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Can You Get Addicted To Benzodiazepines

Reasons For Valium Addiction

How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Benzos?

Valium is most often used by people who need help dealing with the stress of daily life. These people are also the ones most likely to abuse it. While there are several reasons for Valium abuse, many of those abusing the drug dont take it to get high. They take it to feel normal to relieve stress and anxiety. People also abuse Valium because it helps them sleep. Valium produces a sense of intense calm and euphoria, especially in higher doses.

makes it so you have no problem. I mean the house could burn down and youd just sit there saying, OK, this is all right.

– Former Valium addict Sayra Small, NPR, 2014

Many people mistakenly think that because it is legal, Valium must be safe and less addictive than street drugs like Heroin or Cocaine. Due in part to these misconceptions, many people have accidentally overdosed.

Some signs of a Valium overdose include:

  • Bluish lips
  • About

Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

Clinically Reviewed:

Theresa Parisi

  • About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Increased Access And Increased Accidents

In 2012, over 49 million prescriptions were written for alprazolam, the drug behind the brand name Xanax. This made Xanax the 2nd most often prescribed psychoactive medication, after the opiate narcotic hydrocodone. Some of these prescriptions were used by individuals with anxiety disorders, but many were sold for illicit use.

Increased use led to increased addiction and increased health risks. Between 2005 and 2011, emergency room visits related to Xanax use more than doubled. When these emergency room visits involved the combination of Xanax and alcohol, a fatal overdose was too often the end result.

Young adults age 18 to 25 are the most vulnerable to Xanax addiction, simply because approximately twice as many individuals in this age group use the drug than individuals age 26 and olderand Xanax is so highly addictive that any use, illicit or by prescription, will almost always lead to dependence. Because Xanax is a controlled substance, even individuals with a doctor willing to prescribe the drug will eventually be forced to turn to illicit sources after they have reached the legal limit of how many scripts can be written for a single patient.

Top Treatment Options For Benzo Addiction

If you or someone you know has a benzo addiction, it is important to know there are professional treatment options available to you such as:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Adventure therapy

These are a few of the options you have to treat an addiction to benzos. You can talk to our team to talk about each treatment option.

Recommended Reading: How To Get Help For Addiction Without Insurance

How Xanax Affects The Mind

Often, people who are abusing Xanax have anxiety disorders they were trying to treat with the drug. Some 20 percent of Americans suffer from anxiety, Everyday Health reports.

Even when used in a medicinal fashion, dependency will generally still occur. The first sign of this is tolerance. With tolerance, Xanax stops working as well, even as a treatment medication. Those with anxiety will see a return of symptoms and may feel inclined to up their dose in order to keep symptoms at bay. Throughout this process, the brain is becoming more reliant upon the drug to feel normal.

When people are mentally addicted to Xanax, they wont be able to keep their minds off thoughts of the drug. In addition to the health risks associated with detoxing alone, quitting without professional intervention is extremely hard to do since users minds are compulsively driving them to use again.

The mental impact of withdrawing from Xanax can be turbulent. The mind becomes accustomed to the drug and can go through periods of insomnia, depression, paranoia, and irritability while trying to come off it. The majority of withdrawal symptoms can be treated during medical detox to make the process as comfortable as possible for those in detox.

As many as 44 percent of chronic benzodiazepine users ultimately become dependent on their drug of choice, the Journal of Addictive Behaviors notes. Addiction is often due to psychological factors that influence individuals to keep using.

Benzodiazepine Abuse Treatment Self

How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Benzos?

Drug abusers often deny their problem by playing down the extent of their drug use or blaming job or family stress. The most important thing that can be done at home is to recognize that there may be a problem and to seek help. Learn more about how addiction impacts families.

  • Awareness of the signs and symptoms of abuse help with recognition.
  • The next step is to try to obtain help for the person. This can be done either through your doctor or by contacting many of the drug abuse help lines in your community.


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Benzodiazepine Dependence: Reduce The Risk

Benzodiazepine dependence is of increasing concern. Health professionals play a key role in reducing drug misuse and dependence. Read more.

Benzodiazepines are widely used and one of the most commonly misused classes of prescription drugs in Australia. Dependence on benzodiazepines is more likely to occur with prolonged use and is becoming of increasing concern.

Long-term prescribing and its effects on the CNS are contributing factors to benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. GPs and pharmacists play a key role in educating patients and carers about the safe and appropriate use of benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines To Treat Alcohol Withdrawal

When those with an alcohol dependency abruptly stop drinking alcohol, they experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. While all symptoms may be uncomfortable or painful, some can be life-threatening. Comprehensive alcohol recovery treatment plans often include benzodiazepines to help reduce withdrawal symptoms including:

  • anxiety
  • shakes or tremors
  • sleep difficulties

More severe and potentially dangerous symptoms may include hallucinations, seizures, or delirium tremens . Extensive research has shown benzodiazepines to be the most effective medication for the reduction of withdrawal symptoms.

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Alarming Facts About Benzo Addiction

People tend to use benzodiazepines because they work, plain and simple. A group of prescription sedatives, benzodiazepines are classified as Schedule IV in the Controlled Substances Act and are most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, namely under the brand names Xanax, Ativan, and Valium.1

They work on the neurotransmitter GABA to calm nerve impulses, which also helps calm anxiety. The state of wellbeing that results quickly creates loyal fans of its usersfor many, this is where the trouble can begin.

Most people understand that they should take a prescription medication as instructed, yet perhaps fewer fully understand the implications of deviating from their prescription. This is particularly dangerous with benzos, since their chemical composition and action in the body make them especially easy to abuse.

These 5 alarming facts about benzo addiction may surprise you.

The Ins And Outs Of Xanax Addiction

Benzodiazepine Dependence and Withdrawal – How To Avoid This

Every year, doctors write more than 50 million prescriptions for Xanax. While some individuals use those prescriptions appropriately, many more suffer from a Xanax addiction and abuse them. Xanax addiction can have deadly consequences.

It is crucial to become aware of these dangers and how to recover from them as well. No matter what stage youre in, it is possible to start the road to long-term sobriety. Learning more about this drug, and addiction can be a key step toward recovery.

Read Also: Why Do Drug Addicts Lose Teeth

Can You Become Addicted To Benzodiazepines

  • Can You Become Addicted to Benzodiazepines?
  • Oftentimes illegal drug use stems from misuse of a prescription drug. This initial misuse can lead to tolerance and act as a gateway for more improper use and illegal ingestion of the drug.

    Benzodiazepines are a category of prescription drug that can be misused. To understand whether or not you or a loved one are struggling with benzos, it is important to know what it is, how it impacts the body, what withdrawal symptoms look like and how to get help for benzodiazepine addiction.

    If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction Starbridge Recovery can help.

    Causes Of Benzo Addiction

    Despite being a prescription drug with medical benefits, abusing benzodiazepines is increasingly common. Research shows that benzos are addictive in a similar way to opiates and marijuana. These drugs cause a change in the brain that increases levels of dopamine, a hormone that makes you feel happy. The repeated use of benzos is rewarding because when you receive a dopamine increase, it puts you in a happy mood.

    Addiction experts indicate that a physical dependence to benzos develops more quickly among those taking high doses of the drug. Long-term use of more powerful benzos like Xanax can also increase your chance of benzo addiction. When you use benzos, you risk developing a psychological dependence on the drug and seek out higher doses to achieve the same effects.

    According to research, 80 percent of people who abuse benzos also abuse other drugs, most often opiates like heroin. Alcohol abuse and benzo abuse also commonly occur together. Benzos are preferred among people who abuse other drugs because they help manage withdrawal symptoms and even enhance the high associated with other substances. Additionally, those who abuse benzos typically obtain the drugs via prescription, whether their own or someone elses.

    Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Substance Abuse And Addiction

    How Benzodiazepines Affect The Body

    The effects of benzodiazepines depend on the strength of the dose, the physical make-up of the person taking them and their state of mind. Common effects of benzodiazepines include:

    • relief from anxiety
    • experience nausea
    • have sleeping problems.

    Overdoses are usually characterised by slow, shallow breathing which may lead to unconsciousness, coma and potentially death.

    This is more common if benzodiazepines are combined with other drugs such as alcohol, painkillers, antidepressants, antihistamines, or heroin.

    If you suspect an overdose, call triple zero for an ambulance immediately.

    Do You Need To Go Into Rehab

    What are Benzodiazepines: Origin, Effects, and Treatment ...

    Because of the severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, users generally start their recovery by gradually reducing their dosage. For most users, this can be done over the course of a few weeks, though for those on a high dosage the process may take longer. This is designed to wean the patient off the drug as safely and comfortably as possible. Since the effects of the withdrawal can be painful and traumatic even when the dosage is tapered off, the patient me be prescribed anti-anxiety and anticonvulsant medication to help them through the process.

    Detox is only the first part of the recovery process for long term success, treatment must focus on addressing the mental damage caused by benzo abuse, as well as the emotional difficulties that led to drug use in the first place. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology suggests that one of the most effective tools for this is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , an active talking therapy designed to address difficulties and retrain the brain out of destructive habits.

    CBT itself should be assisted by group therapy, in which people in recovery from benzo addiction work through difficulties together. A considerable amount of research shows that group therapy significantly increases the chances of recovery from any addiction.

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    Using Often Creates Cognitive Impairment

    As increasing numbers of people were prescribed benzosand stayed on them for years, despite their recommended short-term applicationdoctors noticed a worrying trend: cognitive impairment in the form of forgetting things they previously knew or could easily recall, and forgetting how to perform tasks they once knew.

    So researchers explored the connection between these impairments and benzodiazepine use and found consistent links between doses of the medication and cognitive deficiencies.Especially telling was the fact that study participants who were both older and younger than age 60 experienced the same impairment as a result of benzo use, thus reducing the alternative explanation that the declines were due to natural aging in the older demographic.6

    Still, the cognitive impairment studied here fell short of dementia. But this is not always the case

    What Else Should I Consider Before Taking Benzodiazepines


    Benzodiazepines do not have any known effects on sexual performance. But drowsiness might have an impact on your sex life.


    Benzodiazepines should not be used regularly during pregnancy. They should only be used to help control seizures. If benzodiazepines are taken during pregnancy, this can affect the baby when it is born. The baby can get withdrawal symptoms. The baby can have breathing problems and low body temperature.

    Tell your midwife and other healthcare professionals if you’ve been taking benzodiazepines through your pregnancy.

    But there is no evidence to say that taking benzodiazepines before pregnancy will have a negative effect on pregnancy or birth.


    You should not breastfeed while taking benzodiazepines. Medication you take will be in your breast milk.

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    Its Easy To Become Addicted To Xanax

    Even when Xanax is taken as prescribed, anyone can become addicted to Xanax. Dependence happens rapidly with benzos. Since Xanax addiction, or physical dependence, can occur quickly, it is crucial to recognize the effects of Xanax and the symptoms of Xanax addiction. Its also important to know the difference between Xanax abuse and long-term Xanax addiction. The countrys treatment centers have seen many long-time Xanax users with depressive symptoms.

    Treatment For A Benzodiazepine Addiction

    How You Can Avoid Benzodiazepine Addiction!

    At Priory, our Addiction Treatment Programmes are designed to help people address their addictions, and learn strategies so that they are able to sustain a drug-free life going forward.

    When a person is physically dependent on a substance such as benzodiazepines, these treatment programmes will typically include detoxification. This allows a person to withdraw in a safe environment with constant care from our team, who will be able to manage and mitigate the drug withdrawal symptoms experienced.

    Residential stays at Priory are recommended to many of the people that we support, as it provides a person with the opportunity to work on themselves and their sobriety by attending workshops, group therapy sessions, and individual key working time. During this time, they have the opportunity to learn more about the causes and triggers of their addiction, discover ways to improve their self-worth and confidence, and develop strategies for a long-lasting recovery going forward.

    *Individuals with dual diagnosis may need to be assessed by a Consultant Psychiatrist which is a chargeable appointment.

    Blog reviewed by Claire Rimmer , Dip.Psychology, FDAD ), Lead Addiction Therapist at Priory Hospital Altrincham

    For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call 0800 144 8969 or . For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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    The Committee On The Review Of Medicines

    The Committee on the Review of Medicines carried out a review into benzodiazepines due to significant concerns of tolerance, drug dependence, benzodiazepine withdrawal problems, and other adverse effects and published the results in the British Medical Journal in March 1980. The committee found that benzodiazepines do not have any antidepressant or analgesic properties and are, therefore, unsuitable treatments for conditions such as depression, tension headaches, and dysmenorrhea. Benzodiazepines are also not beneficial in the treatment of psychosis. The committee also recommended against benzodiazepines for use in the treatment of anxiety or insomnia in children.

    The committee was in agreement with the Institute of Medicine and the conclusions of a study carried out by the White House Office of Drug Policy and the National Institute on Drug Abuse that there is little evidence that long-term use of benzodiazepine hypnotics are beneficial in the treatment of insomnia due to the development of tolerance. Benzodiazepines tend to lose their sleep-promoting properties within 3â14 days of continuous use, and, in the treatment of anxiety, the committee found that there was little convincing evidence that benzodiazepines retains efficacy in the treatment of anxiety after 4 months of continuous use due to the development of tolerance.

    The committee also made a mistake concluding:

    What Kind Of Xanax Addiction Treatment Is Available

    Xanax addiction treatment should begin with a medically-monitored detox at a qualified addiction rehab facility that provides 24/7 medical care. This is both to protect you from risky withdrawal symptoms and health complications, and to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the process. You shouldnt start off your recovery with unnecessary suffering and risk.

    Medical detox at an inpatient Xanax addiction treatment program will begin with a slow, gradual tapering of your dosage. This will minimize withdrawal symptoms and health risks. You will also receive care for any co-occurring mental or physical health issues that may have been masked by or caused by your Xanax use.

    Checking into a rehabilitation facility for detox will also keep you from turning to Xanax again because you know it will rapidly bring you relief from your untreated detox symptoms. In addition, most treatment facilities will have you begin to undergo counseling and attend group therapy sessions, even before your detox is complete, allowing you to start healing the psychological side of your addiction.

    Dont put your health and happiness at risk by suffering in silence, or trying to recover from Xanax addiction on your own. There are effective, affordable treatment options to turn to, no matter what your circumstances may be.

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    Signs Of Misuse Symptoms & Side Effects

    Identifying the signs of someone struggling with benzodiazepine addiction can be confusing. However, there are a variety of signs that can reveal that someone is misusing benzos. Its crucial to take notice of the signs before the symptoms become deadly.

    • Physical Abuse Symptoms:
  • Vivid or disturbing dreams
  • Behavioral Symptoms:

    Those who struggle with a benzo addiction may suffer in different aspects of their life. They may cut themselves off from their friends and family to avoid judgment for taking benzos. They also may struggle financially as they either miss work to consume the drug or spend all of their money obtaining more of the substance.

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