Benzodiazepines are prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, and stress management. These are generally safe when used as prescribed. However, prolonged use may result in addiction. Benzodiazepine addiction is a leading factor of benzo overdose with various life-threatening side effects, including seizures and coma.
If you are ready to overcome benzodiazepine addiction, then ChoicePoint is here to help you understand the dangers, management, and factors leading to benzodiazepine overdose.
Table of Contents
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines or ‘benzos’ are a class of psychoactive drugs, meaning it alters the mood and affects our central nervous system. These act as depressants and sedatives by delaying the messages or stress signals traveling between the brain and body.
These are usually prescribed to treat:
Sleep disorders such as insomnia
Substance abuse disorders
3 Types of Benzodiazepines
Some benzodiazepines are more addictive than others. They are classified according to how quickly they start working and for how long their effect is retained. Generally, there are 3 significant types of benzodiazepines.
Short-acting benzodiazepines are usually prescribed for the treatment of sleep-related disorders such as insomnia. These metabolize quickly and usually produce an effect within 30-60 minutes. And, the effects last for 3-8 hours. Short-acting benzodiazepines are the most addictive among the three classes. Hence, there are more reports of benzodiazepine overdose related to these short-acting classes of medications.
Some examples include:
b) Intermediate Acting
The duration of intermediate-acting benzodiazepines is usually 11-20 hours. After 20 hours, the effects begin to wear off. List of intermediate-acting benzodiazepine include:
Long-acting benzodiazepines are usually prescribed for disorders related to mental health. Such as anxiety and depression. List of long-acting benzodiazepine include:
Difference Between Benzodiazepine Overdose, Abuse and Addiction
What Is Benzodiazepine Overdose?
It is a condition when a person accidentally or intentionally takes more than recommended dose in a concise period. For instance, your doctor may have recommended you take one tablet a day, but you took more than one tablet, let’s say 4-5, then it is benzodiazepine overdose.
How Do You Define Benzodiazepine Abuse?
Benzodiazepine abuse is when you take this drug for a longer period than initially intended. For instance, you have been prescribed this drug for one month, but you are still using it even after recommended duration.
What Is Benzo Addiction?
Benzodiazepine abuse leads to addiction. Addiction is when you are dependent on this drug to the extent that it produces intense benzo withdrawal symptoms when you discontinue it. And it could also harm both your physical and mental health.
Benzodiazepine Overdose: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment
You may be in a constant battle with yourself to overcome benzodiazepine addiction. But a sudden, painful trigger or uncontrollable urge to use it again might have pushed you to take benzodiazepines in large doses that could be extremely dangerous for you.
The reason why we are here is to help you prevent and manage benzodiazepine overdose. By recognizing these signs and symptoms of benzodiazepines overdose, you can avoid it.
Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Overdose
Benzodiazepine overdose leads to various life-threatening conditions: these health risks and toxicity increase, even more, when benzodiazepines are combined with alcohol and opioids.
These are the risks associated with overdose:
Decreased blood pressure
Ataxia( Lack of muscle movement and coordination)
What Steps to Take to Tackle Benzodiazepine Overdose?
In case of benzodiazepine overdose, We highly recommend you, please seek immediate medical help. If you or a loved one has taken more than recommended doses of benzodiazepines then, you may experience initial symptoms such as:
Difficulty in breathing
First things first, you should stay calm and immediately dial the emergency helpline number during this time. In addition to this, you can also call your nearest hospital. If you have a family doctor, call him for immediate support. Unattended symptoms may lead to a coma or even death!
Treatment, Antidote, and Reversal Options for Benzodiazepine Overdose
When you call emergency services, they will begin your treatment. The standard treatment procedure includes:
Step 1: Risk Assessment
During risk assessment, doctors look for how much damage has been done. Then, they will ask for medical history, and the patient will undergo an initial examination. During this, doctors investigate the toxicity levels and overdose symptoms to devise a treatment strategy.
Step 2: Management and Treatment
After a thorough examination, the doctor will decide on a treatment. Usually, Flumazenil antidote is given to counteract the effect of benzodiazepine. However, it is only administered to one-time or accidental overdose patients. This is because it interferes with withdrawal symptoms treatments. So, it is absolutely important to give complete information to your doctor.
Step 3: Recovery and Long Term Treatment
After acute management and treatment, the staff will keep you or your loved one under medical supervision until the symptoms have been treated. For complete recovery, the doctor will assess the cause of overdose. If it was due to trauma, your consultant might recommend therapy. And for addiction, you may be referred to an addiction treatment program for long-term recovery.
Addiction and Abuse Is a Major Cause of Benzodiazepine Overdose
Benzodiazepine abuse is on the rise. Researchers even reported that benzodiazepine abuse has now reached epidemic levels. Addiction could be one of the major reasons that push a person towards benzo overdose.
Please seek medical assistance for Benzodiazepine addiction as it is lethal and can not be managed on your own. Because, as you try to quit this drug, you will feel intense benzo withdrawal symptoms that develop a strong urge to use this drug again.
Confused about where to start? If you or a loved one is suffering from benzodiazepine addiction, we recommend you to check ChoicePoint’s addiction treatment programs. Our result-oriented virtual and outpatient treatments are covered by all insurance and aim to help you overcome benzodiazepine abuse. Simply call us at 844.445.2563
How Unsupervised Use of Benzodiazepines Lead Towards Addiction
Benzodiazepines offer relief from various disorders such as anxiety and insomnia. It treats the symptoms without treating the cause of the disease.
Let’s look at it this way. You feel anxious, and you resort to benzodiazepines. Initially, it helps you to calm your nerves. However, it will not treat the reason for your anxiety. Next time you feel anxious, you may take an increased dose to calm your nerves. But, as you increase the dose without any medical recommendation, your body will begin to develop tolerance against it. Then you will require a greater dose of this drug to cure the symptoms, and soon you will develop a dependence on it which will ultimately lead to addiction.
Some of these signs and symptoms are listed below:
If you are taking more than the recommended dose of benzodiazepines
If you are taking sedatives for a longer period than first intended
When you do not take the drug, you experience withdrawal symptoms
You have developed tolerance to the drug
Your social commitments and relationships are suffering because of drug abuse
Another great way to check if you are suffering from addiction is through an addiction assessment quiz. ChoicePoint offers a free, medically-designed self-assessment addiction quiz to help you determine if you are suffering from addiction.
Benzo Abuse: The Prescription Drug Side Effects!
Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, you may have noticed that their health may be declining, or your relationship might not be as happy as it was once before. But, addiction is like a small glitch. If you encourage your loved ones to get professional help, they can overcome this challenging time and relive an addiction-free life.
a) Detox Can Minimize the Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
However, medical detox can help to reduce these symptoms. During detox, a doctor will assess your condition and formulate a custom plan for you. In addition to tapering off medication, antidepressants and antiseizure medications may also be prescribed to reduce psychological withdrawal symptoms.
If you are suffering from milder addiction levels, then outpatient detox centers can be a good option for you to recover without putting your life on hold. ChoicePoint outpatient detox programs can help you build a strong foundation for sustainable recovery. If you want to learn more about our personalized plans, you are welcome to call us at 844.445.2563 or visit our addiction treatment center in the Fair Lawn location in Bergen County, New Jersey.
b) Therapy Can Help You Overcome Benzodiazepine Addiction
Are you looking for a solution to your stress and anxiety-related problems? Do you want to overcome your addiction problems without fear of abuse and withdrawal symptoms?. If yes, therapy can be an alternative to help you cope with stress and anxiety, so you don’t have to resort to prescription medications.
Addiction Treatment Centers for Benzodiazepine Abuse
For benzodiazepine addiction, you can complete your treatment in the following settings.
a) In-patient Addiction Treatment Centers
In an in-patient treatment center, you will be required to stay at the facility. It is suited for people suffering from severe addiction levels.
b) Outpatient Addiction Treatment Centers
An outpatient addiction treatment center is more suited for people suffering from moderate levels of addiction. It is also a cost-effective alternative to in-patient treatment. If you are looking for an option where you can return home after receiving treatment and stay alongside your family and work-related commitments then, we recommend you to check ChoicePoint’s outpatient treatment center.
c) Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment Centers
At Intensive outpatient centers, you can return home after receiving treatment. However, the difference between IOP and outpatient is that IOP is more intense. There are more treatment sessions per week than outpatient treatment. **IOP Can also be done virtually
Did you know that ChoicePoint has high-quality outpatient and intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs? We offer these programs at our state-of-the-art addiction treatment center located at the Fair Lawn location in Bergen County, New Jersey.
It Is Never Too Late to Seek Professional Help
If you need more information about the signs and treatment of benzodiazepine overdose and addiction, you can contact our clinicians at ChoicePoint. We believe addiction can be treated if you commit to it. Delaying the treatment can only worsen your physical and mental health.
The reason ChoicePoint aims to provide you immediate high-quality treatment led by experienced professionals so you can recover and reclaim your sobriety. Not only this, our virtual and outpatient addiction treatment programs are made to fit your schedule. Yes, you can now avail the addiction treatment at your preferred time without leaving your comfort and can access it from any location. Just call us at 844.445.2563, and ChoicePoint’s professional medical staff will take care of you.
ChoicePoint aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use disorder and mental health issues. Our team of licensed medical professionals research, edit and review the content before publishing. However, this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical advice please consult your physicians or ChoicePoint's qualified staff.