Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are psychoactive drugs used to treat many different conditions including anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, and even alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines include drugs such as Niravam, Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Halcion, Restoril, Tranxene, and Alprazolam. They work by making the nerves in the brain less sensitive to stimulation, creating a calming effect. Unfortunately, although benzos do a lot of good, the risk for abuse and addiction is very high. According to an article written by drugabuse.gov:
Among past-year benzodiazepine misusers, 46.3% reported that the motivation for their most recent misuse was to relax or relieve tension, followed by helping with sleep (22.4%). About 5.7% reported “experimentation” as their main motivation for misuse, and 11.8% reported using them to “get high” or because of being “hooked.’
The standard way that benzos are taken orally is in a small tablet form. For addicts who abuse benzodiazepines, swallowing pills may not be enough and they may crush up the pills to either snort, smoke, or even inject them. This is so that they can get the entire dose of the drug all at once, causing a near-instantaneous euphoric high which increases the relaxing and calming effect of benzos. Not only does using benzodiazepines in any way other than is prescribed by a doctor very dangerous, especially injecting it, it is also deadly as it increases the risk for an overdose.
Having all of that substance rushing through you and to your brain at one time dangerously increases depression of the central nervous system, slowing the heart rate and breathing. This can even cause the heart to stop beating if it slows down too quickly.
The Risks of Injecting Benzodiazepines
Like previously mentioned, when you inject or “shoot” benzos, you greatly increase your risk of overdosing and dying. That fact alone, you would think, should be enough to deter people from doing it, but unfortunately, it isn’t if you are an addict. Injecting anything directly into your veins, including benzodiazepines, can leave you at risk for abscesses, sores, and infections. It also causes serious damage to your heart and other organs. Shooting up also leaves you at a higher risk for Hepatitis C and/or HIV if you are sharing your needles with other users.
There are signs and symptoms to look out for if you think you are or know someone who might be addicted to benzodiazepines. They include:
- Physical weakness
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Lack of motor skills
- Difficulty breathing
- Poor decision-making ability
- Memory problems
- Doctor shopping
- Mood changes
Help with Benzodiazepine Addiction
If you or someone you love are ready to take the necessary steps to get sober, the best way to start is with a medically assisted detox process. Due to the brain rewiring after prolonged use, withdrawal symptoms can be extremely intense and even deadly when you abruptly stop. These symptoms include seizures, coma, hallucinations, muscle pain, cramping, and even suicidal thoughts, to name a few. Medical detox is always recommended and your doctors will come up with the best plan for you to safely detox the benzos from your system.
Once you have detoxed, the best and safest option to get off of and stay off benzodiazepines is by the use of one of the many treatment programs we offer at Garden State. We offer many different treatment programs that provide therapeutic education and guidance for each individual to help them safely reintegrate into society. With the help of our team of therapists, we offer one on one, group therapy, as well as many other specialized options to fit each person’s needs. Benzodiazepine treatment requires a multi-layered approach for maximum success. We want to make sure you have the tools you need to avoid relapse in the real world.
Addiction isn’t an easy thing to face. Luckily you do not have to face it on your own. Our admissions counselors and professionals are available around the clock. We are ready to help you or a loved one overcome the disease of addiction. Now is the time to change your life. Let us help you do it.