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Overcoming a Benzodiazepine Addiction

Overcoming a Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are very good at their job — they quickly calm and sedate you, allowing you to overcome anxiety or sleep better. Just like opioid-based painkillers, these quick fixes were routinely prescribed, oftentimes without patients fully understanding the considerable risks for misuse and addiction.

Today, we know better, and benzos are being recommended with more caution, but they’re still being prescribed with alarming regularity. As a result, we’re dealing with the aftermath in terms of benzodiazepine use disorders.

To help, our team at Northshore Health offers benzodiazepine addiction services that can help you safely wean yourself from benzos, allowing you to break free from the medication.

Here’s a look at why benzodiazepines are problematic and what we can do to help. 

Understanding benzodiazepines and their link to addiction

When we talk about benzos, we’re referring to medications, such as:

These medications are incredibly fast-acting and are mostly prescribed to help people with anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal, and sleep disorders.

The reason they’re so effective is that they create an appreciable jump in dopamine levels and your brain becomes accustomed to this overstimulation of your reward centers. In turn, your brain can suppress your own natural production of dopamine and rely on this outside source, increasingly demanding more.

To put some numbers to the problem, one report found that of 30+ million adults in the United States who reported past-year benzodiazepine use, nearly 20% misused the medication.

Combating benzo misuse and use disorders

When your brain becomes accustomed to the benzo, you’re left with uncontrollable cravings that may lead to misusing your prescription (taking the medication more often or taking more than prescribed). This slippery slope can, all too quickly, lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking the benzos, which include:

In extreme cases, a person can die from abruptly withdrawing from benzos, which is why we urge you to come see us.

Through our benzodiazepine addiction services, we can help you break free from the drugs, either through a slow wean or a rapid taper. With a slow wean, we gradually, and safely, reduce the amount of the medication you’re taking until you’re no longer taking any. 

With a rapid taper, we use alternative medications that can help you quickly stop taking benzos.

In either case, we’re with you every step of the way, offering recovery support, counseling, and the medical services you need to break your benzodiazepine addiction.

To learn more, contact our office in Bothell, Washington, to set up a consultation.

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