Benzodiazepine Addiction: Could Benzos Bring the Next Big Drug Crisis?
Could benzodiazepine addiction create the next drug epidemic? Just like the Opioid Epidemic grew from a continual increase in prescription opioid abuse, the use of benzodiazepines has increased over the past several years. From the class of benzodiazepines, drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan are classified as Schedule 4 Controlled Substances, which means using the drug could lead to physical and/or psychological dependence.
The amount of prescriptions for benzodiazepines increased 67% from 1996 to 2013, according to a study listed on the National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. This is similar to how opioids were overprescribed for years, leaving many addicted to the prescription pills and looking for more on the street, or even heroin as a cheaper alternative. Benzodiazepine addiction and benzodiazepine overdose is a reality for some people, though the rates for overdose deaths from benzodiazepines are far less than opioid overdose deaths, which claimed 42,000 lives in 2016. While benzodiazepine overdose deaths are hardly a fraction of opioid related deaths, benzos have taken the lives of approximately 9,000 people in 2015 and this should not go ignored.
Understanding Benzodiazepine Addiction
A benzodiazepine addiction can happen even when the medication is given as a prescription because the body can become physically dependent. This is noticed when someone who is taking the prescription regularly stops taking it and goes through withdrawal. Benzodiazepines can even be bought on the street from drug dealers, which can be dangerous not only because the body can get dependent on it, but because you never really know what you are putting into your body when you buy drugs illegally.
Symptoms of withdrawal from benzodiazepines can include anxiety, panic attacks, agitation, inability to concentrate, headaches, insomnia, sickness, heart palpitations, and sweating. Serious withdrawal effects can even include having the shakes, seizures, and psychosis. The best way to treat a benzodiazepine addiction is not cold-turkey but rather at a medical detox and inpatient drug rehab facility, where the individual can be weaned off the substance and monitored properly.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a benzodiazepine addition, there is help. The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs is a fully licensed alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility that can provide the treatment you need to recover. Call The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, benzodiazepines, drug addiction, understanding addiction, withdrawal, withdrawal symptoms