Decision Point provides benzodiazepine addiction treatment. Benzodiazepine addiction is not uncommon and may result from developing a dependency to a prescribed medication, self-medicating an undiagnosed mental health condition, or simply through illicit misuse.
Benzodiazepine, often known by brand names including Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, and others, can be helpful medication when prescribed and used appropriately. Benzodiazepines have a muscle-relaxing and sedative effect on the body, making them useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, some seizure conditions, insomnia, and other conditions. Because some benzodiazepines are short-acting, they are also appropriate as pre-surgical medications to relieve anxiety or discomfort associated with certain dental and medical procedures.
Benzodiazepine is perhaps most often prescribed to relieve the symptoms of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) - a mental health problem that affects approximately 2% of American and European adults. This medication has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety in the short term, but is not recommended as a maintenance medication. Oftentimes, benzodiazepines are prescribed to anxiety sufferers to be used on an as-needed basis to combat the symptoms of sudden onset panic disorder or intense anxiety episodes. Anxiety sufferers may also be prescribed a maintenance medication such as citalopram which offers longer-lasting management of this condition.
While benzodiazepines can be tremendously helpful when carefully prescribed and thoughtfully used as medication, they pose a significant risk of dependency. For this reason, people who are prescribed benzodiazepines should see their doctor, psychiatrist, or psychopharmacologist regularly to ensure the medication and dosage is working effectively, and to identify possible signs of dependency.
Benzodiazepine addiction poses multiple health risks. Because benzodiazepines are sedatives, they may affect one's ability to drive safely, can suppress heart rate, and significantly increase the potential danger of overdose death if mixed with other depressants such as alcohol or opioids. A 2016 study found that “two in five persons seeking detoxification for an opioid use disorder used a benzodiazepine (BZD) in the prior month." Preventable overdose deaths have been rising in recent years due to people mixing lethal doses of benzodiazepines and opioid pain medications. Many people are unaware that these drugs, when combined, can significantly depress the body's systems and lead to cardiac arrest, liver toxicity, and other harmful or fatal conditions.
Treating benzodiazepine addiction often requires medically monitored detoxification. Stopping the use of benzodiazepines can cause physical withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox is especially important if the person seeking treatment has been using other substances in addition to benzodiazepine.
At Decision Point, we understand that treating benzodiazepine addiction is about more than simply stopping the use of these drugs. In many cases, people who have become benzodiazepine-dependent started taking these medications to treat underlying anxiety or other issues. To successfully help people enter recovery, the root causes of their mental health disorders must be understood and addressed. If people are able to stop misusing benzodiazepine but still suffer from crippling anxiety, they must be given a means of treating it and returning to a high quality of life. Some individuals are able to keep anxiety in check through talk therapy, lifestyle changes, dietary changes, sleep management, exercise, mindfulness, and other means. Others, however, may still require medication to control their anxiety symptoms or other conditions. When people require medication, ensuring proper use and a healthy relationship with substances can make the difference between appropriate medical intervention and a return to harmful dependency.
Decision Point uses comprehensive assessments to identify current patterns of benzodiazepine misuse as well as the underlying causes and co-occurring conditions that may have contributed to dependency. By thoroughly understanding each person's physical and mental health and addiction history, our clinical team can individualize a care plan to address the addiction as well as the underlying issues for a better chance at lasting recovery.
If you or a loved one is suffering from benzodiazepine addiction or misuse, or if you simply have questions about this issue, please call us at 800-123-4567.