Signs of Benzo Addiction: What to Look for
According to World Health Organization, around 62 million people used opioids in 2019, and around 36.3 million of them suffered from use disorders.1 Almost 14% of fatal opioid overdoses in 2021 also involved benzodiazepines.2
Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are known for their calming properties but can be easily misused or abused. When it comes to signs of benzo addiction, it can be difficult to recognize the changes that indicate a problem. However, benzo abuse can cause a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.
Understanding Benzo Withdrawal
Benzos are sedative drugs typically used to help manage certain conditions, such as anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizures. While benzos are generally safe when taken under the care of a doctor, they can be dangerous when misused or taken in large doses. Misuse of and addiction to benzos can bring on physical, emotional, and behavioral effects.
A benzodiazepine addiction puts you at risk for a wide range of symptoms, including depression, impaired cognitive ability, memory loss, and potential overdose. Long-term benzo use can also lead to severe withdrawal symptoms when eliminating the drug completely.
Common Benzo Addiction Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction include:3
- Blurred vision
- Withdrawal symptoms when not taken
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities previously enjoyed
- Using the drug to cope with stress or emotions
- Social, occupational, or recreational activities being given up or reduced due to benzo use
Additionally, prolonged benzo abuse has the potential to lead to additional, potentially more harmful symptoms, including:
- Physical and psychological dependence
- Memory impairment
- Impaired judgment
- Increased risk of overdose.
If you think you or one of your loved ones is showing the above signs of benzo addiction, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Benzos Withdrawal Symptoms
When someone who has been abusing benzos suddenly stops using, they may experience a number of physical, emotional, and behavioral benzo withdrawal signs. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle spasms
The intensity and duration of these benzo withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the type of benzos used, how long they were used, and the individual’s metabolism. To avoid the dangers of benzo withdrawal, users should seek professional help from a benzo treatment center.
Benzos Addiction Treatment
When it comes to benzos addiction treatment and figuring out how to ease benzo withdrawal, there are several substance abuse treatment options available.4
- Tapering off medication: The first step is usually detoxification, which involves slowly tapering off the drug in a medically supervised setting. This can help reduce severe withdrawal symptoms and manage cravings. After the initial detox period, the next step is usually to participate in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
- In-patient programs: Inpatient programs involve intensive therapy, counseling, and education on healthy coping skills and relapse prevention strategies. Outpatient programs are less intensive but still offer therapeutic support and guidance as you transition back into daily life. These programs often include individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy to help address any underlying issues that may have contributed to the development of the drug addiction.
In addition to professional substance abuse treatment options, there are self-help methods that may be helpful to maintain long-term sobriety.
- Support groups: Support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, can provide valuable emotional support, and learning relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress and manage cravings.
- Exercise and healthy habits: Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also improve overall well-being and make the recovery process easier.
Overcoming Benzo Addiction with a Holistic Approach
Seeking out benzo addiction treatment is the first step to improving your situation and will set you up for a happier, healthier life. A holistic therapy option takes into consideration an individual’s overall wellbeing and doesn’t solely focus on overcoming drug addiction and addressing symptoms. It aims to focus on the underlying cause of addiction by focusing on total mind, body, and spiritual healing for long-term recovery.
Wondering if a holistic approach to recovery is the right choice for you? Visit us at Elevate Rehab to learn more about our California detox centers.
With the right treatment plan for you and a strong support system behind your back, you can regain control of your life and find lasting sobriety.
- World Health Organization. Opioid Overdose. www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/opioid-overdose
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Benzodiazepines and Opioids. nida.nih.gov/research-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids#Reference
- Shatterproof. Substance Types and Effects: Benzodiazepines. https://www.shatterproof.org/learn/addiction-basics/substances-and-effects/benzodiazepines
- National Library of Medicine. Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657308/
Scott Friend, MSW, M.S.
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