Benzodiazepines are prescribed medications to help relieve anxiety. For a small number of people, they are prescribed to help prevent seizures. While benzodiazepines are legal medications, these medications are frequently abused.

Types of Benzodiazepines:

  • Xanax – Prescribed to treat anxiety
  • Valium – Prescribed to treat anxiety
  • Ativan – Prescribed to treat panic disorders
  • Klonopin – Prescribed to treat panic disorders and seizures
  • Librium – Prescribed to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms

People who abuse these drugs aren’t doing so in order to make their lives better. Their addiction is caused by chemical changes deep inside the brain.

Admitting You Need Help

Benzodiazepines belong to the prescription sedative class of drugs. They produce a calming effect to help reduce feelings of anxiety, however they are highly addictive. Someone who abuses benzodiazepines typically displays a wide range of symptoms – physical, psychological and behavioral.

Due to tolerance build-up over time, an addict will require a higher volume of benzodiazepines to reach that familiar high. As use is stopped or the familiar dose is significantly cut back, withdrawal symptoms will emerge, and they can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

Signs of Abuse

Common symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse include:

  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor judgment or thinking
  • Doctor shopping
  • Asking friends, family, colleagues and/or classmates for their benzodiazepine pills
  • Wanting to cut back on the volume of abuse but not being able to do so
  • Mood changes
  • Risk-taking behaviors, such as driving after abusing benzodiazepines
  • Combining benzodiazepines with alcohol or other drugs

Seeking Help for a Benzodiazepine Addiction

A benzodiazepine addiction doesn’t just go away. Symptoms can grow more and more severe, especially if they’re not addressed in a comprehensive manner. That’s why it’s important to take action when you see a loved one with a benzodiazepine addiction. Detox can last weeks or months depending on the severity of the addiction and the type of benzodiazepine the person has been using.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that people addicted to benzos receive psychological support while they are being weaned off these drugs. However, being physically weaned off a benzo does not address the underlying addiction and abuse issues. Instead, therapy is recommended to help address the issues that led to the substance abuse.

The only way to change your life for the better is to seek out help. Take the first step and start your recovery today.