Benzodiazepine Rebound Equals Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Withdrawal on the other hand sounds awful and addiction sounds downright ugly. Benzodiazepine rebound is benzodiazepine withdrawal and benzodiazepine dependance is benzodiazepine addiction and it is a toxic love story that ends in tragedy for millions of people. It is ingenious marketing, of this there is little doubt but far to many people have fallen into life-long addiction from these clever words alone.
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What is unnerving and baffling is how it ever became a psychiatric diagnosis in the first place. After all, with other diagnosis psychiatrists seem hyper-vigilant about using symptom-specific classifications for our mental health issues. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and what of the manual the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM) to name just a few. It is doubtful that anyone would want to take medication to reduce anxiety if they knew it would very likely cause the more anxiety in the end and a chemical addiction as well. If benzodiazepine rebound were called withdrawal and the real consequences were addiction, people might have to stop and think.
Benzodiazepine rebound is loosely defined as the return (or "rebound") of original symptoms when dosage is stopped or reduced and often in greater intensity. The addiction services industry calls that benzodiazepine withdrawal or post acute withdrawal and those symptoms are similar to the original anxiety-related symptoms but often times worse. The only change in those two definitions is that rebound blames the original condition and withdrawal blames the drug. It just so happens that the transient symptoms of post acute benzodiazepine withdrawal can last for a while in some people and those symptoms mimic anxiety-related conditions.
In order to produce the desired effects, the chemical (drug) must effect the natural neurochemistry and when that is done for a long time the effects jeopardize the integrity of the entire system. Multiple systems can be and quite often are, affected at once and include the; dopamine, serotonin, GABA, opiate, cannaboid, and endorphin systems. Each drug releases some version of these naturally occurring hormones in our brains.
These brain chemicals or hormones make up the very systems that a person must need for survival. These impossibly complex neurochemicals are the reward mechanisms that all of us NEED in order to WANT to eat, have sex, go to work, make friends, have family, defend what is ours and fall in love. In essence these systems are the "human spirit" that drives us all. When an outside chemical (drug) influences these systems, long and hard enough, it also influences the very thing that makes us human and want to remain so.
Benzodiazepines are engineered to effect the GABA system of the neurochemistry in the same way as was outlined above. 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. The longer the benzo is used and/or the higher the dosage. The greater the impact and offset to natural neurochemistry. If the benzodiazepine is used long-term then at some point it becomes an intrinsic part of neurochemistry. When dosage is stopped or reduced the brain takes abrupt action to normalize. This process of equilibrium is withdrawal and it is the same for every addictive drug, you must withdrawal in order to stop.
The extra support comes from new friends when you need it most
Most importantly however, the person will be getting a lot of additional support and new friends. These friends as they will soon discover are like them in many ways. They understand how it feels because they are going through it themselves, AND THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE. Group therapy is a big part of addiction and is a shining success of a therapy that works, you simply can't understand addiction unless you lived it yourself. In very short order everyone in the benzodiazepine treatment facility has banded together - an instant brotherhood and sisterhood of sorts. Laughter, along with some crying, makes everyone fast friends and this in turn creates a solid support system in the first 30 days, when it is needed most.