Though commonly prescribed for insomnia and anxiety disorders, benzodiazepines don’t come without their own risks and drawbacks. Most notably, benzos are a highly addictive class of medications. Long-term or improper use can cause someone to develop a benzo addiction, which may require professional aid to resolve.
Drug abuse of any kind should not be ignored or taken lightly. Addiction can have major, detrimental impacts on all facets of life, including someone’s relationships, finances, physical health, and mental wellbeing. To minimize the damaging potential of a benzo addiction, those living with one should seek professional help as soon as they recognize they have a problem.
How Addictive Are Benzos?
Benzodiazepines are considered safe to use on a short-term, “as needed” basis. Once that use becomes chronic, however, the risk of developing a benzo addiction increases exponentially. This is because repeated use causes the body to build a tolerance for benzos. When this happens, higher doses are required to achieve the same effect as before.
Someone may take benzos more than they need due to the sedative effect they cause. As central nervous system depressants, benzos offer a calming effect that benefits those with conditions like insomnia and anxiety disorders. However, others may attempt to utilize their relaxing qualities more often than they strictly need.
In addition, benzos take advantage of the body’s reward system by causing levels of dopamine to surge. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with happiness and pleasure, which makes it an important factor in the addictive nature of benzos. When they cause a burst of dopamine, people may wish to pursue the same feeling again in the future. If such behavior becomes a habit, they may develop a benzo addiction as a result.
Signs of Benzo Addiction
As mentioned previously, benzodiazepine abuse has noticeable effects on someone’s life. Knowing the physical, social, and mental changes to look for can help them identify whether they have a benzo addiction.
Someone may have a benzodiazepine addiction if they exhibit the following symptoms:
- Taking benzos for longer or in higher doses than prescribed
- Withdrawing from friends and family members
- Inability to focus or complete tasks at home, school, or work
- Weakened immune system
- Appetite changes
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Slowed cognition or reaction times
- Mood swings
- Memory problems
Many people with addictions feel as though they have lost control of their relationship with a substance. Ultimately, if someone wants to stop taking benzos but struggles with doing so, or if they readily inhibit other areas of their life to continue using benzos, they may have a benzo addiction. Acknowledging this problem is the first and most crucial step toward recovery.
Benzo Addiction Treatment Programs
In order to fully recover from benzo addiction, no aspect of it can go untreated. Both someone’s physical dependence on benzos as well as any emotional or internal struggles they face must undergo the same level of compassionate care.
Fortunately, separate treatment programs exist to keep the recovery process organized. Someone may not have to participate in all programs, but the distinctions between them allow for a more personalized healing experience.
At The Willough at Naples, a team of addiction specialists will help you develop a treatment plan that meets your individual needs. Depending on your personal experience with benzo addiction, you may participate in one or more of the following programs:
Benzo addiction often stems from a physical dependence on the drug. Dependence is something that develops over time when someone regularly takes a dose of benzodiazepines. Their body becomes so used to the drug’s effects that it loses its ability to function properly without them.
Physical dependence encourages the continued use of benzos, even after a prescription runs out. This tends to occur because if someone with a benzo dependence suddenly stops taking them, they will likely experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
For example, common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Irritability or agitation
- Hand tremors
- Dry mouth
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle pain
To help individuals manage and cope with these symptoms, addiction experts recommend a medical drug detox for those looking to stop using benzos. A medical detox ensures that individuals have 24/7 access to a team of licensed physicians, nurses, and other trained staff. They know how to minimize the impact of withdrawal symptoms by prioritizing patient comfort and safety throughout detox.
Most benzo withdrawal symptoms peak and fade within 14 days of someone’s last dose. Medical detox programs eliminate the risk of relapse in that time and help patients fully commit to benzo addiction recovery. Detox serves as a necessary first step for many individuals, as it restores their sense of control over their body.
To further addiction treatment after detox, we recommend enrolling in a comprehensive treatment program. For someone with a benzo addiction, dual diagnosis treatment can often provide the full spectrum of care they need.
Dual diagnosis (or co-occurring disorders) refers to the simultaneous presence of substance abuse and mental health problems in one person. Since people are often prescribed benzodiazepines to help with their anxiety, many who develop a benzo addiction can benefit from dual diagnosis treatment in turn. It addresses not only their addiction, but their underlying anxiety as well.
To accomplish this, our dual diagnosis program utilizes a variety of evidence-based treatment options. Modalities used at The Willough at Naples include:
- Psychiatric screenings
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Medication evaluation and management
- Recreational therapy
- Educational counseling for family members
- Relapse prevention planning
- Links to community-led resources and support groups
Throughout treatment, dual diagnosis patients receive the support they need to distance themselves from their addictions. They also learn important coping skills they can use to manage their mental health conditions. For example, they may develop healthy communication, emotional regulation, and grounding skills.
Effective benzo addiction treatment is personal. At The Willough at Naples, our treatment plans are tailored to each individual in our care, and that includes our dual diagnosis services. We will track your progress, map your strengths, and take careful note of where you can improve. Together, we can help you regain control of your life.
Benzo Addiction Treatment in Naples, Florida
If you are currently battling benzo addiction, you can get the help you need at The Willough at Naples. We offer mental health care and addiction treatment to those who struggle with conditions like substance use disorder and anxiety disorder.
For over 30 years, we have provided world-class support to countless individuals. The peaceful, safe environment of our treatment center promotes recovery and comfort throughout patients’ healing journeys. By trusting The Willough at Naples with your mental health, you welcome in a team of compassionate, knowledgeable specialists who care about your long-term improvement.
To learn more about our benzo addiction treatment programs, call our admissions team at 800-722-0100 or submit a confidential contact form online. They can help assess your situation and unique needs to determine the best treatment approach for you.
With the support of The Willough at Naples, recovery becomes more than a distant dream. We can help you find long-term relief from benzo addiction.