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Doctors prescribe benzodiazepines or “benzos” to treat anxiety and insomnia, and the prevalence of this class of drugs makes their brands common household names — Ativan, Valium, Versed and Xanax, to name just a few. These tranquilizers come in various strengths — prescribed according to the severity of your symptoms — and work very effectively. The effectiveness of these drugs, however, makes them a prime target for abuse.

Using benzodiazepines, you will experience intense feelings of relaxation and euphoria, and you will require increasing amounts of the drug to repeat the effects over time. Since benzodiazepines are prescription only, if you want to continue using the drug, you must obtain it from illegal sources, risking legal action or additional health risks from impure or tainted product. Further, if you use benzos with other drugs, you risk even more critical health problems, including organ failure, coma and death.

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Abuse and Dependency

Prescribed to alleviate psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety or insomnia, if you use the drug for non-prescribed purposes, you will experience the benefits of the drug in an extreme form, which can cause serious medical problems, including:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • disorientation and/or confusion
  • blurred vision including an inability to focus
  • slurred speech
  • physical coordination problems
  • difficulty breathing
  • coma in more extreme cases

Benzodiazepine Abuse’s Long-term Consequences

Benzodiazepine use decreases anxiety; however, for a few users, benzodiazepine use will exacerbate symptoms. Long-term use of benzodiazepines will also often increase a users anxiety symptoms and not decrease them.

Symptoms of chronic abuse include:

  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • often abrupt changes in behavior and mood
  • increased problems at work or with relationships

Symptoms of Withdrawal from Benzodiazepines

A wide variety of symptoms accompanies withdrawal from benzodiazepines, and they do not typically follow a consistent pattern, so it may be very difficult for you to gauge the progress of your recovery if you try to detox on your own. You may feel better on one day then immediately worse the next. You may even continue to experience withdrawal symptoms weeks after your last use.

Symptoms include:

  • irritability and/or tension
  • disturbances in sleep
  • anxiety and bouts panic
  • hand tremors
  • heavy perspiration
  • dry retching or nausea
  • heart palpitations
  • headache, muscle pain and aches
  • weight loss
  • memory problems
  • problems concentrating, confusion and cognitive difficulties
  • hallucinations or psychosis
  • seizures
  • suicidal ideation

The Critical Importance of a Supervised Detox

Non-prescribed drug use can harm your body but so can weaning from drugs without medical supervision. Just as drugs negatively affect your body chemistry when taken, you put yourself at risk of continued harm as your body chemistry changes again if you proceed without the advice of a doctor. This process can not only produce discomfort but life-threatening issues.

You do not need to put yourself through additional risk to get sober, however, and a medically-supervised detox can make breaking your chemical dependency safer and more comfortable. A manageable detox increases your odds of completing treatment and getting and staying sober, and it can be the biggest predictor of the success of further treatments and your long-term health and sobriety.

The Serenity Recovery Center’s Integrated Approach to Detox

Achieving sobriety requires both a healthy body and a healthy mind. The Serenity Recovery Center embraces treatments which help you get healthier in both these crucial aspects.

A medically-supervised detox administered with a compassionate, patient-centered focus can help make your break with dependency both tolerable and more successful. This kind of medical care better enables your follow-up addiction treatments to work, increasing your odds of success.

Individual and group therapies which emphasize understanding — understanding where you’re coming from and understanding your personal struggles better — can help you feel more free to open about the reasons you’ve used. When you truly understand a problem, then can you begin to solve it.

A compassion-driven, holistic therapy program, like the one we offer at The Serenity Recovery Center, can help restore both your physical health and your inner-confidence, keeping you sober. You can leave drugs and alcohol behind, and our unique approach can help you do it.

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