Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that is commonly abused. Often referred to as benzos for short, they are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Brand-name drugs in this category include Valium, Xanax, and Ativan. These drugs can be habit-forming when used long-term or outside of prescription guidelines.
The most common entry point to benzo abuse is through self-medication. These drugs act as a central nervous system depressants, which means they bring on a relaxed feeling. People sometimes abuse these drugs as a means of escaping difficult emotions or troublesome circumstances. Hiding a benzo addiction is often hard because of benzo addiction symptoms. Paying attention to common benzo addiction symptoms can help you intervene on behalf of a loved one who needs professional help.
What Does Benzo Addiction Look Like?
So what does benzo addiction look like? If you want to support someone you love who is struggling with benzo abuse, it’s important to know the signs. Benzo addiction symptoms tend to fall into one of three categories: behavioral, physical, and mental. Exactly which signs are most prominent varies from person to person. Each category is outlined below.
1. Behavioral Benzo Addiction Symptoms
The behavioral signs of benzo addiction largely overlap with any other addiction. One of the most common things among people who struggle with addiction is social withdrawal. They may isolate themselves from friends or family. You may also notice that they stop doing hobbies or activities that previously brought them a lot of joy.
In the case of benzos, be aware of doctor shopping. Since benzos are prescription only, some people who are addicted to them may try to build their supply by getting the same prescription from multiple doctors. This practice is called doctor shopping. It is very dangerous. The more supply a person has, the more liable they are to take in higher doses and potentially overdose.
2. Physical Benzo Addiction Symptoms
The next category of benzo addiction symptoms is physical. People who abuse benzos can suffer from the following side effects:
- Muscle weakness
- Blurred vision
3. Mental Benzo Addiction Symptoms
The last category of benzo addiction symptoms is mental. These cognitive symptoms are largely related to mental functioning and mood. For starters, benzo abuse can lead to decreased cognitive function. This could look like confusion, slowed processing, lack of concentration, or lowered inhibitions. Memory problems can also be present in people who abuse benzos over a long period of time.
Meanwhile, benzos can affect mood by making people more irritable or prone to angry outbursts. Abusing benzos can also lead someone to become more emotionally detached.
Get Help for Benzo Addiction at Serenity Grove
The best way to combat a benzo addiction is with professional help. Detox is always the first step in benzo addiction treatment. In cases of severe abuse or addiction, detox may be complicated by the presence of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the result of the body trying to adjust to life without a drug. A few of the withdrawal symptoms linked to benzos are anxiety, agitation, restlessness, and sensory hypersensitivity.
Formal benzo addiction treatment, after detox is complete, largely consists of therapy and ongoing support. Behavioral therapies, in particular, are often useful in treating a benzo addiction. Therapy during benzo addiction treatment can be delivered on an individual basis or else in a group setting. Both formats are proven to lead people to lasting results.
Some of the different topics discussed in therapy are trauma, relapse prevention, coping skills, mental health challenges, and interpersonal issues. The goal of therapy is to unearth the root causes of addiction and help someone address them in order to promote long-term sobriety.