Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have struggled with panic attacks, increased stress, sleep disturbance, and anxiety. Unfortunately, some turn to abusing benzodiazepines, or benzos, to cope with these concerns. While many people first access different types of benzos through legitimate prescriptions for problems like anxiety or seizures, the drugs’ high addiction potential can make them quite dangerous.
If you or a loved one has gotten involved with benzos and feels out of control, contact NuLife Behavioral Health today. Our caring team is standing by to give you more information about our top-quality benzos addiction treatment options. Call us at 888.568.2057 or fill out our confidential online form to request more information.
Why Are Benzos So Habit-Forming?
Benzodiazepines are a central nervous system depressant. This means they produce effects including muscular relaxation, hypnotic mental states, sedation, and reduced anxiety. Benzos directly impact the function of neurotransmitters, mood-regulating chemicals, in the brain. The neurotransmitters GABA and dopamine, associated with calm and pleasure, respectively, are significantly influenced.
Benzos are habit-forming because those who use them can quickly develop tolerance. This means they need more and more of the drug to achieve the same calming, nervous system-depressing effects they first experienced. Because of benzos’ chemical properties, their brains effectively “forget” how to self-regulate without the drug. Unpleasant side effects also often occur when the drug wears off. It may feel like anxiety and irritability are unmanageable without benzos for those who use the drug.
Psychologically, benzos can also be habit-forming if they come from a legitimate prescription. It can be much easier for those who use them to rationalize their chemical dependence because the drug was initially given to them by a doctor. There is arguably less stigma overall in using benzos than, for instance, illegal narcotics like heroin.
Finally, some people abuse benzos in combination with other drugs like alcohol or amphetamines. Because benzos have very different physical and mental effects than these drugs, those who use them may feel they “balance them out” or make side effects more manageable. For example, someone using an amphetamine—like speed—might also use benzos to combat insomnia brought on by this dangerous “upper.” Attempting to counteract the effects of one addictive substance with another is, of course, not a sustainable practice. It is, in actuality, one that can hasten tragic outcomes like overdose and death.
What Are Some Commonly Abused Benzos?
Here’s an introduction to a few commonly prescribed benzos and their effects:
- Diazepam (Valium) – Used in treating epilepsy and anxiety, diazepam is fast-acting and thus easily abused. Supervised medical detox is often needed when someone is working on quitting abusing this drug.
- Clonazepam (Klonopin) – Used to treat panic and seizure disorders, this drug is generally prescribed only for short periods because of its high addiction potential. It is nonetheless dangerous if stopped suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms like dizziness, elevated heart rate, nausea, and even seizure can result.
- Alprazolam (Xanax) – This benzo is prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders and is incredibly common in legitimate use and abuse. It is fast-acting and can produce withdrawal symptoms if someone suddenly stops taking it. Alprazolam can cause lasting problems like memory difficulty and slower reaction times if abused over time.
- Lorazepam (Ativan) – Intended mainly for seizure disorders or occasional anxiety relief, this drug can cause uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms even when taken as directed.
There are many benzos on the market today. If you or your loved one is coping with anxiety, panic, or another concern with a benzo prescription, it’s a good idea to find out everything you can about this habit-forming class of drugs.
Learn Which Benzos Are Abused Frequently and Find Help in Massachusetts at NuLife Behavioral Health
If you or a loved one is struggling with benzo dependence, know that you’re not alone. Millions of others have faced this challenge and regained control of their lives through qualified treatment. Contact NuLife Behavioral Health today at 888.568.2057 or send a message online to reach our compassionate team. We’re eager to provide more information about our benzo addiction treatment options in Massachusetts.