Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction in Ohio
Despite popular belief, substance use disorders (SUDs) are not the same as criminal behavior or character flaws. Many individuals unintentionally become addicted to drugs due to the way their bodies react to them. Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are a class of drugs that may lead to dependence and ultimately the need for rehabilitation.
It might be challenging to get through the day when you suffer from panic episodes, persistent anxiety, or seizures. For some people, the fight never ends, and each new moment can be an ordeal. To others, feelings of dread and alarm can be context-dependent. Benzodiazepines may be administered to treat people with these problems.
Though a benzodiazepine can be helpful initially, you may need benzo addiction therapy if its use becomes problematic. At White Light Behavioral Health in Columbus, Ohio, we can help you beat an unhealthy dependence on this drug.
What Is Benzodiazepine?
Benzodiazepines are a class of medications frequently used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed depressants in the United States, and they can be addictive when misused.
The original intention of benzos was to replace barbiturates, which are similarly used to treat anxiety disorders and seizures, but for different reasons. Despite early anticipation that benzodiazepines would provide the same amount of comfort with less potential for misuse, benzodiazepine addiction has rapidly emerged as a severe societal problem leading to substance use disorder (SUD) issues for many individuals.
Also, doctors have found that people can become addicted to and dependent on benzos even if they take them as prescribed and on time. The FDA has only green-lighted a handful of benzodiazepine formulations, even though hundreds of them exist. There are three different kinds of benzodiazepines, categorized according to the time they require to take effect: ultra-short-acting, short-acting, and long-acting.
Despite being widely prescribed, benzos carry a significant risk of addiction due to their euphoric side effects and easy access. Midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and chlordiazepoxide are some of the most widely used benzodiazepines.
Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction
Remember that even if you start using benzodiazepines for a legitimate medical reason, it could be tempting to work up to recreational usage. It’s important to know the warning signs of benzodiazepine misuse. Common signs include:
- Slurring speech
- Nausea and fever
- Shakiness or tremors
- Coordination issues
- Shallow respiration
- Impaired vision
- Reduced cognitive ability
- Increased euphoria
- Acting erratic or hostile
If you or someone you care about exhibits some of these signs, it may indicate a benzodiazepine addiction.
Effects of Benzo Addiction
Benzodiazepine misuse has been linked to mood swings and depression as well as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In the elderly, they have been shown to hamper driving ability, increase the risk of falling, and disrupt cognitive processes. Since they alter cognitive processes, they are only recommended for temporary use. The risks of long-term benzodiazepine use include impaired cognition, especially among older adults, as well as sexual dysfunction.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Benzo Addiction
Abruptly quitting benzodiazepines after long-term use may lead to withdrawal symptoms, some of which can have devastating effects. They include:
- Hand tremors
- Muscle spasms
- Racing pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Aches and pains
- Panic attacks
- Hypersensitivity to stimuli like light and touch
- Abnormal bodily sensations (skin-crawling, goosebumps)
- Thoughts of suicide
- Problems with concentration and memory
- Visual disturbances (flashes of light or blurred vision)
- Auditory, tactile, or visual hallucinations
People who take benzos regularly can develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drug and may go through withdrawal if they try to stop suddenly. It is common for benzo withdrawal symptoms to come and go.
When people take benzos regularly for a long time, their tolerance to the effects increases. The person may need to take increasingly large doses to experience the same effects as their tolerance builds. Along with the unpleasant effects due to suddenly quitting the drug, the likelihood of psychosis or contemplating suicide may increase. Depending on the type of benzodiazepine, the dosage, and the frequency of use, the more typical withdrawal symptoms typically begin within one to four days of stopping use.
If you want to be free from benzodiazepine addiction, you need detoxification first. Detoxification involves cleansing the body. Any mistakes in the execution of this procedure might have serious consequences. As discussed above, suddenly stopping the use of benzos might be life-threatening. Seizures and suicidal thoughts are two of the most dangerous side effects. A doctor must be on hand to keep an eye out for them.
Relapse into addiction is a normal part of recovery for some individuals, but it can often be prevented by helping clients to recognize the early warning signs of relapse and develop coping skills to prevent it early in recovery, when the chances of success are greatest.
Medically supervised detoxification from benzodiazepine can last as long as several months. In some instances, detox requires tapering off the drug. The treatment might include a decrease in dosage or a switch to less potent benzo.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment Methods
Effective treatment approaches for drug addiction may include:
- Behavioral counseling
- Medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
- Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues
- Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
Benzodiazepine addiction can be treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the severity of the addiction.
Inpatient Treatment for Benzo Addiction
People who enroll in an inpatient program will reside at a facility while receiving care from addiction treatment professionals around-the-clock. Addiction is a personal disease, so therapy, treatment, and the length of time it takes to recover will always need to be changed to fit each person.
The main component of inpatient therapy to help clients overcome addictions is 24-hour medical and emotional care. During therapy, psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists often talk to clients one-on-one and in groups to help them get and stay sober for the long term.
The typical time needed at a treatment center to effectively decrease or eliminate drug dependence is three months. For some clients, a prolonged stay results in better outcomes. However, there is no set time frame for a full recovery.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Benzo Addiction
Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) does not require you to remain on-site throughout your rehabilitation. Sober living facilities or your own residence are acceptable options. After completing inpatient treatment, clients may participate in intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) before returning to their everyday lives. Most IOP clients attend sessions three to four times per week for up to four hours at a time.
Outpatient Treatment for Benzo Addiction
The duration of an outpatient treatment program is often several months. Many participants also participate in a 12-step program during their outpatient treatment.
For the most part, those who have completed a more intensive residential rehabilitation program, or those who do not require inpatient care, may benefit from outpatient treatment. You return to regular life while maintaining a dedication to your recovery. The duration of treatment will depend on the client’s recovery plan. In the long run, this will help you take care of any activities associated with your treatment program and focus on healing.
How to Help a Loved One Get Benzo Addiction Treatment
You may be experiencing a range of feelings if a loved one is misusing or addicted to benzodiazepines. Here are ways to help a loved one get addiction treatment.
Learn More About Addiction
The problem of substance abuse and drug addiction is quite complicated. Spending time learning about it will help you empathize with your loved one. It may help you understand that addicts aren’t intentionally trying to hurt or anger you. You may better understand addiction from a loved one’s perspective. Consider visiting a rehab center to learn more about benzo addiction.
Research and Pick a Suitable Rehab Center
Do not just go for a rehab center because of its big name. Look for a facility with professional, experienced, and compassionate specialists to help your loved one detox and begin recovery effectively.
Approach Your Loved One
When you feel ready, talk to your loved one about how you’re feeling and express your worries to them. Tell them all the great things that can happen when they attend a treatment facility for rehabilitation. It’s essential to reassure the person that your concern for them remains at an all-time high. Keep providing consistent encouragement and a nonjudgmental attitude as your loved one undergoes treatment.
Why You Should Consider Benzo Addiction Treatment
Long-term use of benzodiazepines could have profound effects. If you use benzodiazepines regularly, you will start to look and act differently at some point. As tolerance and dependence build, most of an addicted person’s day is spent looking for benzos and taking them. Because of this, you may find that your work ethic suffers, you lose your job, or serious problems develop in your relationships. Your health may also start to deteriorate. If this sounds like you or someone you care about, it’s time to consider treatment for benzo abuse.
Going through rehab in a treatment facility lets you disconnect from your everyday life and focus only on getting well. Individual, group, and family therapy sessions are just some of the methods that can help you overcome your addiction. You will also get a medically supervised detoxification from benzos, which is accessible via most inpatient treatment programs.
If you’re struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, we’re here to provide the treatment you need and support your recovery. Contact our team at White Light Behavioral Health in Columbus, Ohio to get answers to your questions or schedule an appointment.