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Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Feb 5, 2024

Because of their calming and sedative effects, benzodiazepines, or benzos, are commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. However, their abuse or improper management can result in a variety of issues, including increased tolerance, addiction, and adverse side effects. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of benzos, shedding light on their common side effects and the risks of misuse. We’ll also discuss when to look into treatment options, which will help you better understand and navigate the complexities of benzo use and misuse.

While benzos serve a critical role in managing anxiety and other conditions, their misuse poses significant risks, including physical health threats and potential addiction. Benzo abuse can lead to respiratory issues, memory problems, and increased accident risks.

What are Benzodiazepines Used for?

Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive medications that are used to treat anxiety and promote sedation and muscle relaxation. They are commonly used to treat a variety of conditions, such as anxiety disorders, panic attacks, insomnia, and certain seizure disorders. Benzos’ prescription dosage and duration can vary depending on the specific condition and the individual’s response to treatment. They are usually prescribed in low to moderate doses for short-term use to relieve acute symptoms or to manage occasional episodes of anxiety or sleep disturbances. Longer-term use may be considered in cases of severe anxiety or panic disorders, but only under careful medical supervision to minimize the risk of developing a substance use disorder and other potential side effects.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse

The following common signs and symptoms may be noticeable in someone who has been abusing benzos. Recognizing these warning signs is critical for early intervention and seeking treatment for benzo abuse, as these signs can lead to addiction and a variety of negative physical and mental health consequences.

  • Compulsive Drug-Seeking Behavior: You engage in desperate attempts to acquire benzos.
  • Cravings: You feel frequent urges to use benzos.
  • Doctor Shopping: You seek multiple prescriptions from different physicians.
  • Drowsiness and Sedation: You experience excessive sleepiness or appear constantly drowsy.
  • Impaired Coordination: You have difficulty walking or maintaining balance.
  • Increased Tolerance: You feel a need for higher doses for the same effect.
  • Memory and Concentration Issues: You experience forgetfulness and have difficulty focusing.
  • Mood Swings: You have unexplained changes in mood or behavior.
  • Neglect of Responsibilities: You disregard work, school, or personal commitments.
  • Slurred Speech: You exhibit difficulty articulating words clearly.
  • Social Isolation: You withdraw from friends and family.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: You experience discomfort when not using the drug. Common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and seizures. These may vary in intensity depending on the duration and dosage of benzo use.
If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-270-1753.

Dangers of Abusing Benzos

The dangers of abusing benzos range from mild to severe. Misuse can cause common side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and cognitive impairment, which can interfere with daily functioning. Moderate risks include tolerance development, in which higher doses are required to achieve the desired effects, potentially leading to increased reliance on the drug. Physical and psychological addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and long-term cognitive impairments are among the more serious risks. Prolonged benzo abuse can also cause severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, which can be fatal. Finally, the most serious risk is the possibility of overdose, especially when combined with other substances, such as opioids, which can cause respiratory depression and, in the worst-case scenario, fatal outcomes.

Help for Benzos Abuse at Headwaters

Our dedicated team of addiction specialists provides comprehensive support to individuals seeking recovery from a history of benzo misuse. Headwaters offers a range of evidence-based treatment options tailored to the unique needs of each person. We emphasize a holistic approach that addresses the physical aspects of addiction and the psychological and emotional factors contributing to misuse. By fostering a supportive and understanding environment, Headwaters guides you through the process of breaking free from Benzos addiction and empowers you to regain control of your life and achieve lasting sobriety.


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Bedroom at HeadwatersHanley Foundation’s Headwaters is a non-profit addiction treatment program for executives, public figures, other affluent individuals, and their loved ones. Headwaters offers leading-edge, personalized clinical care for mental health and substance use disorders, and our professional and compassionate staff can help you achieve holistic wellness. To start your healing journey, call 561-270-1753 today.

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