Benzo Addiction Treatment and Recovery 101
The rate of benzodiazepine abuse among American adults is reaching worrisome proportions. Below, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about benzos, including how to overcome a dependence on this risky and addictive medication.
What Are Benzos?
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are a family of psychoactive drugs that work by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Benzos work on the brain’s GABA receptors, which results in hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant, antianxiety and muscle-relaxant properties.
Once a benzodiazepine drug has crossed the blood-brain barrier, it triggers the brain to release large amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter and is responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness. This chemical reaction in the brain is the reason why benzos have such a high rate of abuse and addiction.
How Long Are Benzos Usually Prescribed for?
And for Which Illnesses?
Benzos come with an extremely high potential for abuse, which is why medical groups usually recommend that benzos should only be prescribed for between two to four weeks at the most, and at the lowest effective dose. However, this advice is very often ignored, and many patients may use benzodiazepine medications for months or even years on end.
Because benzodiazepine drugs act as a powerful central nervous system depressant, they are frequently prescribed to treat the following medical disorders:
- Panic attacks
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
Benzodiazepines Addiction Frequently Asked Questions
Learn about the addiction signs, effects and treatment of benzodiazepines by reading through our answers to a number of frequently asked questions: