Benzo Dependence Equals Benzo Addiction
No one wants to be called a "drug addict". Being medication dependent is understandable and socially acceptable. However, "dependence" is nothing more than a very effective marketing tool and far too casually dismissed as a harmless benzodiazepine side effect.
What is the term dependence really saying?? Some of the synonyms of dependence are; assurance, belief, credence, responsibility, stability, trust, trustworthiness. - Ask yourself... how did dependance end up describing addiction? - when there is nothing further from the truth!!!
There is never a distinction in the addiction community. The first thing an individual must understand about themselves, before recovery can begin, is that they have an addiction.
When an individuals stops taking Benzos for therapy, they are instructed to taper dosage, so as to avoid adverse withdrawal effects. This is because benzodiazepines are physically addictive and just as with other substance abuse addictions (with few exceptions), you must withdrawal in order to stop. The severity of the withdrawal differs from person to person and suggested methods of withdrawal vary greatly. Some people have little or no adverse benzodiazepine withdrawal effects and others have severe effects that can be life-threatening.
- 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.
"Continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it"
"When the individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance"
The Same Thing!
These two definitions are provided by Wikipedia and as you can see they effectively mean the same thing.
The "Chemical Imbalance" Diagnosis
Benzodiazepines are prescribed by a doctor and generally for a temporary anxiety, insomnia or detox condition and work well in the short-term. However, just because it is prescribed by a doctor and for a legitimate medical reason does not in anyway dismiss that benzodiazepines cause addiction in as little as 8 weeks (according to studies).
Millions of people have been medicated into benzodiazepine dependance and addiction through therapy. These people mistakingly believe they have a permanent anxiety-related condition when they really have chronic addiction. And it is this chronic addiction that is very likely aggravating the original condition.
It is easy to blame big pharmacy as the evil behind it all. They make huge amounts of money but that does not make them evil. They are in the business of creating the medications that treat disease and ease suffering. They develop, engineer and study these medications extensively to reduce risks, liabilities and assure maximum public safety years before production. They get classified by FDA for approval with indications of side effects, recommendations and contradictions.
Big pharmacy makes medications to cure human ailments and they do it extremely well. Big pharmacy produces the tools but they are not liable for how they are used or prescribed, regardless of the size of the marketing budget (over the top).
When the products of big pharmacy are used in psychiatry the scientific process stops. Our most advanced technology of today can't begin to unravel the mystery of the human mind and we are no closer to understanding the human mind than understanding the universe. Our neurochemistry is far too complex, there is no scientific test or instrument that can identify an individuals chemical balance. Even if there were a method to measure the brain chemicals for balance there is no conceivable way of understanding the implications.
The term "chemical imbalance" is used freely in the psychiatric profession and is far too often part of the diagnosis. Millions of people have been given this "diagnosis" over the years and far too many people believe it true. Millions of people have been told they have a "chemical imbalance" and have been medcated into lifelong chronic addiction..
What can be said is that when we use benzodiazepines, we are deliberately changing our neurochemistry. The point, after all, is to effect the neurochemistry of the GABA system. In doing so the individual gets a "tranquilizing" effect. That "tranquilizing" effect is not free however, at least not forever. The GABA system is the "stop and go" system in our neurochemistry and the effects of altering that process with external means has implications on the system as a whole. There is no drug or system to directly effect the brain because of the BBB (blood to brain barrier). There is no way in todays technology to cross that barrier using the drug only. In order to effect the brain chemistry psychiatric medications utilize and adjust our natural neurochemistry. We have no way of knowing the impacts in adjustments in neurochemistry. In order to produce that the neurochemistry has to make adjustment, it must always remain in balance (whatever that balance is) and it sees the chemical as a long-term poisoning. Benzodiazepine tolerance is the first visible sign of addiction, if you need more, you are already addicted.
For short-term use there still few drugs available that can be as effective as the benzodiazepine. However, it is the effects of long-term use, the dosage increase due to tolerance and the offset in natural neurochemistry that proves to be an enormous lability for millions of people. When addiction is the battle and lives are held in the balance, then "dependence", "addiction" and "chemical imbalance" should not be just a matter of semantics or good marketing.
While it is extremely unfortunate that continued prescriptions has caused addiction in so many people. It is very important for those individuals to understand the nature of the battle. The battle is addiction and substance abuse treatment offers some of the most effective medical attention. This in turn can offer the individual the highest rates of success and the road of recovery.
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Benzodiazepine dependence is benzodiazepine addiction and can include one or all of the following:
- Have taken benzodiazepines in prescribed "therapeutic" doses for months or years.
- Have gradually come to "need" benzodiazepines to carry out day-to-day activities.
- Have taken benzodiazepines although the original condition for prescription has disappeared.
- Have difficulty in stopping or reducing dosage, because of withdrawal symptoms.
- Have develop anxiety symptoms between doses, or get craving for the next dose.
- Have repeat prescriptions regularly from their doctor.
- Have become anxious if the next prescription is not readily available.
- Have extra doses before an anticipated stress related event.
- Have increased the dosage since the original prescription.