Benzodiazepines are a type of medication known as tranquillisers. Familiar names include Valium and Xanax. They are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in Australia. When people without prescriptions obtain and take these drugs for their sedating effects, use turns into abuse.
Doctors may prescribe a benzodiazepine for the following legitimate medical conditions:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Seizure control
- Muscle relaxation
- Inducing amnesia for uncomfortable procedures
- Given before an aesthetic (such as before surgery)
Benzodiazepines act on the central nervous system, produce sedation and muscle relaxation, and lower anxiety levels.
Benzodiazepines are commonly abused. This abuse is partially related to the toxic effects that they produce and also to their widespread availability. They can be chronically abused or, as seen more commonly in hospital emergency departments, intentionally or accidentally taken in overdose. Death and serious illness rarely result from benzodiazepine abuse alone, however, they are frequently taken with either alcohol or other medications. The combination of benzodiazepines and alcohol can be dangerous — and even deadly.
Benzodiazepines have also been used as a “date rape” drug because they can markedly impair and even abolish functions that normally allow a person to resist or even want to resist sexual aggression or assault. In recent years, the detection and conviction of people involved in this has increased dramatically. The drug is usually added to alcohol-containing drinks or even soft drinks in powder or liquid forms and can be hard to taste.
Signs of chronic drug abuse can be very nonspecific and include changes in appearance and behaviour that affect relationships and work performance. Warning signs in children include abrupt changes in mood or deterioration of school performance. Chronic abuse of benzodiazepines can lead to the following symptoms that mimic many of the indications for using them in the first place.
Despite their many helpful uses, benzodiazepines can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Dependence can result in withdrawal symptoms and even seizures when they are stopped abruptly. Dependence and withdrawal occur in only a very small percentage of people taking normal doses for short periods. The symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to distinguish from anxiety. Symptoms usually develop anywhere from 3-4 days after last use to up to two weeks, although they can appear earlier with shorter-acting varieties.
Entering Salt Recovery for benzodiazepine addiction
In recovery, you can address a benzodiazepine addiction in a safe and private environment. It’s an environment away from negative triggers and where there’s lots of positive empowerment and guided support.
Once you are settled, the treatment process can begin. Recovering at Salt will incorporate many therapies. You may attend group and individual therapy, and there are five-star amenities and activities to take advantage of, too. Therapy sessions include:
Psychotherapy: This therapy treatment is a big part of benzodiazepine addiction treatment. Cognitive behavioural therapy, in particular, helps you learn how to cope and change negative thinking.
Support Groups: These are great when dealing with a that can feel isolating. Support groups let clients share frustrations, celebrate successes and find referrals for specialists. They also provide a space for forming healthy friendships filled with encouragement to stay clean.
Holistic wellness practices: Art therapy, meditation classes and other forms of wellness practices help deal with a benzodiazepine addiction. Often, a person’s mental health is the big cause of substance abuse disorders. Removing negative triggers and introducing healthy habits allows a person to rest. It also helps calm their mind and learn the tools they need to prolong their recovery for the rest of their lives.
Symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction:
Behavioural: extreme drowsiness, lethargy, sluggishness, inactivity, lack of interest in surroundings or daily activities and responsibilities.
Physical: changes to sex drive or performance, constipation, dizziness, light headedness, dry mouth, headache, nausea, salivation.