Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a type of medication typically prescribed for their sedative effects.
People who have been struggling with insomnia and certain mental health concerns can benefit from the appropriate use of prescription benzodiazepines. However, when people misuse benzodiazepines in an attempt to self-medicate, or when they abuse benzos for recreational purposes, they can experience several negative effects, including addiction.
Benzo addiction, which may be referred to as benzodiazepine use disorder, can have a profound negative impact on a person’s life. Thankfully, benzo addiction is a treatable condition.
Adults who are struggling with mental health concerns and co-occurring benzodiazepine addiction can receive comprehensive inpatient treatment at Tower Behavioral Health. Our center is a safe and supportive place where adults of all genders can gain a solid foothold in early recovery from benzodiazepine addiction.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction
Benzo abuse and addiction can cause a person to exhibit a variety of behavioral signs and experience several distressing symptoms.
Common warning signs and symptoms of benzo addiction include:
- Tolerance (needing to use greater amounts of benzos to experience the desired effects)
- Withdrawal symptoms (experiencing distress when trying to stop using benzos or when unable to use them)
- Doctor shopping (visiting multiple doctors and making untrue claims in an attempt to get additional prescriptions for benzos)
- Attempting to steal or borrow benzos that were prescribed to someone else
- Using benzos when it is obviously unsafe to do so, such as in combination with alcohol or other drugs or when driving
- Continuing to use benzos even after experiencing negative repercussions due to prior use
- Lying or being otherwise deceptive about the amount and frequency of their benzo use
- Undergoing dramatic shifts in mood
- Having an uncharacteristic lack of inhibition
- Blurred vision, dizziness, and lightheadedness
- Problems concentrating or focusing
- Slurred speech
- Impaired memory
- Muscle weakness
Benzodiazepine Addiction Statistics
The following benzodiazepine statistics are from a 2018 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- More than 12.5% of the U.S. population used a benzo in the past year.
- Researchers determined that more than 5 million adults in the United States misused a benzodiazepine at least once in the previous 12 months.
- Among people who received a prescription for a benzodiazepine, about 17% misused the medication.
- About 2% of people who use benzos for any reason develop benzodiazepine use disorder.
A 2020 study that was published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information included the following benzo statistics:
- From 1999-2013, the annual number of benzo prescriptions in the United States increased by 2.5% every year.
- From 2003-2013, the annual number of people in the U.S. who entered treatment for benzo abuse or addiction increased by 109%.
Effects of Benzodiazepine Addiction
People who need, but do not receive, treatment for benzo addiction may experience significant damage to their physical, emotional, and social well-being.
Potential negative effects of benzo addiction include:
- Strained or ruined relationships with family members, friends, and colleagues
- Loss of vital personal support
- Legal problems, including the possibility of arrest and incarceration
- Physical injuries due to benzodiazepine impairment
- Breathing difficulties and other medical problems
- Onset or worsening of mental health concerns
- Setbacks in school or at work
- Suicidal thoughts
- Suicidal behaviors
The potential effects of benzo addiction can be extremely serious, to the point of being life-threatening. Anyone who is experiencing any effects of benzo addiction should consult with a qualified treatment provider. Completing a thorough assessment and receiving an accurate diagnosis are two important steps on the path to receiving effective treatment for benzo addiction.
Benefits of Treatment for Co-Occurring Benzodiazepine Addiction
If you have been living with a mental health concern and co-occurring benzo addiction, it is important to seek treatment at a facility that can provide comprehensive care to address the full scope of your needs.
In addition to jeopardizing your physical well-being, failing to receive proper treatment for co-occurring benzo addiction can also undermine your ability to achieve improved mental health.
At Tower Behavioral Health in Reading, Pennsylvania, each person who is entrusted to our care completes a thorough assessment prior to starting treatment. This assessment ensures that we’ve identified the primary mental health concerns they are suffering from as well as any accompanying disorders such as co-occurring benzo addiction.
Our inpatient treatment program for co-occurring benzo addiction is a safe and supportive place where you can receive the personalized care that will help you make sustained progress toward improved quality of life.
Types of Therapy in Co-Occurring Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment
At Tower Behavioral Health, we are committed to providing a truly personalized treatment experience for each person who turns to us in their time of need.
Depending on the information that is collected during your assessment, your co-occurring benzo addiction treatment at our center in Reading, Pennsylvania, may include medication management; psychoeducation; psychotherapy; individual, group, and family sessions; and experiential therapies such as dance/movement, art, and music.
Treatment for co-occurring benzo addiction may also include mindfulness instruction, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
All treatment for co-occurring benzodiazepine addiction is provided by a team of experienced professionals. Our treatment team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, registered nurses, certified psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, case managers, occupational therapists, and other experts.
Prior to your completion of inpatient treatment for co-occurring benzo addiction, you will receive a detailed discharge plan. This customized plan will include information about the professional resources and community-based services that will help you maintain and build on the progress you make while you are in our care.
What Happens If I Have a Benzodiazepine Addiction Relapse?
Recovery from benzo addiction is a lifelong process. Each person’s recovery journey includes both successes and setbacks. For some people, those setbacks include relapse.
Learning how to prevent or respond to relapse is an important part of treatment for co-occurring benzo addiction. Depending on your specific circumstances, possible healthy responses to relapse can include attending additional support meetings, reaching out to a trusted friend, scheduling a session with a professional, or returning to a treatment program.
It is important to understand that a temporary relapse is not a permanent failure. If you relapse, you can rely on the lessons you learned while you were receiving treatment for co-occurring benzo addiction.
Never forget: You are not alone, there is no shame in seeking help, and treatment works. Most important of all, you are worth the effort.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Tower Behavioral Health.