Benzodiazepine Addiction

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Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are prescription medications used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and conditions. They are a highly addictive substance and, when used in conjunction with alcohol and opioids, can be fatal. Combining benzodiazepines with other drugs that cause a sedative effect can be unsafe because they can impair cognitive function and suppress breathing, which is the primary cause of overdose fatality.

Benzos cause dopamine levels to surge. This intense wave of pleasure is understandably rewarding and can prove overwhelming, especially to those predisposed to benzodiazepine addiction.

Commonly misused prescriptive oral benzodiazepines include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax, Xanax XR)
  • Clobazam (Onfi)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Diazepam (Valium, Diastat Acudial, Diastat)
  • Estazolam (Prosom is a discontinued brand in the U.S.)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Oxazepam (Serax is a discontinued brand in the U.S.)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)


Effects on the Brain

When benzos accumulate in the body, they alter the structure and function of specific receptors in the brain. As a result, progression to benzodiazepine addiction can be rapid. Tolerance can develop after just six months of use, though a person can become physically dependent much sooner.

Our Headwaters Center for Brain Recovery (CBR) provides evidence-based, leading-edge interventions designed to heal the brain on a fundamental level. We incorporate interrelated principles from health psychology and psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) to address how mental and physical health interact. 

Signs of Use

Family members may be the first to recognize signs of a benzodiazepine addiction in their loved ones. Always seek professional help when attempting to quit a benzodiazepine addiction, because many side effects and withdrawal symptoms can be life-altering, particularly for people who have used the drug for six months or longer. 

Benzodiazepines come with a host of common side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Impaired memory
  • Loss of balance
  • Changes in appetite
  • Reduced libido
  • Fatigue

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • Hand tremors
  • Dry heaving
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Stiffness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sleep problems

Without medically-supervised detox, benzodiazepine withdrawal can result in death. Because withdrawal is hugely unpleasant, many people continue to use benzos to avoid the experience. Headwaters offers a state-of-the-art, safe, and comfortable detox that helps to eliminate the severe side effects of withdrawal and a possible benzodiazepine addiction. Medical detox and care for both acute and chronic conditions is a critical component of treatment at Headwaters.

Nurses at Headwaters detox

Medical Detox

Treatment of benzodiazepines at Headwaters begins with medical detox led by licensed physicians, including medical doctors and psychiatrists and 24-hour nursing staff. A complete picture of a client’s medical history is incorporated in our treatment plans that address:

  • Co-occurring disorders (a.k.a. “dual diagnoses”)
  • Malnutrition
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Insomnia or other sleep disorders
  • Brain damage
  • Impaired memory

Ongoing Care

Effective clinical substance use disorder programming is key to ongoing stabilization and sobriety. Headwaters inpatient and outpatient programs offer fully integrated cognitive therapies, ongoing medical care, wellness activities, and counseling sessions. In addition, with a host of resort-grade, exceptional amenities and gourmet meals, our facilities offer safety and luxury as you embark on the important work of recovery.

At Headwaters, we offer fully integrated services and cutting-edge, ongoing care that enacts real, lasting change for our clients. Some examples include:

  • Medical care
  • Psychiatric care
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Chronic pain management
  • Wellness activities
  • Recreational therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Group therapy
  • Recovery-based support groups

Contact Headwaters Today

Headwaters is dedicated to helping our clients achieve lifelong, sustainable, and complete recovery. Sobriety is possible for everyone, primarily through evidence-based interventions that restore mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Break the cycle of benzodiazepine addiction and begin your journey to freedom and fulfillment by calling Headwaters at 561-270-1753.
Address: 933 45th Street,
West Palm Beach, FL 33407

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