What are benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a group of medications that have been used since the 1960s to treat:
- Agitation and restlessness, particularly for people in hospital.
- Epileptic seizures/fits.
- Alcohol withdrawal.
- Sleeping problems.
Benzodiazepines all work in a similar way. The shorter-acting ones have been marketed as sleeping tablets – the idea being that you don't get a fuzzy head the next day. The longer-acting ones have been marketed for their use in controlling anxiety. Their sedative, tranquilising effects have led to them being used for psychological disorders, and to become a widely used prescription.
How do they work?
They boost the effectiveness of a substance in the brain – called GABA (Gabba Amino Butyric Acid). This is a neurotransmitter – a chemical that is used in the brain to control the passage of messages from one cell to another. GABA has a generally calming effect on the human brain, hence their use in anxiety or extreme distress.
Are benzodiazepines addictive?
Yes. Around 4 in every 10 people who take them every day for more than 6 weeks will become addicted. The signs that you may be addicted include:
- Feeling bad if you don't take them.
- Finding you have to take more and more to get the same effect.
- Crave them.
- Get withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop.
- Can't sleep.
- Feel tense and agitated.
- Feel dizzy.
- Can get odd metallic tastes in your mouth and/or odd feelings like electric shocks in your arms and legs.
- Have blurred vision or sensitivity to light.
If you have any concerns about your symptoms, please seek the advice of your GP.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal is notoriously difficult and very unpleasant. Along with alcohol, it is one of the most difficult and dangerous drugs to withdraw from. Many do not understand that stopping abruptly or reducing too quickly, when there is a physical dependence, can lead to seizures and death. Symptoms can last from a few days to several months, even after stopping. The intensity and length of withdrawal symptoms will depend on:
- The number of Benzodiazepines you are taking.
- The length of time you have been taking them.
- The withdrawal regime you follow.
- Other medical complications and your general state of health.
Due to the severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, if you feel you are addicted, it is inadvisable to attempt to detox by yourself, please seek professional help to do so.
How is a benzodiazepine addiction treated?
At New Leaf, we offer residential rehabilitation for benzodiazepine addictions. We tailor an innovative treatment programme that addresses your mind, body and spirit to overcome your addiction.
Your drug rehab programme could include detoxification, individual and/ or group therapy and a wide range of other treatments designed to ensure you receive the highest standard of treatment and achieve a sustained recovery. Find out more about our treatments today.
Contact us today to start your journey to soberity.
Benzodiazepine addiction help and treatment rehab centre
If after reading this information you are concerned for yourself, a friend or a family member, please contact us today to start the recovery process.
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