Benzodiazepines are a large class of drugs that are broadly prescribed for problems with anxiety, stress, panic attacks or sleep. They are central nervous system depressants and are addictive after long-term use. While the prescribing instructions are clear about not prescribing benzodiazepines for lengthy use, many people use them long enough to become addicted and many more become addicted after abusing the drugs over a long period.
There are fifteen benzodiazepines used in the US and another 20 that are marketed in other countries. Short-acting benzos are used to help a person fall asleep or to calm a person down before surgery. These benzos include ProSom, Restoril, Halcion or Versed. Those who are anxious during the day and can't sleep at night will get a long-lasting benzo like Xanax, Librium, Valium or Ativan.
In low dosages, these drugs are sedatives. In moderate dosages, they counter anxiety. In high doses they are hypnotics. Those abusing the drugs will generally develop a tolerance for the drugs and will get to extremely high dosages.
A person abusing benzos may manifest:
- Unsteadiness while walking or moving around
- Blurred vision
- Poor coordination
- Disturbing dreams
- Reduced inhibition
- Impaired judgment
An older person abusing these drugs may also experience:
- The appearance of dementia
- Benzodiazepine Overdose
If a person takes too much of a benzo, they are likely to experience severe drowsiness, confusion, poor balance, lack of coordination, light-headedness, fainting and muscle weakness. Mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol increases the central nervous system depression that occurs. This can cause too great a respiratory suppression that can lead to death.
A coma is a possible result of a benzodiazepine overdose but it is rare. But many people abuse benzodiazepines along with other drugs, particularly heroin or cocaine abusers which means that benzos can be involved in deaths resulting from the combination of drugs.
In addition to the symptoms listed above, it is possible to note changes in a person's life when he becomes addicted to benzodiazepines. Since these drugs are tranquilizers, he or she may seem oddly detached from life and sedated. He may not care very much about matters that were important to him earlier.
Persons abusing benzos must get them somehow. They may find a cooperative doctor and get them prescribed, or they may visit more than one doctor to get enough to abuse. They may get the drugs from friends or drug dealers or buy them off the internet. They may forge prescriptions. But as states, one by one, implement computer tracking systems and laws to counter prescription drug abuse, some of these channels for obtaining the drugs will be drying up.
If a doctor is providing these drugs, you may find pill bottles, sometimes from multiple doctors. If they are coming from a dealer, you may find either plastic bags with pills or pill bottles with someone else's name.
A person abusing and addicted to drugs generally stops being as interested in life events and goals as they were before the addiction. Most addicts withdraw from family events and interaction, either because of the effect of the drugs and because they know they are committing harm to themselves and others.
One of the signs of benzodiazepine abuse is a visit to an emergency room. In 2009, there were 363,000 visits to ERs for central nervous system depressants, the vast
Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine that is not marketed or legally sold in the US. It is used as a date-rape drug as it tends to overwhelm a person's ability to resist a sexual assault and will often cause amnesia of the attack as well. Because it has no taste, it can be put in a drink at a nightclub without the recipient knowing. Rohypnol is easily obtained in Mexico.
Here are the names you might find on pill bottles.
Short acting (generic names and brand names):
- Estazolam (ProSom)
- flurazepam (Dalmane)
- temazepam (Restoril)
- triazolam (Halcion)
- Midazolam (Versed)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- chlordiazepoxide (librium)
- clorazepate (Tranxene)
- diazepam (Valium)
- halazepam (Paxipam)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- oxazepam (Serax)
- prazepam (Centrax)
- quazepam (Doral)
- clonazepam (Klonopin).
When you find that a loved one is addicted or if you are seeing recovery for yourself, it is important to find an addiction treatment program that has a high success rate. A program with a success rate of about 20%, which is common, means that you only have a one in five chance of satisfaction with the result. The Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program results in seven out of ten graduates staying sober after they go home.
One of the key ways Narconon helps people find lasting sobriety is through the phase of the addiction treatment program called the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program. This phase utilizes a low-heat sauna, a strict regimen of nutritional supplements and moderate daily exercise to flush out the drug residues left behind after any drug or alcohol abuse. When these residues are gone, a brighter attitude and clearer thinking follow. Those completing this step often talk about how their cravings for drugs are gone too.
This is just one phase of this comprehensive addiction recovery program. There are fifty Narconon centers located on six continents. Find out how the whole program works by calling Narconon today at 1-800-775-8750.