Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment
Benzodiazepine drugs (benzos or benzies) have sedating, hypnotic, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant and muscle-relaxant properties. They are prescribed primarily for the treatment of anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal, seizures and insomnia. While short-term benzo use closely monitored by a medical professional is generally safe and effective, long-term use can lead to tolerance, dependence and other adverse effects.1
At The Right Step, we offer specialized treatment for clients struggling with benzo addiction and other substance use issues. Our medical and psychiatric team can help ease the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that can accompany benzodiazepine dependence. We’ll provide you with a thorough biopsychosocial assessment upon admission. You’ll receive individualized care and a personalized treatment plan delivered by a compassionate, highly skilled treatment team. This starts with 24/7 supervised detox in which benzos are gradually eliminated from your body. Comprehensive inpatient drug rehab or intensive outpatient programs help you acquire recovery skills for long-term abstinence.
Types of Benzodiazepines
Chlordiazepoxide (brand name Librium), the first benzodiazepine ever developed, gained FDA approval in 1960, five years after its discovery. Since then, many other benzodiazepines have been developed, including three of the most frequently prescribed and abused: Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam).1 Additional benzos available in the U.S. include:
- Alprazolam Intensol, Niravam (alprazolam)
- Dalmane (flurazepam)
- Diazepam Intensol, Diastat, Diastat AcuDial, Diastat Pediatric (diazepam)
- Doral (quazepam)
- Centrax or Verstran (prazepam)
- Halcion (triazolam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Lorazepam Intensol
- Onfi (clobazam)
- Paxipam (halazepam)
- Prosom (estazolam)
- Restoril (temazepam)
- Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
- Serax (oxazepam)
- Tranxene (clorazepate)
- Versed (midazolam)1,2
Benzo Addiction and Abuse
Benzodiazepine-related problems include diversion (illicit selling of drugs or giving them to people whose use they were not intended for), benzo abuse, dependency, driving impairment and overdose/withdrawal-related morbidity and mortality. In older patients, benzo use has been linked to cognitive decline, dementia and falls. Some benzos, most notably alprazolam (Xanax), appear to have greater potential for abuse, resulting in more dangerous overdoses. It is believed these addictive qualities are tied to the perception of intoxication, potency relative to formulation (strength of the drug), risk of withdrawal and a shorter half-life. Half-life is the amount of time needed for the concentration of the drug in the bloodstream to be reduced by one-half.3
Stats and Facts
- According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), diazepam ranks as one of the top five benzodiazepines prescribed by doctors, as well as one of the top five sold illegally.4
- In 2013, an estimated 22,767 people in the U.S. died of prescription drug-related overdoses. Of these, benzodiazepines were implicated in about 31 percent of fatalities.5
- According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, rehab visits involving benzodiazepine use tripled between 1998 and 2008.6
- Physicians write more than 50 million benzodiazepine prescriptions every year – more than one per second.7
Relapse prevention is bolstered by people’s willingness to change as well as management of co-occurring mental health disorders and acquisition of healthy coping skills. Other factors that bode well for successful withdrawal and abstinence include:
- Taking a daily dose of 10 mg or less diazepam (or its equivalent) at the beginning of dosage reduction
- Less severe benzodiazepine dependence (measured on a dependence scale)
- No previous withdrawal attempts
- A high level of satisfaction with life in general
- The absence of concurrent alcohol use or other drug abuse
- The absence of unstable psychiatric or medical comorbidities4
If you or a loved one is struggling with benzo abuse, call our caring recovery advisors for a free, confidential consultation. 844-877-1781
- Benzodiazepines: Uses, Side Effects and Risks. Medical New Today website. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262809.php Updated April 13, 2016. Accessed October 3, 2016.
- Drugs.com website. https://www.drugs.com/drug-class/benzodiazepines.html Accessed October 3, 2016.
- Brett J, Murnion B. Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. Aust Prescr. 2015;38(5):152-155. doi:10.18773/austprescr.2015.055.
- Valium History and Statistics. Drug Abuse website. http://drugabuse.com/library/valium-history-and-statistics/ Accessed October 3, 2016.
- Bachhuber MA, Hennessy S, Cunningham CO, Starrels JL. Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996-2013. Am J Public Health. 2016 Apr;106(4):686-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303061. Epub 2016 Feb 18.
- 20 Profound Xanax Addiction Statistics. Health Research Funding website. http://healthresearchfunding.org/20-profound-xanax-addiction-statistics/ Published February 1, 2015. Accessed October 3, 2016.
- Is Xanax Dangerous? What’s Hype and What Are the Real Threats? http://www.alternet.org/story/154165/is_xanax_dangerous_what’s_hype_and_what_are_the_real_threats Published February 15, 2012. Accessed October 3, 2016.