The Rising Need for Benzodiazepine Addiction Services
For many Americans and their loved ones, drug addiction has had a very real and serious impact on their lives. In the case of benzodiazepines, the rate of addiction and the need for rehab services continues to grow. Here’s what’s happening and how drug rehab facilities are working to combat the problem.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, often called “Benzos,” are in a class of drugs that affects the central nervous system and are commonly prescribed by doctors for things like anxiety, panic disorders, muscle tension, and seizures. The molecules in these medications attach to receptors in a way that reduces brain sensitivity and calms nervous system activity.¹
Well-known benzodiazepine medications include Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and Valium (diazepam).
Are Benzodiazepines Addictive?
Because benzos work by interfering with brain chemistry, a person can become physically dependent upon the drug to function normally. Physical addiction is rare among those who take the normal dosage prescribed for short periods of time. However, there is a serious risk for those who take larger doses for longer periods.²
Misuse of benzodiazepines can also lead to psychological addiction. A psychologically addicted person may even experience anxiety at the thought of not being able to take benzos, creating a vicious cycle.
Benzo Abuse Is on the Rise
For years, there has been a steady increase in benzodiazepine prescription and use. According to a study published in 2016 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of adult patients who filled a prescription for a benzodiazepine medication rose by 67% during the period from 1996-2013.³ Similarly, a 2019 study found a significant rise in the number of long-term benzodiazepine prescriptions—an increase of roughly 50% between 2005 and 2015.⁴
While not all patients who are prescribed benzodiazepines will become addicted to their medications, the rise in overdose deaths suggests a serious problem. By 2016, the mortality rate for benzo overdoses was almost eight times what it was in 1999.⁵
Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Addiction
To spot a benzodiazepine addiction, watch for red flags like the following:
- Excessive drowsiness, “slowness”
- Poor coordination
- Slurring of words
- Long-term use despite an initial short-term care plan
- Obsession with getting and taking medication
- Deterioration of relationships/career (not showing up for work, ignoring responsibilities, etc.)
Seeking Effective Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment
Getting professional help for benzo addiction can be life-saving. Not only is there a risk of overdose, but withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous without the appropriate care. In a benzo addiction rehab program like ours, a person can be safely detoxed under 24-hour supervision. Our residential program clients then transition into a program of individual and group therapy to help them address underlying issues and build the skills they need to move forward in sobriety.
If you or someone you love is addicted to a benzodiazepine medication, you can find compassionate, professional help at Yellowstone Recovery. Contact us today to learn about our program options and get started.