About one-third of individuals who take benzos for six months or more will experience health problems, including seizures, when they try to quit. Benzodiazepine addiction treatment (Ativan, Ambien, Klonopin, Xanax, Valium) begins with medical detox.
Once stabilized, individuals continue their recovery through inpatient or outpatient programs that offer cognitive therapies and counseling sessions. Many inpatient programs provide home-like amenities and comfortable environments, so people can heal in comfortable, calming environments.
Benzodiazepines are prescription medications, and they’ve been in use for more than 50 years. During that time, according to an analysis published in Addiction, researchers have been concerned about the link between these drugs and addiction.
These researchers have been so concerned, in fact, that they’ve written up more than 60,000 articles that use words like dependence and abuse in concert with benzodiazepines.
Despite the addiction dangers associated with these drugs, that knowledge hasn’t moved into mainstream consciousness. In fact, most people who take benzodiazepines to help with a medical condition. Thousands more use these drugs recreationally, and probably have no idea of how these drugs work and why they could lead to addiction
A full recovery is possible, with the help of therapy. Here’s what families need to know in order to spot a benzodiazepine problem and what steps to take to get help.
Learn About Specific Benzodiazepines & Related Drugs
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that benzos cause a minor shift in the chemical signals the brain uses to communicate a pleasurable event. When that shift takes hold, people feel a boost of sensation that is associated with reward, joy, and security. They may not be able to name the change, but the brain marks that change.
When it comes to addictions, benzodiazepines are dangerous because they cause persistent brain chemical changes.
In time, the altered brain cells may not function at an optimal level without access to benzodiazepines. Brain cells will call out for the drug, and that call will be hard to ignore. That’s when an addiction is in play. Any benzodiazepine can cause this reaction, but there are some drugs in this classification that are of particular concern.
The following is a list of common benzodiazepine medications: