Addiction is a progressive mental health disorder. This means it only gets worse when not treated. As you continue to use drugs like benzodiazepines, your relationships, health, career, and everyday functioning begin to deteriorate.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom to get help. In fact, early substance use treatment can prevent you from dealing with major issues like chronic health conditions, dangerous overdoses, legal problems, and destroyed relationships.
Even if you feel helpless or powerless to your addictive tendencies, treatment can still help you. Many people who have been in the same situation have been able to get the help they needed to regain control of their lives, and you can as well. Use this guide to get a better understanding of benzodiazepines, the common signs of addiction, what treatment options are available, and how Pinnacle Peak Recovery can help with benzodiazepine addiction recovery in Arizona.
What are benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, sometimes known as benzos, are some of the most commonly prescribed depressants in America. This class of drugs was discovered in the 1930s but wasn’t introduced to the public until 1957.
The most common types of benzodiazepines include:
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Clorazepate (Tranxene)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Estazolam (Prosom)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Flurazepam (Dalmane)
There are over 15 benzodiazepines on the market today. These drugs are commonly used to treat a variety of psychological and physical conditions including anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.
Benzodiazepines work by stimulating a neurotransmitter in the brain. These are chemical messengers released by nerves. Essentially, this is how neurons, or nerve cells, communicate with the rest of the body. Benzodiazepines affect the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This chemical is a type of tranquilizer that helps produce a calming effect in the brain. Benzodiazepines help reduce the activity of nerves in the brain by helping create more GABA.
Most benzodiazepines are oral medications. Some may be taken intravenously. These drugs have different potencies, rates of absorption in the body, and conditions they effectively treat.
Those taking the drug illegally often refer to them by nicknames or “street names.” This is part of the culture of substance use. If you suspect a loved one is using, he or she may use benzodiazepines street names like:
- French Fries
- Chill Pills
- Totem Poles
- V’s (referring to Valium)
- Z bars (referring to Xanax)
What are benzodiazepines used for?
In general, drugs of this type are used for their calming effect helping those with anxiety. They can, however, treat several other physical and mental disorders. Some can be used interchangeably, but others help treat specific conditions.
For example, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium may help with seizure disorders. Some doctors prescribe Dalmane or Prosom for sleep disorders. Valium is also a common drug helping with muscle relaxation. Some of these drugs can actually even help with addiction when managed correctly. For example, Librium may be used to help with alcohol withdrawal.
Other conditions these drugs may treat include acute agitation, panic disorder, and social anxiety. They also help with sedation before surgery.
The sedating effect of these drugs makes them a popular choice for recreational drug users. The brief burst of euphoria or high often leads some to experiment with the drug. This relaxed high usually helps boost one’s self-confidence. Some recreational drug users tend to self-medicate with benzos to help with fears and worries. Instead of facing their problems, they continue to use these drugs. Unfortunately, benzo abuse often leads to dependence and, ultimately, addiction.
Are benzos addictive?
Due to their effects on brain chemistry, long term use of benzos may lead to physical dependence. This risk is much higher for those that don’t take the drugs as prescribed or have a history of addiction. Some may develop dependence in as little as a month and many individuals develop a tolerance to the drug after using it for six months or more.
Those who developed a dependence to the drug may have difficulty when trying to stop. Common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty feeling “normal”
- Restlessness and irritability
- Blurred vision
These withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, often making a person continue to use just to feel “right.” It is not advisable to try quitting benzos without down dosing period. Successfully dealing with benzo withdrawal usually begins with a medically managed tapering off of the drug.
What are the common benzodiazepine addiction signs?
If you are wondering about your benzo addiction or worried about a loved one, there are some key signs you should know. Those taking high doses of the drug often show periods of extreme drowsiness or lethargy. In addition, common signs of a benzodiazepine high include:
- Mood swings
- Erratic behavior
- Brief bouts of euphoria
- Impaired motor coordination
- Trouble with thinking or memory
- Vision problems
- Slurred speech or stuttering
Some of these drugs take a long time to be completely eliminated from the body. Those taking more significant amounts of the drug can eventually have it stored in fatty tissues. Long term side effects of benzodiazepine abuse include dementia, problems with language and motor skills, slowed heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and seizures.
Those that mix benzos with other drugs like alcohol or barbiturates may put themselves at risk for potentially fatal overdoses. If you suspect a loved one has overdosed on benzos, check if they have slurred speech or severely impaired balance and movement control. In extreme cases, Flumazenil may be used as an antidote to a benzo overdose.
Addiction, in general, has some common “red flag” behaviors. Knowing these can be crucial to seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one. They include:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Losing interest in hobbies, leisure activities, and social obligations
- Associating with a new peer group
- An obsessive need to obtain the drug of choice
- Excessive references to drugs or street names
- Changes in moods or sleeping patterns
- Increased absence in work or school
- Disappearing for periods of time
- Financial troubles
- Engaging in risky behaviors while high or to get drugs
Do any of these signs of addiction seem familiar? Many people turn a blind eye to their struggles or those of a loved one. Why? They simply don’t know what to do. They may consider getting help. Maybe even, in a few moments of clarity, they tried to find it. Sadly, the clutch of addiction can have them back to their old ways before they took the necessary steps to get help.
The fear of the unknown is always difficult. Change is hard. By understanding how you could finally overcome addiction, however, the choice to get help may not seem so overwhelming.
How can benzo addiction treatment help?
How can you quit using these drugs for good? It can be a lot harder than to simply no longer taking doses because these drugs strongly affect the reward centers of the brain. The more you use them, the more your brain’s chemistry is physically altered. Soon, your brain will think it is normal to have benzos in the system.
The first step to getting treatment is detoxing from the drug. In many cases, this means a gradual reduction of doses of the drug in combination with withdrawal symptom management. Doctors and other medical professionals can help with this during a benzo detox recovery program.
Of course, once you have detoxed from the drug, the real work begins. There were underlying reasons for your benzodiazepine misuse. Some may stem from trauma, depression, or trouble dealing with social situations. Once you stop using the drug, you still have these issues that need to be addressed.
Successful benzo addiction treatment requires a holistic approach to changing the way you think, feel, and interact with your thoughts and the world around you. In many cases, psychotherapy, sometimes known as talk therapy can be beneficial. Trained therapists may use cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), or other forms of counseling to help you address the root causes of your using behaviors.
Rehab is often a process of self-discovery and learning to deal with the challenges you faced throughout your life. Many people struggling with addiction haven’t developed the life and coping skills required to successfully manage their problems. After all, when things got difficult, they retreated to the fleeting pleasure of drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. Psychotherapy allows you to work through deeper issues and change your mindset and behaviors so you can succeed in life without the crutch of drugs or alcohol.
Benzo addiction treatment gives you opportunities to make positive changes in your life. A holistic program involves the collaboration of many disciplines that treat you as a whole person—not merely someone with an addiction. You may learn to calm your anxiety using meditation, yoga, or Tai Chi. A focus on health, nutrition, and fitness will help you feel better overall so that you don’t have to use drugs to feel good or normal. Since drugs may have taken over your life, you need to find more positive outlets with your newfound free time. Recreation therapy and adventure therapy can help you explore new ways to fill your leisure time with meaningful experiences.
Can I get treatment for benzo addiction in Scottsdale, Arizona?
If you live in or around Scottsdale, Arizona, you have access to a passionate team of professionals ready to start your benzo recovery.
Pinnacle Peak Recovery knows overcoming addiction is hard. It takes time, dedication, and effort. Whatever you’ve been through, we are ready to help.
Why choose Pinnacle Peak Recovery? We offer a wide range of services dedicated to helping you throughout your recovery. Our team starts by getting to know you. We listen to your story, struggles, and personal goals. Our individualized treatment plans use your personal strengths and motivations to create a plan for your success. Yes, you have strengths, and we will show you how they can help with your benzo addiction treatment.
The beautiful landscape of Arizona has proven inspirational for those finally seeking rehab for benzodiazepine addiction. Pinnacle Peak Recovery allows you to embrace all the opportunities Arizona has to offer as part of your treatment plan. This can include unique experiential and equine therapies as well as outdoor therapeutic adventures. Both Arizona residents and those seeking a much-needed change of scenery have found our facility to be a welcomed change of pace.
If you are looking for a supportive, confidential respite to finally overcome your addiction, we are ready to help. We offer access to benzo detox in Scottsdale as well as inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and extended care treatment. As an alumnus of our program, you and your family have continued access to our support network including weekly recovery meetings.
Start your benzo recovery today
You may think it is so much easier to succumb to your addictions and hope that someday they will magically go away. Sadly, for most, cravings don't simply go away. Ignoring the problem now will only lead to more significant problems down the road.
Why not take some time to invest in a happier, far more fulfilling future? Imagine a life where you aren’t focusing on using drugs or alcohol throughout the day. Think of the money you will save and the relationships that will flourish. No matter what you’ve been through, there is still time to become a better you.
Pinnacle Peak Recovery will help you. Getting help is a simple as making a phone call. When you call us at 866-954-0524, you can get guidance from a compassionate, non-judgmental admissions professional who will help you understand which of our programs are right for you. Let us help you begin your success story today. Call now.