How Do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzodiazepines are a specific classification of prescription medication, most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. In some cases, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are treated with benzodiazepines in a medical detoxification setting, but when prescribed for alcohol withdrawal the medication is always prescribed short-term because it can be so habit-forming.

Those who are prescribed benzodiazepines for an existing medical or mental health condition often benefit from their tranquilizing effects – however, if this medication is taken other than as prescribed, ongoing misuse and/or addiction are likely to occur. Some common benzodiazepine brand names include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan.

How Do Benzodiazepines Work?

Treating Benzodiazepine Dependency

Because these drugs are all potent tranquilizers, they can result in a host of side effects when misused. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and disorientation. If you believe that someone close to you has been struggling with benzodiazepine abuse or addiction, professional help must be sought immediately.

Drug detox is a necessary first step on every journey of addiction recovery, though it is especially important where benzodiazepines are concerned. Withdrawal from drugs like Xanax and Valium can be lethal if not overseen by a team of medical professionals and addiction specialists. We at Recreate Life Counseling will help you find a medical detox facility that best suits your needs, and work with you closely during the transition to the next appropriate level of care.

If you are not too familiar with benzodiazepines, you might be wondering how they work. What makes these drugs so addictive, and why are medications like Xanax so frequently abused?

Benzodiazepines and Their Mechanism of Action

Benzodiazepines work by slowing the central nervous system and ultimately relaxing the body through significantly slowing functions. They work by increasing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid, also referred to as GABA, a chemical within the brain that helps regulate brain activity.

The functions that are affected by GABA include memory, emotional regulation, rational thinking, and basic, essential human functions like walking and breathing – things that we don’t necessarily think about while actively engaging in them. When taken short-term, for brief periods, benzodiazepines work well to combat uncontrollable feelings of anxiety by inducing relaxation and increasing feelings of tranquility and calmness.

However, if an individual takes benzodiazepines daily – or near-daily – for several months, he or she is likely to begin building a tolerance, which will ultimately lead to physical dependency. For this reason, benzodiazepines must be only prescribed and used to treat extreme cases of anxiety or sleep-related disorders like insomnia. Even then, they should not be used daily.

Recreate Life Counseling – Addiction Recovery

We at Recreate Life Counseling have extensive experience working with those who have been struggling with benzodiazepine abuse and addiction. Our comprehensive program of recovery focuses on breaking the vicious cycle of addiction and replacing it with healthy habits, life skills, and coping mechanisms. We understand that because benzodiazepines are so potent and so frequently prescribed, developing a severe addiction can happen within a short matter of months.

As previously mentioned, the withdrawal symptoms associated with medications like Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin can be dangerous or life-threatening when not medically treated and consistently overseen. While medical detox is the first step on the road to recovery, for sobriety to be sustained detox must be followed directly by a higher level of care-intensive outpatient or inpatient treatment. For more information on our comprehensive and integrated program of benzodiazepine recovery, or to learn more about how benzodiazepines work and the dangers of abuse, please feel free to reach out to us today. Our team of dedicated specialists is standing by to answer any questions you may have.