Take Control of Your Life Today
Table of Contents
Have you been using Benzodiazepines for a long time? Suffering from a medical condition that got you ‘hooked’? Are you relying on your medication to function even though your doctor has said you must quit and switch to another treatment?
You may be abusing your prescriptions, or even worse – you’re already physically and mentally dependent on them. If you have been diagnosed with an addiction to benzodiazepines, or know someone who has and wants to know more about their condition, then this page will help you.
CATCH Recovery London is an addiction counselling service in England which offers in-person and online therapy for substance abuse and compulsive behaviours. To learn more about our services related to benzodiazepine addiction, read on.
What Are Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as “benzos,” are a class of psychoactive drugs used to treat a range of medical conditions, primarily those related to anxiety and sleep disorders. Since their debut in the 1960s, benzodiazepines have become one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world due to their effectiveness in controlling symptoms associated with these disorders.
List of Common Benzos
- Xanax (alprazolam): Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed benzos on the market. It is primarily used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and phobias. Xanax works quickly and can be highly effective, but it is also known to be highly addictive.
- Valium (diazepam): Valium is another popular benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It has a longer half-life than Xanax, which means it stays in the body for a longer period of time.
- Ativan (lorazepam): Ativan is often prescribed for anxiety disorders, including panic attacks and social anxiety disorder. It is also used to treat insomnia and seizure disorders.
- Klonopin (clonazepam): Klonopin is commonly prescribed for panic disorders, seizures, and anxiety disorders. It is known for its long-lasting effects, which can help to prevent panic attacks.
- Restoril (temazepam): Restoril is primarily used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. It works by slowing down brain activity, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Misuse and abuse of these drugs can lead to addiction, physical dependence, and other serious health problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction or dependence, seek professional help as soon as possible.
How Do Benzodiazepines Work?
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. They work by enhancing the effects of a chemical in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate the activity of nerve cells in the brain, particularly those involved in producing feelings of anxiety and stress.
Benzodiazepines bind to the GABA receptors in the brain and enhance its activity, which in turn reduces the activity of the neurons in the brain that are responsible for feelings of anxiety and stress. This produces a calming effect and helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety and insomnia.
These medications work quickly, with effects typically felt within 30 minutes to an hour after taking the medication.
However, benzodiazepines are known to be highly addictive and can lead to physical dependence with long-term use. This is because the brain adapts to the presence of the drug and starts to rely on it to produce feelings of calmness and relaxation. Tolerance is also an issue with this medication group. As a result, abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms and even seizures.
What Is Benzodiazepine Addiction?
Benzodiazepine abuse refers to the use of benzodiazepines in a way that is not recommended by a healthcare provider.
Different from abuse, Benzodiazepine addiction is a complex issue that affects people from all walks of life. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and co-occurring mental health disorders. The symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction can be subtle at first, but can quickly become severe over time.
If left untreated, benzodiazepine addiction can have devastating consequences, such as overdose, respiratory depression and, unfortunately, death. It is important for individuals who are struggling with benzodiazepine addiction to seek professional help from their GP, an addiction hotline or an addiction professional. If you need help with your benzodiazepine consumption, contact us. We can refer you to a residential treatment provider who can take care of you during the detox phase of your treatment.
CATCH Recovery offers counselling services for people in recovery from benzodiazepine addiction which typically involves a combination of therapies, including behavioural therapy, dialectical therapies, holistic therapies and ongoing support. With the right treatment and support, you can successfully recover from benzodiazepine addiction and go on to lead a fulfilling, happy life.
Signs of Benzo Addiction
Here are ways in which you may be abusing your medication:
Taking higher doses than prescribed
Continuing the intake after the prescription deadline
Purchasing benzos illegally
Taking other people’s medication without consulting your doctor
Replacing your medication with another benzodiazepine without consulting your doctor
Taking your medication more frequently than prescribed
Doctor-hopping (going to different doctors to obtain more prescriptions for your benzodiazepines)
Some common signs of benzodiazepine addiction include:
- Physical withdrawal symptoms
- Psychological withdrawal symptoms
Dangers of Mixing Benzos with Other Substances
One of the biggest dangers of mixing benzos with other substances is the risk of respiratory depression. Both benzos and opioids depress the central nervous system, which controls breathing. When taken together, these drugs can cause respiratory depression to the point of respiratory arrest, which can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Mixing benzos with alcohol is also dangerous. Like benzos, alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. When combined, they can magnify the effects of each other, causing dizziness, confusion, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. In severe cases, this can lead to blackouts, coma, or even death.
Another danger of mixing benzos with other substances is the risk of having mixed withdrawal symptoms and addiction effects. This can distract treatment experts from the right diagnosis and cause misdiagnoses. This is why it’s also vital that you are honest when you are going through an assessment or screening so that our colleagues can diagnose you properly and prescribe the right treatment for your condition.
Types of Therapy Suggested for a Benzodiazepine Addiction
We can recommend several types of therapy benzodiazepine addiction, based on the initial screening you will go through with our team of addiction experts. These therapies are designed to help you overcome addiction, manage emotional and psychological withdrawals and promote long-term recovery. Here are some of the most common therapy options included with our custom therapy programme:
Behavioural therapy focuses on modifying negative patterns of behaviour, thoughts and emotions. This therapy will help you identify triggers that lead to drug abuse and will help you develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stressors without turning to drugs. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a popular form of behavioural therapy used to treat drug addiction. Another talking therapy we might recommend for you is Dialectical behavioural therapy.
Motivational interviewing is designed to increase motivation and commitment to sobriety. During a typical session, one of our therapists will guide you on a path that will lead to your understanding of your motivations and will help you resolve ambivalence about quitting drug use by exploring your feelings and concerns regarding addiction.
Group therapy will meet you with a group of people who are also struggling with various addictions. This therapy offers a sense of community and support and provides a safe space to discuss your struggles and triumphs.
Family therapy involves meetings with family members to address addiction and promote healthy relationships. This therapy can help you rebuild relationships that were damaged due to your previous struggles with addiction.
Therapy is an essential component of overcoming a benzodiazepine addiction, and at CATCH Recovery London we offer various options. After your initial screening, we will discuss the best programme for your situation which will include a combination of therapies.
Addiction Screening and Assessment
At CATCH Recovery London we offer multiple screening options from our free screening to a very in-depth psychiatric review that is used to determine the current state of your mental health and your attitude towards compulsions. Please ask our admissions team about these, so we can discuss which one would be best suited for your condition.
We will also screen you for dual diagnoses. This process usually involves a series of questions or a survey that assesses risk factors and patterns of substance use. The results of the screening help to determine whether further evaluation is necessary and what therapies are best suited to your needs.
The only thing we ask you is to be entirely honest with us during this process. We are dedicated to providing you with a safe, non-judgmental environment and our services are completely confidential. And remember, early intervention is key to long-lasting and successful recovery.