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Benzodiazepine is a growing drug problem in the United States, and is – unfortunately – often times a prescribed medication. In fact, Benzodiazepine (Benzos) calculated for 19.7% of all emergency department visits in 2010. Also according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), benzo-related emergency department visits increase by an alarming 141% between 2004 and 2010. Unfortunately, a lot of Benzo overdose deaths are accidental, and often occur when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Of the 22,134 deaths in 2010, nearly 6,500 of those were benzodiazepine related.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzos are, ironically, prescribed by a person’s doctor in many cases. Like any other addictive prescription drug, benzos – such as Xanax, valium, and anitvan – can typically be bought on the street as well. There is an ongoing push by a lot of doctors to remove benzos from the list of prescribed medications because of the growing rate of benzodiazepine related deaths.

When benzos are prescribed, it is usually to treat the following mental and physical disorders:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Alcohol Withdrawal

In addition to the treatment of these disorders, benzos are also given to patients during surgeries as an anesthetic, or to induce amnesia. Benzodiazepines act as a tranquilizer and can have a generally calming effect in a person’s body. There are up to 2,000 different benzodiazepines produced, and only 15 of those are approved by the FDA, with another 20 kinds being sold illicitly on the street. These different kinds of benzos range from ultra-short acting, short-acting, and long-acting.

Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Abuse

Benzodiazepine can cause the user to feel as if they have just taken a sedative – the muscles will relax, the person will feel as if they are in a hypnotic or sleep-induced state, all anxiety will be forgotten as they enter into a euphoric state.

The signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse are similar to most common symptoms that an addict will display:

  • Disregard of regular duties (work, home and school)
  • Always late or regularly absent from commitments
  • Neglecting family members
  • Extreme sleepiness and fatigue – even when operating a vehicle
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dizziness/blurred vision
  • Slurred speech

As mentioned before, doctors are torn as to whether or not benzodiazepines actually help those with the conditions that they are prescribed to treat. A large argument that supports those against the prescription of benzos – the chronic abuse of the drug, will actually reverse its effects on the person, and cause the feelings of anxiety, insomnia, anorexia, and other disorders that they were initially supposed to treat.

How Do I Get Help?

It’s important to note, that benzodiazepines are not the only way to get help with anxiety, depression, or any of the other disorders or feelings that they are prescribed to treat. It’s critical that you explore other options – medication or not – before agreeing to be prescribed benzodiazepines.

If you or a loved one takes benzodiazepines by prescription – or if bought illicitly – and are showing signs and experiencing symptoms of benzo abuse, get help immediately. Contact Serentiy Acres today and ask about our benzodiazepine abuse therapy. Serenity Acres has many different treatment and therapy options to ensure that you or your loved one can be set on the path to sobriety and succeed. 

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