Benzodiazepines, often referred to as “Benzos,” are medications prescribed to treat psychological conditions. While effective in the short term, they can be highly addictive, leading to a difficult struggle for many.

If you or someone you love is struggling with Benzo addiction in Boynton Beach, this guide is for you.

Keep on reading to find out all the essential information you need to know about benzos, including the causes and signs of addiction, treatment methods, and how to get started on the path to lasting recovery.

A Brief Overview of Benzodiazepine

Benzodiazepines are a class of medications that include a variety of compounds. This group affects the central nervous system by enhancing the effects of a natural brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Benzos are commonly described for a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety and insomnia as well as stress-induced muscle spasms.

While they’re effective medications, their misuse can quickly lead to dependence and addiction, which is why they’re heavily regulated and listed as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drugs Act.

You should also note that different benzodiazepines have varying levels of potency and action onset/duration. However, they all have high addictive potential.


What Makes Benzodiazepine So Addictive?

As previously explained, Benzos works by mimicking the effects of GABA, which promotes relaxation.

This is also associated with the release of dopamine and other brain chemicals that trigger the reward receptors in the brain, which leads to cravings to repeat the pleasant experience.

With regular use, the body develops tolerance to benzodiazepines. This means you need higher doses to achieve the same relaxing effect.

Dependence develops as the brain adapts to the presence of benzos, making it difficult to function normally without them.

At that stage, stopping the drug or reducing its dose triggers unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including headache, muscle aches, and seizures (in severe cases only.)

Besides physical dependence, some people develop a strong psychological reliance on benzos to cope with stress or anxiety.

In other words, they believe they can’t manage without the medication. All this leads to continued misuse, which exacerbates the effect of the habit cycle and increases the severity of addiction.

Is Benzo Addiction Common in Florida?

Although there are other drugs that are more commonly addictive than Benzodiazepines, they’re still quite a problem all over the nation, and not just in Florida.

As a prescription medication, a lot of users underestimate its addictive potential, which increases the chances of misuse and dependence among prescription users who don’t follow the prescription properly.

One study shows that over 20% of benzo users are misusing the drug. This is not exclusive to a certain age group, as people of all ages are prone to Benzo addiction.

The problem with benzodiazepine addiction is that it comes at a dire cost to health and its overdose can lead to fatal complications, including respiratory depression, coma, and even death.

What Causes Benzodiazepine Addiction?

Benzodiazepine addiction is rarely caused by a single factor, as it’s always an intricate combination of causes and factors that could trigger dependence. However, some of these factors are common among many patients. Here’s a quick look at them:

Trying to Self-Medicate or Misusing Benzo as a Treatment

One of the leading causes behind Benzo addiction is misuse. This can take a wide range of forms that involve ignoring the healthcare provider’s recommendation while using the drug, such as:

  • Using Benzo at a higher dose than prescribed
  • Using Benzo beyond the prescription period
  • Administering benzo using methods other than the one prescribed. For example, crushing the tablets and snorting them instead of taking them in their intact form.

Some people might also use benzos as a method to cope with their anxiety or insomnia against medical advice, which also leads to dependence and addiction.

Genetics Predisposition to Benzo Addiction

Some people have a genetic vulnerability to addiction, making them more susceptible to developing dependence while taking benzos. This observation has been confirmed by various studies and clinical trials.

This also happens with early exposure to benzodiazepine, as other studies show that developing brains are also more likely to develop addictive patterns than fully mature ones.

History of Trauma

History of Trauma, Abuse, or Neglect

Experiences of trauma, abuse, or neglect can leave individuals struggling with anxiety and emotional pain.

This might lead people to consume benzodiazepines as a method to numb these feelings. However, this coping mechanism puts them at an extremely high risk of developing addiction in the long run.

Easy Access to Benzos

Since benzodiazepines are an FDA-approved medication with specific medical uses, they can be prescribed legally for certain conditions, unlike illicit drugs that are fully illegal.

While this allows them to offer relief for many people who do need them, easier access can also increase the risk of misuse and dependence among users and people who surround them.

Stressful Environment

Exposure to chronic stress can be a major trigger for benzodiazepine use. People in high-pressure environments, whether academically, socially, or professionally, may turn to these medications to cope, potentially developing a dependence over time.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepine addiction typically builds up gradually over time. For that reason, it can be a little tricky to identify. However, there are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for, as they’re commonly associated with benzo addiction:

Physical Signs

  • Drowsiness and fatigue throughout the day
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of focus on tasks
  • Impaired coordination and continuous stumbling on things
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle weakness or tremors
  • Constipation

Psychological Signs

  • Increased anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression and emotional instability
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Psychosis (in rare cases)

Social and Behavioral Signs

  • Taking more medication than prescribed
  • Preoccupation with obtaining benzodiazepine prescriptions through doctor shopping
  • Trying to seek illegal routes to get benzodiazepine
  • Withdrawal from society and ignoring hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
  • Suspicious behaviors, such as stealing and consistent borrowing to get Benzo medications
  • Financial ruin and legal troubles associated with suspicious and illegal behaviors

How to Treat Benzodiazepine Addiction

Since benzodiazepine addiction develops slowly over time, treating it also takes some patience and persistence.

treatment addiction

Yet, it’s still not impossible by any measure. Here are some of the most commonly used methods to treat it.

Medical Detoxification

The first step of any benzo addiction treatment protocol is medical detoxification, which is the process where the bodies completely purge benzos and their metabolites.

The challenging aspect of this process is that stopping benzos right away can massively exacerbate withdrawal symptoms, leading to life-threatening complications.

For that reason, medical supervision during this step is always recommended to help patients stay comfortable throughout this difficult period.

This can be done by gradually reducing the dose and prescribing medications that minimize withdrawal symptoms.

In severe cases, patients must remain in the rehab facility 24/7 for continuous monitoring and medical support, which is referred to as “residential treatment”

However, doctors might let patients with a mild addiction return home every day after treatment, which is called “outpatient treatment”

Individual Counseling

Rehab facilities will offer a variety of reliable therapy programs to help patients explore the root causes of their addiction.

One of the most reliable ways to achieve this is individual counseling where therapists can use a variety of reliable and well-established methods to help you develop a healthy mentality and manage stress through alternative, more positive channels.

One of the most common techniques used in these sessions is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.

CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thinking patterns and behaviors related to benzo use.

It also helps you develop healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with triggers like anxiety, stress, or insomnia, which effectively reduces cravings and relapse potential.

Family Therapy

Group and Family Therapy

Connecting with others is also essential for the success of treatment and achieving long-term recovery, as social isolation is one of the main triggers that cause drug use.

Group therapy for addiction typically includes meetings where people with similar experiences with Benzo addiction can share their experiences and offer encouragement and support to maintain a lifelong recovery.

Addiction can also strain family bonds. Therapy can help families overcome that by rebuilding trust and overcoming past traumas.

Family therapy also helps families develop healthier communication patterns, understanding, and empathy for the member struggling with addiction.

Complementary Therapy

Traditional methods can be further enhanced with holistic therapies. Practices like meditation, yoga, or acupuncture can promote relaxation and stress management techniques, which enhance the patient’s ability to cope with challenges that used to trigger drug use.

Additionally, these therapies can improve your overall well-being and foster a sense of calm. This aids patients with the recovery process from both physical and mental perspectives.

Taking the First Step Toward Recovery

Recovery from Benzo addiction is not a walk in the park, but it’s still perfectly achievable. Rehab facilities and medical professionals are there to guide you every step of the way, making the process as safe and manageable as possible.

If you or someone you love is struggling with benzodiazepine dependence, please seek immediate help, as early treatment increases the chances of full recovery. If you’re interested in finding out more, contact our experts at Recreate Life Counseling.

Published on: 2024-04-01
Updated on: 2024-04-02