- Content Reviewed By:
- Andrew McKenna - JD
- Deputy Director of NCADD Westchester
Next to opioids, benzodiazepines are the most commonly abused class of prescription drugs and are involved in tens of thousands of deaths per year. Commonly referred to as “benzos”, benzodiazepines are drugs that are used to treat anxiety disorder and insomnia.
While they are not meant for chronic long-term use, many people use benzos well outside their prescribed guidelines or even just recreationally, making them specifically vulnerable to abuse and addiction.
If you or someone you care about is at risk for benzodiazepine addiction or is already struggling with the disease, it’s important to know the signs and what to look for in a treatment program.
Signs of Benzo Addiction and Misuse
While each person’s symptoms will vary based on how long and much they’ve been abusing benzos, there are many common physical, psychological, and behavioral indicators of benzo addiction, including but not limited to the following:
- Chronic confusion
- Sudden bursts of anxiety, irritability, and paranoia
- Extreme drowsiness and inability to stay awake
- Changes in relationships and social behavior
- Manic mood shifts
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Slurred or incoherent speech
- Loss of appetite
- Shifts in weight
- Physical withdrawal symptoms
Other behavioral indicators may include lying to doctors and loved ones to get more pills, a decline in work or school performance, legal or financial troubles associated with benzo use, loss or interest or ability to keep up with lifestyle obligations, and isolation from family and friends for long periods of time.
If benzodiazepine addiction is affecting you or your loved one, it’s important to get treatment that can fully and effectively address the complexities of your condition.
Finding Quality Benzo Addiction Treatment
Prolonged and untreated benzo abuse creates lasting changes in the brain’s chemistry that must be managed by an experienced and qualified team of doctors and therapists. These drugs drastically magnify the effects of GABA in your brain to produce a sedative feeling and promote relaxation. An overabundance of this can lead to respiratory issues, dangerously slow heart rate, long-term neurological effects, and other health risks.
Safe and effective benzo addiction treatment will provide comprehensive medical care for withdrawal symptoms and immediate medical issues associated with prolonged abuse. This is accomplished through doctor-supervised detox.
Treatment will also include behavioral rehab to identify and address the reasons you started using benzos in the first place while providing behavioral coping mechanisms to prevent relapse. Don’t forget, most people start using benzos to cope with an underlying anxiety or sleep disorder. Addressing these key issues without having to rely on benzos is critical.
As part of your rehab’s aftercare plan, your discharge coordinator should help you find a trained therapist in your area that can help you deal with these ongoing challenges.
Most benzo addiction treatment centers take private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid to make care more accessible. Use our drug rehab directory to help you find the right program, whether you’re looking for inpatient, outpatient, or virtual treatment.