Benzodiazepine Addiction: What You Need to Know

Many people who suffer from panic and anxiety will be prescribed benzodiazepines by their psychiatrist. This is the class of drugs that includes Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan. These drugs are also prescribed for sleep disorders as they are central nervous system depressants. When they are used long term, they are extremely addictive.

Types of Benzodiazepines

There are many different benzodiazepines that are currently prescribed in America, including:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Estazolam (ProSom)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Halazepam (Paxipam)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Oxazepam (Serax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Prazepam (Centrax)
  • Quazepam (Doral)

Signs of Abuse

So what are the signs of benzodiazepine abuse or addiction?

A person who is abusing these medications may experience:

  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Amnesia
  • Unsteadiness while moving
  • Hostility
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Irritability
  • Vivid dreams
  • Confusion

Benzodiazepines can be deadly when combined with other drugs, especially opiates like heroin. And when benzodiazepines are taken in high dosages, they can lead to comas.

Long-term benzo abuse can be indicated if a person becomes detached or apathetic. If he or she is sedated most of the time and doesn’t seem to care about anything, they may be abusing benzos.

Benzodiazepine Recovery

If you or someone you know and love is addicted to Xanax, Valium, Ativan, etc., it is important to seek help. Many rehabilitation facilities will treat benzodiazepine addiction. You can also join a 12-step recovery group like Narcotics Anonymous or another recovery group like SMART Recovery. Many people are dealing with addiction to these drugs, and it’s quite a serious problem.

What is the Solution?

While we do acknowledge that sometimes benzodiazepines are the only answer for particularly debilitating panic attacks or severe bouts of anxiety, we believe one of the best ways to combat benzo addiction would be for psychiatrists and physicians to take a more holistic approach to the treating of anxiety. If fewer benzodiazepines are prescribed, abuse would dramatically decrease.

We know this will not change overnight. In the meantime, we invite those of you who do have anxiety or panic disorders to try natural solutions before trying medications like Xanax or Valium. These treatment methods are often much more effective as a long-term solution.