Benzodiazepine Addiction

Table of Contents

Benzo Addiction

Benzodiazepine addiction is a complex issue that affects someone’s ability to live life to the fullest. Benzodiazepines, often referred to as benzos, are a class of drugs prescribed for a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. While these medications can provide much-needed relief when used as directed, they also carry a significant risk of physical dependence and abuse. Benzodiazepine addiction is the phrase we use when someone becomes physically dependent on benzos.

Benzodiazepines are dangerous because they are a widely prescribed medication with the potential for addiction and abuse. What begins as a legitimate prescription for managing anxiety or sleep disturbances can quickly spiral into a cycle of drug-seeking behavior. Ongoing or improper use can lead to tolerance, where higher doses are needed to achieve the desired effects. This opens the door for a benzodiazepine overdose.

Recognizing the signs of benzo addiction and understanding its impact are the first steps toward recovery. From there, finding the right help from a certified addiction treatment facility like those operated by Aliya Health Group can make all the difference.

What Is Benzodiazepine Addiction?

Benzodiazepine is a class of anxiety medication with a high potential for addiction and abuse. People turn to benzos for a variety of reasons, including stress, trauma, anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. Benzodiazepine addiction, often dubbed “benzo addiction” or “benzo abuse,” is when someone has a compulsive need to take benzodiazepine medications. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines such as Xanax®(alprazolam), Valium® (diazepam), Ativan® (lorazepam), and Klonopin® (clonazepam) are notorious for their addictive potential. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the drugs are considered Schedule IV under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning a benzodiazepine prescription from a doctor is required for legal use.

Benzo addiction can take over the lives of those affected. This can lead to a cycle of dependence and cravings that are difficult to break. Many receive a benzodiazepine prescription intended for short-term treatment. People can then become dependent on the way benzos make them feel. Others may seek out the drug for recreational use to achieve the sense of calm and relaxation the drug provides.

Over time, higher doses are needed to achieve those feelings, setting the stage for significant issues like addiction, overdose, and even accidental death. 

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Addiction?

Whether you’re a concerned loved one or someone struggling with benzodiazepine abuse, understanding these red flags can help with identifying and addressing addiction. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction. 

Physical:

Behavioral: 

Psychological: 

If you notice these signs or symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it may indicate a benzo addiction. A healthcare professional skilled in substance use disorder treatment can help you determine if it’s time to enter rehab.

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Benzodiazepine Addiction Facts & Statistics

Benzodiazepine addiction is a significant public health concern. It impacts individuals across various demographics and geographical regions. Here are some statistics that shed light on how widespread benzo abuse is:

It’s estimated that 4.8 million Americans abuse benzodiazepines each year. That number represents nearly 30% of all prescription drug abuse in the United States. Out of all age demographics, 18- to 25-year-olds were the most likely to abuse benzodiazepines, along with any other prescription drug as well. Unfortunately, only around 13% of those who abuse prescription drugs will acknowledge they have a problem. 

There were over 12,000 overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines in 2021. That’s more than 30 deaths per day. 

Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines, with more than 15 million people having a prescription in 2021. 

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, around half of those with a prescription for benzodiazepines were prescribed the pills for 2 months or longer in 2018. This is concerning as the drugs are intended for short-term use due to the risks of dependence. 

The Link Between Benzo Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

The relationship between benzodiazepines and mental health disorders is complex, with each influencing the other. People who have anxiety are often prescribed benzos as the first treatment in managing debilitating symptoms. Benzos offer immediate relief from intense feelings of fear and worry, helping them function better in their daily lives. That makes them exceptionally good for those who suffer from panic attacks. However, long-term use can make the drug stop working as well, causing anxiety to rebound and new symptoms to arise, like lethargy, apathy, and difficulty thinking.

Benzodiazepines can also mask underlying psychological issues, making it challenging to address the root causes of mental health issues. For example, benzos aren’t recommended for those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because the drug can interfere with the processing of traumatic memories and stop progress in trauma therapy. A dual diagnosis treatment approach that considers both benzo abuse and mental health disorders is typically the best route to healing.

When Do You Need Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment?

Recognizing the need for benzo addiction treatment is crucial for anyone struggling with dependence. One of the main signs of benzodiazepine addiction is a loss of control over drug use. If you find yourself unable to stick with the prescribed dose, or you’re constantly craving it or unable to stop taking it despite negative consequences, it may be time to seek help. In general, the following points suggest a problem:

Benzodiazepine addiction is a serious condition that requires specialized care and support. With the right treatment approach, recovery is possible. Aliya Health Group is here to provide unparalleled support and guidance as you make strides toward recovery. 

How Long Is Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment?

The duration of benzodiazepine addiction treatment varies depending on individual factors, such as the severity of addiction, co-occurring medical or mental health conditions, and the specific treatment approach chosen. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long treatment will last, several general principles can help guide individuals through recovery.

Benzodiazepine addiction treatment usually starts with detoxification. During this time, someone may experience benzodiazepine withdrawal. The length of this phase depends on the dosage and duration of benzo use as well as metabolism and tolerance. In some cases, detox may last for several days to a week as the body adjusts to the absence of the drug. Protracted withdrawal is a situation where someone may experience withdrawal symptoms for up to a year after recovery. These protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms often affect mental health and include increased anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Following detox, individuals may participate in residential or outpatient rehab programs. These programs can vary depending on their intensity and structure, ranging from a few weeks to several months. Residential programs typically offer 24-hour supervision and intensive therapy, while outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while still living at home and attending therapy sessions on a scheduled basis.

Recovery from benzodiazepine addiction is an ongoing process that requires long-term commitment and support. After completing rehab, most people benefit from aftercare programs, such as support groups, counseling, and medication-assisted treatment, to help prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. The duration of aftercare and ongoing support can vary depending on individual needs and may continue for months or even years following treatment.

What Is Benzo Addiction Treatment Like?

Benzodiazepine addiction treatment is a comprehensive and individualized process. When you enter rehab, your clinical team will create a unique treatment plan suited to your needs. It’s designed to address the physical, mental, and behavioral aspects of addiction. Treatment often begins with detox followed by residential care, where your team of clinicians begins valuable evidence-based and holistic therapies to aid in long-term sobriety. 

While specific treatment approaches vary, several core levels of care provide comprehensive treatment to those struggling with benzo abuse. 

The levels of care for benzodiazepine treatment include: 

Benzodiazepine Detox

Detox is the first step in the recovery process. To detox means that you stop using drugs and over the period of a few days to a week, your body naturally flushes the remaining drugs from your system. Benzodiazepine is often gradually tapered off under medical supervision to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Detox takes place in a specialized detox facility with skilled and caring staff. Medical professionals monitor vital signs and provide supportive care. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help with benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms like insomnia or increased anxiety.

Inpatient Benzodiazepine Rehab

After detox, the next step in the recovery process is residential treatment. Inpatient care is a time-intensive program. Clients remain at an Aliya rehab facility for anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Our facilities are safe, comfortable, and distraction-free so that clients can focus all their time and energy on sobriety. Through evidence-based and holistic therapies, the clinical team helps instill valuable coping mechanisms and tools to use in the future. Some may continue MAT during inpatient care to help reduce the severity and frequency of protracted withdrawal symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), individual counseling, group therapy, and family therapy are commonly used approaches to help individuals understand the root causes of their addiction and learn healthier ways of coping with stress and emotions. Holistic treatments, such as yoga or mindfulness meditation, also aid recovery. The goal is to provide individuals with the necessary tools and resources to rebuild their lives and maintain sobriety.

Outpatient Benzodiazepine Rehab

The next step in the recovery process is outpatient care. Some may skip right to outpatient programming depending on their unique needs. There are multiple levels of outpatient care, each providing unique flexibility for clients. The most intensive level of outpatient care is a partial hospitalization program. Clients attend treatment daily for up to 6 hours while returning home or to a sober living residence when not at the facility. The next level of outpatient care is an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Clients may only attend therapy a few times per week. As someone progresses through outpatient care, the goal is to help them begin to use the skills and tools learned in recovery to aid in long-term sobriety after finishing treatment.

Traditional outpatient care is another option involving therapy once or twice per week. From there, clients have the option to enter the aftercare portion of treatment, where the goal is to continue working on sobriety with newfound confidence and clarity. Aftercare can involve recovery support group meetings, follow up meetings with case managers and clinical staff, and access to the Aliya alumni network full of peers who offer support and guidance for the newly sober.

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Addiction Treatment Programs at Aliya Health Group

Aliya Health Group has a nationwide network of substance abuse treatment centers dedicated to tackling alcohol and drug addiction, along with associated mental health concerns. Renowned for our wide-ranging, evidence-based programs, we offer tailored treatments to guide individuals toward a fulfilling, drug-free life.

Aliya’s focus on individualized care extends from benzo detox to comprehensive support, empowering you every step of the way. Our approach to benzo addiction treatment is anchored in respect and empathy for all.

Through our inpatient and outpatient programs to continuing care options and alumni programs, Aliya Health Group is a full-service addiction treatment provider you can count on. Each level of care at our facilities offers support, guidance, and education. We help our clients learn healthy coping techniques and life skills, build relapse-prevention plans, and access other helpful resources for sustained sobriety.  With our help, anyone can realize a happy and health future. 

Call us today at (888) 973-2078 to get started. 

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