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What are Benzos?
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, belong to a class of psychoactive drugs. They work by stimulating the production of excess amounts of dopamine, then directing it toward overstimulated neurotransmitters. People typically find themselves feeling more relaxed and calmer. Physicians often prescribe benzo medication to patients to help them manage symptoms of the following conditions:
- Panic disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Social Anxiety
- Muscle spasms
- Seizure disorder
Benzo prescriptions are primarily effective when used for a short period. Most doctors do not recommend taking benzodiazepines on a long-term basis because of the risk of developing a dependency.
One of the problems with benzos is that many people are unaware of all the risks of taking the medication. While many people get benzodiazepines via a prescription from their doctor, they have become common among recreational drug users.
Common name-brand forms of benzos often prescribed for medical reasons include:
- Klonopin — Often recommended for the treatment of conditions like panic disorders. It may also be prescribed to help people dealing with seizures.
- Valium — Valium may be recommended to patients to help them with symptoms of anxiety disorders. It can also be beneficial in helping ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
- Ativan — Ativan is typically prescribed to patients diagnosed with a panic disorder.
How Do People Get Addicted to Benzos?
Many people who receive a benzo prescription can take them without any issues as long as they follow directions. You can end up with a benzo dependency by taking more than the prescribed dosage. Some people also take the medication along with opioids and other drugs. There have been problems with the medications being available for purchase without a prescription.
Signs of addiction to benzodiazepines typically include:
- Having most or all your focus on getting more drugs
- Not taking care of responsibilities at home, school, or work
- Going through withdrawal when you try to stop taking the medication
What Treatment is Available for a Benzo Addiction?
Once you accept your situation’s reality, it is a good idea to speak with an addiction specialist. They can provide education about your condition and offer guidance as you contemplate your next steps. Options for treatment of substance use disorders can include treatment through a partial hospitalization program or outpatient basis. You may also benefit from therapy services like:
Your individual course of treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. A supportive rehab environment can be essential to helping to achieve recovery and overcome your benzo addiction. There are no easy answers when it comes to a substance use disorder. While there is no cure, you can learn skills and techniques that help you deal with triggers that might cause you to want to start retaking benzos.
Get Help at Northern Illinois Recovery Center
Northern Illinois Recovery Center offers a safe place for individuals looking for a way back from benzo addiction. We work with each client to understand what drives their behavior to help them find the most compatible treatments.
Learn more about the programs available through Northern Illinois Recovery Center by calling 855.786.1978.
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.