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Benzodiazepine Addiction


Benzodiazepines or “benzos”’ are prescription medications that treat anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health and neurological conditions. They work by increasing the production of “feel-good” hormones in your brain, which can be highly addictive. When combined with alcohol and opioids, benzos can also be fatal. Why? Their sedative or calming effect can impair cognitive function and suppress breathing, the primary cause of benzo overdose fatality. 

The intense wave of pleasure caused by surging dopamine levels can prove overwhelmingly rewarding to women, especially those predisposed to benzodiazepine addiction due to psychological or situational risk factors.

Commonly misused prescriptive oral benzodiazepines include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax, Xanax XR)
  • Clobazam (Onfi)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Diazepam (Valium, Diastat Acudial, Diastat)
  • Estazolam (Prosom is a discontinued brand in the U.S.)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Oxazepam (Serax is a discontinued brand in the U.S.)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)

Effects of Benzodiazepine Addiction on the Brain

When benzos accumulate in the body, they alter the structure and function of specific brain receptors in the brain. As a result, developing an addiction to these medications can be rapid. Tolerance can develop in weeks, although physical dependence can begin much sooner.

Signs of Use

Family members may be the first to recognize signs of benzodiazepine addiction. Many side effects and withdrawal symptoms can be life-altering, particularly after days or months of use.

Common side effects include:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Constipation
• Weight gain
• Dry mouth
• Lightheadedness
• Drowsiness
• Confusion
• Sedation
• Impaired memory
• Loss of balance
• Changes in appetite
• Reduced libido
• Fatigue

Withdrawal symptoms can include:
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • Hand tremors
  • Dry heaving
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Stiffness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sleep problems

Without a medically supervised detox, benzodiazepine withdrawal can result in death. Because withdrawal is hugely unpleasant, many people continue to use benzos to avoid the experience. Hannah’s House offers a safe, comfortable, medically-assisted detox program that helps women eliminate the severe side effects of withdrawal and possible benzodiazepine addiction.

Medical Detox

Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction at Hannah’s House begins with assessing a woman’s complete health history. Next, licensed physicians, including medical doctors, psychiatrists, and our 24-hour nursing staff, coordinate medical detox while addressing potential co-occurring disorders such as:

  • Malnutrition
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Insomnia or other sleep disorders
  • Brain damage
  • Impaired memory

Our Customized Treatment Modalities

Effective clinical substance use disorder programming is key to ongoing stabilization and sobriety. Hannah’s House offers fully integrated cognitive therapies, ongoing medical care, wellness activities, and counseling sessions. In addition, with a host of exceptional amenities and gourmet meals, our facilities offer safety and solace as you embark on the important work of recovery. 

We offer fully integrated services and leading-edge, ongoing care that enacts real, lasting change for our female patients. Some examples include:

  • Medical care
  • Psychiatric care
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Chronic pain management
  • Wellness activities
  • Recreational therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Group therapy
  • Recovery-based support groups

Contact Hannah’s House 

Sobriety is possible for everyone, primarily through evidence-based interventions that restore mental, physical, and spiritual health. We help women achieve lifelong, sustainable, and complete recovery. Call Hannah’s House anytime at 866-952-5532 and speak to one of our specialists immediately.