There is no doubt that drug addiction is one of the biggest problems in the United States. While most people think of addiction regarding hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin, there is a rampant addiction to prediction drugs as well. Benzodiazepines are one of the commonest types of medication in the United States. In fact, doctors often prescribe them for conditions such as;
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Seizure control
- . Restless Leg Syndrome
- . Nausea and vomiting
- Inducing amnesia in some medical procedures
- . General anesthesia
Benzodiazepines have a calming/sedating/relaxing effect on the body, and this makes them highly addictive. According to experts, chronic use of benzodiazepines can cause addiction and a subsequent dependence on the drugs. These include possible effects such as;
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of self-confidence
- Statistics on Benzodiazepine Abuse
Experts estimate that there are at least 2,000 different types of benzos in the global market. However, in the United States, less than 20 are FDA-approved. These include brand names such as Xanax, Valium, Librium, Klonopin and Niravam just to mention a few.
i. Most cases of benzodiazepine addiction are reported among those who have received legal medical prescriptions.
ii. SAMSHA asserts that the recreational use of benzodiazepines is the highest among all the pharmaceutical drugs. They also note that recreationally, Xanax is the most popular benzo.
iii. Research has established that in 82% of benzodiazepine abuse cases, the drug is frequently used as a secondary drug to opiates and alcohol.
iv. In 2002, at least 100,000 of all drug-related emergency room cases were from benzodiazepine abuse.
v. In 2014, there were at least eight thousand benzodiazepine addiction related deaths in the United States.
Possible Behavioral Signs of Addiction
Benzodiazepine addiction often creeps up unexpectedly not only on recreational users but also on those using the medication for therapeutic purposes as a prescription drug. It is particularly the case when there is prolonged use of the drug. Luckily, some obvious behavioral signs are often exhibited. These may include;
- The user develops a total disregard of the value of life. Subsequently, they may engage hazardous behavior.
- The user abruptly stops attending family events, or even keeping in touch with friends, relatives, and even the workplace.
- Users may start having pill bottles from different doctors.
- Users may exhibit unhygienic tendencies.
- Benzodiazepine addicts may also start getting detached from hobbies and activities that they previously considered fun and enjoyable.
- Some users may start forging prescriptions, buying from the black market or even stealing prescriptions and pills.
- Some users may also show signs of increased irritability and even aggression.
Signs of Abuse among Teenagers and Senior Adults
Benzodiazepine addiction is also possible among adolescents and older adults. Among teenage girls, for example, misuse of the medication often triggers distinct behavioral signs. According to experts, this phenomenon is known as paradoxical disinhibition. Users develop a range of anti-social behaviors which include;.
- Lowered inhibitions among users.
- In fact, some users may even abrupt in attacks of rage and violence.
- Increased irritability
- An increased affinity for impulsive behavior.
- Super excitement
Among older adults, signs of benzodiazepine abuse may include increased occurrence of slips and falls, accelerated cognitive deterioration, shallow breath, drowsiness and even sweating among others.
Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction
Different symptoms may occur depending on the degree of abuse or the measure of the dose. In cases where there is an overdose or where violence is almost qualifying as overdose, addicts may experience any of the following symptoms;
- Feelings of weakness and exhaustion
- Poor decision-making abilities and poor judgment
- An impairment of the users motor coordination
- Dizziness and feeling light-headed.
- Shallow and in most cases, difficult breathing
While the symptoms mentioned above are rather mild in nature, the symptoms may worsen in situations of chronic benzodiazepine use and addiction. The following symptoms may therefore emerge;
- Chronic headaches
- Severe memory loss
- Heightened risk of going into a coma
- A possibility of death particularly when the medication is taken together with alcohol.
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings
According to experts, the severe symptoms in cases of chronic benzodiazepine addiction are a direct consequence of the brain’s acquired dependency on the drug. Without the medication, the brain just can’t function normally. Most of these symptoms also double up as withdrawal symptoms.