Benzo Addiction Treatment in Idaho

While much of the attention over the past several years has been centered around opioids and opioid abuse, the rate at which people abuse benzodiazepines, or benzos has also been on the rise.

While benzos do serve a valuable medical purpose, they are also often taken in ways other than directed. With benzo abuse and addiction on the rise, it is important to know the warning signs of benzo abuse and addiction so you or a loved one can receive benzo addiction treatment.

At Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery in Nampa, Idaho, our benzo addiction treatment center can help you or a loved one suffering from drug abuse break the cycle of addiction and recover long-term.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, also commonly referred to as benzos, are a Schedule IV controlled substances. Medically speaking, benzos are a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that helps slow down a person’s central nervous system.

Benzos have been medically prescribed for over 50 years to help treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, insomnia, muscle spasms, and seizures. In some cases, benzos are even given to a person before the anesthesia is administered during surgery to calm their nerves.

Common brand names of benzodiazepines include:

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan
  • Restoril
  • Ambien

Due to their powerful side effects, benzodiazepines can become highly addictive. Without professional help at a benzo addiction treatment center, substance abuse can take over all aspects of one’s life, and cause major health complications, mentally and physically.

How Do Benzos Work?

Benzos are a central nervous system depressant, meaning they depress or slow down the body and brain’s central nervous system. This drug classification also applies to substances such as alcohol.

benzo addiction treatment center

Specifically, benzos act upon the central nervous system receptors in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A). This is what produces the calming and relaxation effects that someone feels after they have taken benzos.

While those taking benzos to treat a medical condition might feel more “normal” when they take it, those who abuse benzos or take them in ways other than medically directed benzos can produce feelings of intense relaxation, pleasure, and euphoria.

Why Are Benzos Addictive?

Similar to opioids and other highly addictive illicit substances, benzos create a surge of dopamine levels. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and euphoria.

While normally, the brain would regulate dopamine levels on its own, when benzos enter the system the brain loses the ability to control the release of these dopamine levels and the amount of dopamine that is released. Over time, the brain not only becomes reliant on the benzos to handle the release of dopamine, but it also becomes dependent on the higher dopamine levels that the benzos produce.

When the brain thinks that it can no longer function properly without these elevated dopamine levels, it means that it is addicted to benzos.

Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Abuse

While many people take benzos for the calming and euphoric effects, abusing benzos can lead to many unwanted side effects and symptoms including:

  • Confusion
  • Increased anxiety
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurry vision
  • Impaired judgment
  • Headaches
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory issues
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Difficult breathing
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

In addition to these side effects, if you suspect or fear that a loved one might be suffering from benzodiazepine abuse or addiction, certain behavioral patterns can tip you off including:

  • Lying about their benzo use
  • Finding empty bottles or drug paraphernalia hidden
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Ignoring obligations or responsibilities
  • Getting into financial trouble as a result of their benzo use
  • Engaging in risky activity while under the influence
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Noticeable changes in mood
  • Noticeable changes in personal hygiene
  • “Doctor shopping”

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Causes of Benzodiazepine Abuse

benzodiazepine drug addictionWhile taking benzos doesn’t automatically mean that you will develop a substance abuse problem. However, certain risk factors can cause you or someone you know to develop an addiction problem.

Below are some of the causes and risk factors associated with benzodiazepine abuse:

  • Gender – Females are 37% more likely to develop a benzo addiction than males
  • Age – People between the ages of 18-25 are more likely to sue and abuse benzos recreationally
  • Duration – If you take benzos for more than 6 months, even if medically prescribed, you increase the risk of dependency and addiction
  • Genetics – Those who have addiction run in their immediate family are more likely to develop a substance abuse issue themselves
  • Environment – Those who grew up around substance abuse, addiction, violence, or experienced trauma at a young age are more likely to develop a substance abuse issue
  • Experimentation – Those who experiment with drugs or alcohol, especially at a younger age are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem.

Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Short term, when you take benzos you might notice some enjoyable effects such as:

  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety relief
  • Sedation
  • Relaxation

It’s these enjoyable effects that keep you taking more and more. However, over time these effects can go from enjoyable to not-so-enjoyable and even dangerous.

Long-term, prolonged benzo use can lead to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-harm
  • Inability to keep or get a job
  • Relationship problems
  • Physical and mental health problems
  • Legal trouble
  • Using other substances for abuse
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Financial problems
  • Chronic absenteeism

Co-Occurring Disorders and Benzos

As is the case with many other substances of abuse, many people turn to benzos as a way to deal with other issues going on in their life. They might be struggling mentally and instead of seeking professional help, they turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of self-medicating so that they can feel better.

While in the short term this might seem like an effective strategy, long-term this can not only lead to more mental health issues, but it can also lead to dependency and addiction and the physical ailments that come with that as well. This is known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.

Some of the most common mental health conditions that are associated with benzodiazepine abuse include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Other substance abuse issues

In some situations, benzo abuse and addiction can trigger mental health issues that might not have previously existed. Benzodiazepine addiction can cause the chemical makeup of the brain to change which can ultimately lead to the development of a new mental health condition.

Benzodiazepine Detox

motivational interviewing for addiction

If you or a loved one is looking to seek treatment for benzo dependency or addiction, the first step in that process is to undergo benzodiazepine detox. The detox process is done to rid the brain and body of all harmful substances so that the body and brain can begin to heal.

Due to the nature of detoxing and the withdrawal symptoms associated with it, detoxing should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. This can be done at a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment center that also offers detox services such as Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery. Self-detox can be dangerous, potentially life-threatening, and can increase the risk of relapse.

Some symptoms associated with benzo withdrawal and detox include:

  • Weight loss
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Cognitive problems
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Hyperventilation
  • Suicidal thoughts

During the detox process, especially early on, you might be given medications to help alleviate some of these withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

Once detox has been completed, the next step is to begin treatment with either an inpatient or outpatient program. Your treatment professional will recommend a treatment plan and program for you based on a variety of factors including the severity of the addiction and if you can enter into an inpatient program.

During treatment for benzo addiction, you will participate in a variety of different therapies to help treat your addiction. Therapy has been proven to be one of the more effective ways to not just treat substance abuse and addiction, but any underlying mental health conditions you might be dealing with as well.

Your treatment professional will create a custom treatment plan for you based on your needs. At Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery, we offer a variety of different therapies including:

Benzo Addiction Treatment at Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery

While benzodiazepines do have many important medical uses, they also have a tendency to be used and abused in ways other than directed. This can lead to addiction. Even if you are medically prescribed benzos, there is a risk of an addiction developing, especially if you take them for a long time.

Whether you have taken benzos medically or recreationally if you have developed a benzo abuse or addiction problem it is important to get help right away.

At Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery in Idaho, we understand the importance of treatment for all different types of substances of abuse. That’s why we offer a wide variety of treatment programs for not just benzo addiction but other substances of abuse as well including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and others.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and needs treatment, contact us today.