The American Centers wants everyone to become more knowledgeable about the dangers of Benzodiazepines (benzos). As these prescriptions are becoming more prevalent in our society they are creating a large number of patients to become addicted. These benzos, also more popularly known as Ambien, Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, and Valium, are usually prescribed to treat medical conditions such as seizures and anxiety. However, they can be dangerously addictive.
Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, the Chief Medical Officer, at American Addiction Centers recently joined other professionals in a recent article discussing the benzo addiction. Dr. Weinstein cautions that your first treatment option should not be a benzo for most patients. They should be considered as a second or third line of defense. If prescribed there should be a clear end date to prevent addiction.
He also suggests, if a benzo is prescribed, that you have a major discussion with your prescribing physician. This should include a thorough discussion of the side effects and signs of increased tolerance leading to addiction.
Dr. Weinstein believes that education is a key to knowing and understanding your prescription. Above all, everyone needs to understand that there is a strong likelihood of addiction for any patient prescribed a benzo on a long-term treatment basis.
People using benzodiazepines continues to increase. According to Weinstein, a 2018 study discovered that one in eight adults have used benzos during the last year. Of those numbers, 17% were abusing the drug.
This indicates that the increased usage leads to an increased number of patients suffering from benzo addiction. This does not mean that the abuse is intentional. Weinstein cautioned that it can take a few months, or less, to become addicted.
As previously mentioned, Dr. Weinstein believes that benzos should not be your first line of defense. He believes your condition should be treated with lower-risk drugs or through non-pharmacological interventions. For example, he suggests the use of SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which offer a much less likelihood of abuse.
Though SSRIs are more often used to treat depression they are also a good choice for people suffering from chronic anxiety. If drugs are not prescribed there are strong interventions such as therapy and relaxation techniques. They result in being the safest option. They are very effective in the management of anxiety.
If you or someone you know might be suffering from Benzodiazepine abuse there are symptoms to be aware of which include: difficulty breathing, a lack of coordination, dizziness, mood changes blurred vision, weakness, slurred speech, drowsiness, or poor judgment and decision making.
Usually, an addiction can be observed as the abuser shows an increasing amount of time looking for and then abusing benzos. S/he will also exhibit uncharacteristic behaviors.
There are many behaviors such as withdrawal from friends, a shift in moods, engaging in risk-taking behaviors, stealing or borrowing money are just a few. Also, you may find prescriptions from several different doctors. Or, the same type of benzo prescribed from different pharmacies all during the same period. Benzos are also available from friends, drug dealers, and so forth.
If a person becomes a chronic abuser of Benzodiazepines there can be grave consequences which can result in death, coma, anxiety, headaches, tremors, memory issues, anorexia, and insomnia. Death is rare unless the user is mixing benzos with opioids or alcohol.
Before you, a friend, or family member reaches this crisis point it is imperative to contact American Addiction Centers.
They have many locations and they will offer you a medical detox. This will be followed by intensive therapy and continued aftercare. They know how to help addicts and they are always there to help you.
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