medical conditions that can make for a complicated diagnosis. Subsequently each individual needs to find the proper medical attention that can help reduce or eliminate the complications of benzodiazepine withdrawal or detox as the case may be. What works for one may not work for another and an addiction specialist that understands benzodiazepine addiction, is the best option for anyone considering dosage reduction or cessation.