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Prescription Benzos: Addiction Risks

Addiction Risks of Prescription Benzos



When people struggle with anxiety disorders, insomnia or seizures, they’re sometimes prescribed benzodiazepines, also known as benzos: a class of drugs designed to relieve anxiety and produce feelings of calm and relaxation. Unfortunately, benzos have a high risk of addiction, even when used by prescription.

Effects of Benzodiazepines

The use of anti-anxiety medications comes with serious physical and psychological risks. Short-term side effects can include:

  • Confusion
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of memory
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

When someone uses these medications over a long period of time, they increase the risk of problems such as:

  • Dementia
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of sensory perception
  • Loss of cognition
  • Loss of coordination

How is Benzodiazepine Dependence Formed?

When someone using benzos feels the need to take more of the drug in order to feel its effects, their body has developed tolerance. If they continue to use the drug, they develop a dependence, a state in which they need some amount of the substance present in their system in order to feel normal. At that point, if they try to quit, they can experience withdrawal such as anxiety, nausea, insomnia, irritation, sweating, irregular heart rate and fatigue. Dependence can easily escalate into addiction, at which point the drug use has become so psychologically engrained that it feels nearly impossible to quit despite the fact that they may desperately want to, or begin to see its consequences in their life.

Benzos Can be Addictive Even When They’re Prescribed

Benzos are notoriously habit-forming. That’s because the body and brain quickly develop tolerance to them. As soon as you start taking benzos – even with a prescription – your body begins adapting. In fact, recent studies suggest that benzodiazepines should not be used long-term because of their decreasing effectiveness and increased risk of addiction, withdrawal, mental and physical impairment, and high risk of overdose when combined with alcohol or opioids.

Is There a Way to Safely Use Anti-Anxiety Medication?

Researchers and physicians recommend that if benzos are used, they are used sparingly and for no longer than two to four weeks except in very rare cases. If you’re struggling with anxiety, your doctor or mental health care provider can help you figure out a more sustainable solution that addresses the root causes of it, instead of relying on substances that can be very unsafe.

At Sandstone Care, we understand that teens and young adults are under incredible amounts of pressure due to their own developmental stage, the pressures that surround them and the societal environment they live in. That’s why we create an open community within a safe space where young people feel free to work through their concerns honestly. If your teen is struggling with anxiety and wants to find an alternative solution to medication, contact us today at 888-850-1890 to learn how we can help.

Family Treatment

To improve the quality of life as a family, it’s essential to involve the entire family in treatment. We have individual family therapy, multi-family groups, and parent support groups. Here, families will find a space where they have permission to be open and honest about the challenges they are facing. They can also find answers about mental health and what treatment looks like at Sandstone Care.

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