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Why Are Benzos So Addictive?

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are so addictive because of how they change the structure of the brain. Using these drugs long-term can lead to permanent changes in the brain. Even short term, the effects of benzos can be hard to overcome.

Those struggling with benzodiazepine abuse can potentially end up having broken family relationships, loss of jobs, decline in productivity with school, and potentially fatal or non-fatal overdoses. 

Uses of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are depressant drugs that slow down the central nervous system (CNS) and brain activity. This is what makes them so popular when treating insomnia and mental health conditions such as anxiety. Benzos are also used as a general anesthetic that can be used before surgeries and other medical procedures.

Moreover, they have also been used to help treat those with seizure conditions. Conditions like epilepsy can be fatal if not properly treated or medicated. Because benzodiazepines slow down brain activity, it helps those with anxiety to find relief from the symptoms that can arise. They also help slow down overactivity in the brain that can contribute to seizures. 

Effects of Benzodiazepines

The effects of benzodiazepines can be short and long-term. The short-term, or immediate effects of benzos can include things like relaxation, sedation, reduction of anxiety, feelings of euphoria, extreme drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, memory loss and slurred speech.

Benzodiazepines, like many other drugs, carry a warning label on them to avoid alcohol when using these medications. This is because the effects of benzos can be heightened by the use of alcohol. The long-term effects of benzos can include impaired memory, depression, increased anxiety, depression, dependence and addiction.

Using benzos can also lead to impaired cognitive functionality, which can make life extremely difficult for someone. The changes in brain chemistry caused by benzodiazepines can have a major impact on someone’s quality of life. Fortunately, getting detox can help.

How Someone Gets Addicted to Benzos

How are benzos so addictive? What makes people get addicted to them so easily? Understanding the effects of them on the brain and body can help create understanding as to why benzos are so addictive. The main reason that a person can become addicted to benzos is because with continued use, the body becomes dependent on the substance in order to find relief from symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, or seizure disorders. 

Continued use of this substance causes a person’s body to depend on benzos as a means of coping, and when the substance is no longer available it can cause some severely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The effects of these drugs on dopamine production is another reason benzos are so addictive. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that carries signals to different parts of the brain. 

When dopamine is released, it tells the brain that a certain activity is pleasurable, leading to seeking more release of dopamine through the activity. When someone uses benzos, the brain releases artificially produced dopamine. This causes the brain and body to become dependent on this level of dopamine production, which can cause depression and anxiety when a certain level of dopamine production is not achieved. Long-term benzodiazepine use and abuse can lead to changes in the reward center of the brain that can be extremely difficult to reverse. 

Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Knowing what signs of benzo abuse to look out for in a loved one can be helpful if there are questions on whether someone is struggling or not. These signs can be indicative of a potential problem, prompting the question of whether or not someone needs help. Enlightened Recovery is available to help those struggling with benzo abuse and addiction. 

The signs of potential benzo abuse can include: 

  • Hiding or lying about usage
  • Taking larger doses than prescribed
  • Seeing multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions, or doctor shopping
  • Isolation
  • Neglecting work or school responsibilities
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches
  • Changes in mood and behaviors
  • Increased confusion
  • Drug seeking behaviors
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Impaired memory
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability and hostility
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal symptoms when unable to take benzos

Watching out for these signs in a loved one can help someone to identify that there potentially is a problem with benzos, and seeking help as soon as possible is highly suggested. Trying to detox and end the abuse alone can be a dangerous undertaking.

It can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that can lead to devastating results that can include seizures, severe depression and anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Having proper medical care and support through this process can make is easier on the person going through it, and allow for a more comfortable and safe beginning to recovery.

Recover From Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines are dangerous substances. Using these drugs can lead to changes in someone’s brain, mental health, and overall well being that can be devastatingly impactful. Leading to loss of trust, broken family relationships and potentially death, benzo addiction can be an extremely difficult undertaking.

If you or a loved one are struggling, Enlightened Recovery can help. Our team of professionals is trained in helping those who are struggling to begin healing and working toward a healthier lifestyle. 

Reach out today and begin healing and recovering from benzo addiction.

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Enlightened Recovery is here to help you or your loved one overcome drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders. Our holistic treatment programs treat the whole person in recovery. We have locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

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