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Drug Abuse: Benzodiazepines

The media has largely focused on the opioid epidemic in the last two years as the number of overdose deaths caused by opioids has dramatically spiked. Another growing trend in overdose, addiction, and abuse, has received less attention, despite some notable problems. Benzodiazepine abuse has become widely popular leading to a difficult addiction with life threatening detox. In the summer of 2017 Chris Cornell, the world-famous musician and frontman to bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave, lost his life to suicide toxicology report, as well as reports from his family, indicated high levels of benzodiazepine abuse. In late 2017, a budding young rapper by the name of Lil’ Peep lost his life to an overdose in his first years of his twenties, to benzodiazepines and fentanyl after posting openly on Instagram about his addiction to Xanax a popular benzodiazepine drug. Controversy was raised over whether or not abuse of these substances could lead to suicidal thought, ideation, and action. However, more attention was brought to the very real fact that benzodiazepine abuse can lead to severe addiction and behavioral problems.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, also referred to as “benzos”, are central nervous system depressants and tranquilizers. Primarily prescribed for treating anxiety, benzodiazepines can also be prescribed for chronic insomnia, seizures, and are often used in treating withdrawal from alcohol. Common brand names for benzodiazepines include Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan. Benzodiazepines can be long-acting or short-acting.

How Does Benzodiazepine Abuse Happen?

Drug abuse can be loosely defined as any use of a drug outside of prescription. People who do not need to take benzodiazepines and do so recreationally or to abuse its sedative-like effects are abusing the drug. People who do need to take the drug, as per a doctor’s prescription, and use more than the prescribed amount are also abusing the drug. Abuse can be the result of recreational use, or an unexpected dependency, which is common with regular benzodiazepine use. Though benzodiazepines are emphasized by prescribers to be non-dependency forming, many who have taken the drug long-term and suddenly stop realize differently. Symptoms of withdrawal are prompt with benzodiazepines and the cravings for returning to the state of sedation produced by the drug are severe.

Symptoms Of Benzodiazepine Abuse:

        • Cognitive confusion
        • Drowsiness
        • Slowed down actions and behaviors
        • Slurred speech
        • Impaired motor function
        • Respiratory depression

Benzodiazepine withdrawal causes seizures and is potentially fatal. Thus, professional help is necessary when trying to cease use of the drug. If you believe you or a loved one may be struggling with benzodiazepine abuse, dependency, or addiction, it is paramount to take immediate action. Mixing benzodiazepines with other drugs is highly dangerous and can produce an overdose. Help is available. Recovery is possible. Call Tree House Recovery today for information on our men’s treatment programs in Orange County, California: (855) 202-2138

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