Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are medications that treat anxiety, insomnia, and some seizure disorders. They work by calming the central nervous system. Although benzodiazepines are helpful for conditions like panic attacks, taking benzos for too long or at too high a dosage will cause benzodiazepine addiction. When these drugs are misused, benzodiazepines cause psychological and physical dependence, leading to a need for benzo addiction treatment.
Most people who abuse benzos don’t do it to get high. Just over 1 in 10 people who misuse these drugs chase feelings of euphoria, while about 22% of benzodiazepine abusers do it for increased anxiety relief and to help with insomnia. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they’ve become addicted to benzos until it’s too late. Up ahead, we’ll learn about benzos, their effects, the consequences of benzo abuse, and your options for benzo addiction treatment.
What Are Benzos?
Benzos calm the central nervous system in cases of anxiety or panic disorder. They can also treat insomnia and seizures. Some examples of benzos include:
- Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed benzos; its generic name is alprazolam. This medication treats anxiety and insomnia. Xanax is particularly beneficial for panic attacks.
- Valium. Valium treats anxiety but is also used to treat muscle spasms and seizures. It often goes by the generic name diazepam and is a common substance treated in benzo rehab centers.
- Klonopin treats seizures and panic disorders and is also used to treat anxiety.
Other commonly prescribed benzo brand names include temazepam (Restoril), lorazepam (Ativan), and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).
Benzo Addiction and Abuse
Addiction is a complex condition that involves drug dependence and compulsive substance abuse. A person who is drug dependent will be unable to function normally without their substance of choice in their system. As well, when a person is addicted to a substance, they can’t stop using it, even when they’re suffering terrible consequences.
Unfortunately, drug misuse is common for most prescription medications, and benzos are no exception. Addiction problems can occur when benzos are misused. Of 30 million people in the U.S. with a benzo prescription, 1 in 50 (2%) reported misusing the drugs at least once . This may not seem like many people; however, the impact of benzo abuse is significant.
In the past several years, benzo addiction rates have increased among people aged 18 to 25. Young adults may get pills from peers to cope with academic stress or job pressures. The calming effects of benzos paired with easy access are a recipe for misuse. Additionally, people who have experienced trauma may utilize medications to numb themselves from emotional pain and turmoil. Others may turn to benzos for easing their chronic pain or insomnia.
Many people who misuse benzos don’t realize they’ve developed a dependence right away. When someone tries to stop taking a medication abruptly (going cold turkey), they may suddenly encounter adverse effects and recognize it feels impossible to stop. The desired effects are easy to continue pursuing–with an extra dose occasionally or by taking alongside other drugs or alcohol.
Signs of Addiction to Benzodiazepines
It’s sometimes difficult to spot an addiction to benzos. Compared to abusing other drugs or alcohol, someone using benzos typically has a prescription in their name. Someone misusing these medications may not appear “high,” like with opiates or cannabis. Some people hide their substance abuse from others due to embarrassment or shame.
Other signs of benzo addiction include:
- Trying to get prescriptions from different doctors to avoid running out of pills, known as “doctor shopping.”
- Mood swings
- Issues with memory or tracking in a conversation
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Drowsiness and slurred speech
- Changes in relationships, careers, or other aspects of life
Benzo Addiction Treatment at NuLife Behavioral Health in Worcester and Framingham, MA
For many benzodiazepine abusers, a medical detox is the first stage of benzo addiction treatment. A medical detox involves medication and 24/7 support to manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This step is crucial before proceeding to other levels of care, like NuLife Behavioral Health’s addiction therapy programs. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can last several weeks or months, including panic, anxiety, nausea, shakiness, muscle pain, and heart palpitations.
NuLife Behavioral Health in Worcester, Massachusetts, offers outpatient services for substance abuse treatment, mental health conditions, and dual diagnosis. Outpatient therapy is an excellent choice for people who have completed intensive inpatient care, such as residential treatment and want to maintain their sobriety or mental health at home.
At all levels of care, NuLife’s clients receive detailed and individualized treatment plans. These treatment plans address a person’s unique needs and chart a path for long-term recovery.
Intensive Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization Programs
Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are for people who need more support than traditional outpatient therapy can offer but do not require 24/7 or full-day support. Usually, an intensive outpatient program consists of around 12 hours of therapeutic programming a week. This outpatient rehab program focuses on helping clients build healthy coping skills while learning to live in sobriety.
Partial Hospitalization Program
Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are ideal for people who need more support than an outpatient program alone but don’t require 24/7 inpatient residential treatment. PHP typically involves attending a full-day program with group and individual therapy. Additionally, participants may benefit from evidence-based treatments like biosound, biofeedback therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
After addiction treatment, re-entering home life, social life, and the workplace is a huge transition, and aftercare is crucial. With an aftercare program, clients can be part of a community focused on long-term recovery.
Benzo Addiction Treatment Therapies
There are multiple therapeutic approaches to treating benzo addiction:
- Individual therapy involves working one-on-one with a counselor to uncover and address issues that provoke and sustain addictive behaviors. In individual therapy sessions, clients can process their issues’ root causes and how to manage symptoms.
- Family support sessions to learn how to communicate and appropriately resolve conflicts.
- Group therapy sessions where clients can connect with peers for support and a sense of community.
- Holistic treatments to benefit mental health, including acupuncture, yoga, music, and art therapy.
- Experiential therapies, like meditation or yoga.
Family, group, and individual therapy all use techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and relapse prevention therapy.
Dual Diagnosis at NuLife Behavioral Health
Dual diagnosis refers to a complex but common treatment condition occurring when a person struggles with mental health conditions at the same time they’re living with any of the substance abuse disorders.
NuLife Behavioral Health Massachusetts offers expert care for dual diagnosis. We start with a confidential psychiatric assessment, followed by customized treatment plans that comprehensively address your unique situation.
While benzodiazepines may provide short-term relief, the long-term effects of benzo addiction can be devastating. Seeking benzo treatment is a choice that may save your life or the life of a loved one. If you or a loved one is battling benzo abuse, addiction treatment can help. At NuLife Behavioral Health in Worcester and Framingham, Massachusetts, you will receive effective, evidence based treatment for addiction and mental health concerns. Call 888-298-2186 to learn more.
Find Benzo Addiction Treatment at NuLife Behavioral Health Massachusetts
If you are using benzos inappropriately and see the signs of an addiction forming, learn how our benzo addiction treatment program in Massachusetts can help. Contact us using our secure online form or call us confidentially at 888.568.2057 today.