Signs, Symptoms & Effects of Benzo Addiction

What is Benzo Addiction

Learn More About Benzo Addiction

If you’ve ever been given a prescription for a benzodiazepine, then you’ve probably struggled with an anxiety disorder, seizure disorder, or sleep disorder. When benzodiazepines, which are also known as benzos, are taken as prescribed, they can be life-changing. However, if you’ve taken these sort of central nervous system depressants for non-medical reasons and as a way of getting high, then you’re likely to endure a great deal of personal adversity as a result.

Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan are but a few examples of well-known benzos. These medications are, as stated, helpful but can also be harmful, and can lead to the development of an addiction if the person taking them isn’t careful. Additionally, if benzodiazepines are consumed at the same time as alcohol and other drugs, the effects that can occur could be permanently damaging to an individual’s health and overall wellbeing. Therefore, if you believe that you’re one of these individuals, and are now struggling with an addiction to one or more benzodiazepines, know that it’s possible to recover. With effective treatment and the support of caring professionals, you too can leave the abuse of benzos in the past where it belongs and begin living the drug-free life you deserve.

Statistics

Statistics of Benzo Addiction

Benzodiazepine addiction remains an ever-present problem affecting men and women all across America. Towards the end of the twentieth century, rates of adults seeking care for a benzo addiction increased nearly eighty percent. Presently, this issue remains a constant, and the number of individuals requiring services for benzo addiction in conjunction to other forms of substance abuse remains high.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Benzo Addiction

Researchers have discovered some causes and risk factors for why some people struggle with the abuse of benzodiazepines while others don’t. If you’re curious as to why this sort of substance abuse problem is an issue for you, read the following and see if these concepts are applicable to your own circumstances:

Genetic: Your genetic background can have a lot to do with your susceptibility to abusing and becoming addicted to benzodiazepines. If you have a close relative, such as a parent, brother, or sister, who has also struggled with substance abuse, then you are more likely to battle this sort of problem as well.

Environmental: Those who are prescribed benzodiazepines or who have friends or loved ones who take them for medical reasons are at an increased risk for misusing these sort of medications. Furthermore, if you are exposed to drug use, have easy access to these medications, endure trauma, lack healthy coping mechanisms, and/or have subpar social support, your chances of abusing benzos goes up as well.

Risk Factors:

  • Suffering from a mental or medical condition that necessitates a prescription for a benzodiazepine
  • Personal history of mental health issues
  • Lacking effective coping skills
  • Lacking appropriate social support
  • Having a peer group who also abuses benzos
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Being the victim of some sort of trauma

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Addiction

The tell-tale signs and symptoms of benzo addiction can vary depending on how long you’ve been abusing them and the amount that you consume. If you’re wondering if you have a problem with benzodiazepines, take note of whether you’re experiencing any of the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Using benzos in hazardous situations
  • Stealing someone else’s benzodiazepine prescription
  • Going to great lengths to conceal one’s use of a benzo
  • Failed attempts at stopping benzo abuse
  • Continuing benzo abuse despite experiencing negative effects

Physical symptoms:

  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Shallow breathing
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Coordination problems
  • Blurred vision

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor decision-making
  • Poor concentration
  • Nightmares
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to focus
  • Diminished inhibitions
  • Confusion

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Social isolation
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Effects

Effects of Benzo Addiction

The abuse of benzodiazepines can certainly destroy your life. If you continue to misuse these types of prescription medications, the following detrimental effects are more likely to happen the longer that seeking treatment is delayed:

  • Suicide attempts
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Social isolation
  • Self-harm
  • Relationship problems
  • Poor performance at work
  • Onset of mental health concerns
  • Memory problems
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Job loss
  • Financial difficulties
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Development of physical health problems
  • Chronic unemployment

Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal: Similar to other types of addictions, a benzo addiction can cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms when you’re no longer under the influence of these sort of substances. If any of the following effects happen when you’re not under the influence of Xanax, Valium, or another benzodiazepine, you’re probably experiencing withdrawal and need professional treatment:

  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Powerful cravings for benzos
  • Panic
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Irritability
  • Heart palpitations
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

Effects of benzodiazepine overdose: It’s very possible that you can experience an overdose after taking benzodiazepines. Especially if you consume these sort of substances with other drugs or alcohol, the following effects can emerge and you’ll need prompt medical help to avoid a fatal outcome:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of balance
  • Labored breathing
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Impaired motor functioning
  • Hypothermia
  • Hallucinations
  • Double vision
  • Delirium
  • Coma

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders & the Complexity of Benzo Addiction

Benzo addiction is widely known to exist alongside other types of addictions and mental health issues. Therefore, if you seek treatment, you can expect to be assessed for the following common co-occurring disorders and receive additional support if you’re struggling with them at the same time as a benzodiazepine addiction problem:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders

Our Client Experience

Stealing benzos to satisfy my addiction affected my personal life so much, that I knew I had to get help. Greenleaf was able to help me break out of my benzo addiction cycle. I am proud to say that I am celebrating my first year of sobriety thanks to Greenleaf!

– David D.
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