Each year, thousands of Americans become dependent on Xanax. Often, patients are shocked, confused, and ashamed of their addiction. They believed that Xanax dependency couldn’t
The Dark Side of “Benzos”
November 16, 2019
The US Drug Enforcement Administration classifies benzodiazepines as depressants which aim to reduce anxiety, help with sleep difficulties such as insomnia, and in some cases, prevent medical issues such as seizures. The drug delivers a calming and sometimes euphoric effect depending on the type and dose. But with the good the drug brings comes the negative consequences. Benzodiazepines are addictive substances that can cause forgetfulness, irritability, and even hostility in some users.
The concept of benzodiazepines is an important development in the field of psychology, especially for those who suffer from crippling anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks. There are times when, no matter the breathing technique or coping mechanism used, the body simply won’t cooperate. If you’re in one of these situations, this drug can feel like a life-altering miracle. However, there is more to the benzo story than a savior drug that makes your problem feelings melt away.
Are Benzodiazepines Dangerous?
Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and can lead to death if a person overdoses. While there is debate regarding benzo withdrawals, there is evidence to suggest that a benzo withdrawal can be fatal, especially if there are other substances involved, such as alcohol or opioids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that 30% of documented opioid overdoses also involved a benzodiazepine. Like an opioid, benzos slow a person’s breathing and calm the body. Combine the two and you have a fatal cocktail.
This doesn’t mean the drug should be taken off the market. Benzos have been proven to help people with all types of mental illness, addiction, and seizure disorders live happier and healthier lives. However, there is always a big but that follows the use of a controlled substance.
Benzodiazepines are safe if and only if:
- They are prescribed by a licensed medical professional
- You see your doctor/psychiatrist regularly
- You take the prescribed dosage
- You don’t mix your pills with other substances
- You’re seeing a therapist or are in a group program
- You are aware that using “benzos” is not a forever thing.
The last point is usually the hardest to hit home. Any type of medication, unless you have a significant biological disorder, should not be a forever fix. SSRIs, benzodiazepines, and other meds like Suboxone were invented to help get people back on track with the help of a healthcare professional. If you are seeking these drugs for long-term help, you may be forgetting the other work that needs to be done.
If you’re an addict or alcoholic, this message is especially important. There are many facilities that detox using other substances. This practice is to keep you safe and alive. But it can become quite easy to move from one substance to another. It’s important to follow all directions given by the medical professionals issuing your treatment plan and reach out for help if you think you’re beginning to develop another problem.
Anxiety Needs to Be Heard
Whether you’re taking benzodiazepines because it’s been prescribed by a doctor or you’re seeking them from friends and family because you crave peace, it’s important to understand, not only the drug but why you crave it so deeply. If you’re seeking out a pill to stop your stress and calm your nerves, it may be time to dig into past experiences and present discomforts. More often than not, anxiety and addiction go hand-in-hand and are connected to traumatic experiences and repressed feelings. It’s okay to take the pill, but if you’re not doing the inner self-work to heal, that pill will become another mask you’re using to hide from reality.
This is the key to healing: anxiety needs to be heard. Unless you have a biological disorder, which is a small percentage of the population, your anxiety is your fight or flight response to something that is happening or has happened in your life. Addicts and alcoholics train themselves to run from these moments because they don’t have the proper coping mechanisms to face their demons, but there is a reason the siren is going off in your head and heart in the first place. And whether we believe it or not, the substance doesn’t actually turn the alarm off. It simply silences it for a short time, causing it to feel far louder when we start sobering up. If we can’t hear it, we can’t heal it.
Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, and the Need for Benzodiazepines
When it comes to hiding from reality, it’s important to stop and ask why. Why do I want these feelings to go away? Why do I want to stop this emotion from entering my body? More importantly, where are these feelings coming from? You may not know, and that’s okay! But if these behaviors sound familiar, it does mean it’s time to reach out to someone who can help.
Sometimes it’s difficult to ask ourselves questions in relation to our feelings and addictions because we are so close to them. If you or someone you know is struggling with benzos and is having a hard time getting to the root cause, reach out to Summer House Detox Center today. Our facility is designed to help you get clean, get coping skills, and get confident in your mind and your future. We offer addiction treatment in West Palm Beach and provide all the tools required for your recovery. Call today to learn about your treatment options at (800) 719-1090. You can also visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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