Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

Benzodiazepine pills are prescribed to help people cope with intense anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Unfortunately after repeated use or misuse, it is possible to develop an addiction that can alter brain chemistry and have a negative effect on a person’s life. Many people do not intend on misusing the tranquilizers, but some have such high potency that it only takes a few uses to develop a dependency. The longer someone relies on benzodiazepines to treat their problems, the more difficult and uncomfortable it will be to no longer use them.

Achieving sobriety is possible with support from family, friends and counseling from professionals. No two people have the same experience with addiction, so creating a tailored treatment plan is the best way to succeed. A journey to sobriety should first begin with seeking treatment and detoxification then once a plan is chosen, utilize therapy and stay on track.

Seeking Treatment: Recognizing an addiction to Benzodiazepines is not as easy as an addiction to other more illicit substances. Most often, people take Benzodiazepines to treat undesirable conditions and the drugs are meant to make them feel better. Giving up the medication means that there is a chance that those conditions and the symptoms that accompany them might return. Venturing into rehabilitation is a brave step in the right direction and a good support system can help make seeking treatment easier. A person seeking treatment should not make any decisions about a course of action until they speak to a doctor or counselor. Advice from a medical professional is crucial when deciding on individualized medications or therapies.

Detoxification: The next step on the road to an addiction free life is to rid the body’s physical dependence to the medications. In most cases, it is not a good idea to stop taking benzodiazepine medications all together, but to slowly reduce dosages. Withdrawal symptoms in patients with a benzodiazepine addiction can be severe and usually include:

  • Shaking
  • Mood swings
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor socialization
  • Low energy
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Depression
  • Convulsions
  • Depersonalization

Because of the intense symptoms that often come with benzodiazepine detoxification, patients are highly encouraged to use resources such as in or outpatient rehabilitation centers. These centers can provide a safe environment away from temptations as well as specialized care and therapy. Utilizing these centers can increase the chances of staying sober and reaching a full recovery.

Utilizing Therapy: There are many treatment options available for those wanting to overcome addiction to Benzodiazepine, but studies have found that the most successful treatment should include a gradual decrease of the medication dosage and be able to manage the anxiety or other symptoms that will arise when this happens. The best way to create a treatment or therapy plan is to meet with a medical professional or counselor that can analyze an individual’s situation.

Treatment Options for Benzodiazepine Addiction

Undergoing treatment for addiction of any kind is a very difficult time. It is uncomfortable both physically and emotionally and without the right combination of support and treatment, a person is likely to return to the comfort of their addictive substance.

Pharmacological approaches to Treatment

Antidepressants: Antidepressants are often prescribed to those undergoing Benzodiazepine addiction treatment to help fend off the major anxiety symptoms that can occur during treatment.

Low-risk Benzodiazepines: An option for overcoming a severe addiction is to temporarily switch to a Benzodiazepine with a lower addiction risk and gradually decrease the dosage.

Pain relievers: Using pain relievers alongside other medications can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Reducing withdrawal symptoms makes it easier to resist the drug therefore complete detoxification.

Behavioral Interventions

Behavioral interventions are forms of therapy that do not involve any medication but instead try to address the mental and emotional sides of addiction and correct them. Addiction treatment to Benzodiazepines should include an emphasis on management of mental stresses and relapse prevention strategies.

Symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks and depression often lead patients to abandon treatment. Using behavioral interventions, patients can work with medical professionals to discover the true source of these symptoms. Keeping a diary to track triggers for anxiety can teach patients how to control the way they react to it. Counselors can teach relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and developing the skills to break free of attacks are valuable to patient recovery. Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapies are helpful in developing these stress-coping strategies.

Support Group Therapy

Whether they are run by rehabilitation centers or independently, support groups and 12-step groups are very helpful. Support groups enable a person to surround themselves with their peers in a judgement free place where people want to help one another overcome addiction. People can share stories about their recovery and encourage others to do the same. People can develop confidence in themselves and lean on others for tips and support. If a person becomes active in a support group, they have a better chance of overcoming their addiction. Recovery is a long and arduous process that involves active participation in treatment. Some support groups do not require members to use their full or real names to protect the identities of those who wish to remain anonymous in their struggles.

12 Step Program: Most support groups use the 12 step program as a structure for treatment. In the 12-step program, users acknowledge their problems and learn to trust a higher power to help them overcome. 12-step programs are less about stopping drug use and more about creating a better life that does not require substance abuse.

Locate a treatment facility in your area:

The Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is a service that allows you to anonymously find a addiction treatment facility in your area by simply putting in your address / city or zip code.

Finding a Sponsor: Support groups often suggest that people undergoing treatment find a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who acts as a mentor and encouragement through the recovery process. Sponsors typically have remained addiction-free for over 5 years and is confident to help someone else in their journey.

Chat with others
Addiction forums are a great way to get lots of information on drug addiction.  You can read about frequently asked questions, you can chat with others, and ultimately find someone who is going through the same situation as you and create a powerful bond to beat your addiction together. Read more about online addiction forums.

View Sources Last Edited: May 10, 2018

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.benzo.org.uk/ashtbd.htm
  2. https://www.promises.com/treatment-programs/benzodiazepine/
  3. http://www.newbeginningsdrugrehab.org/benzodiazepine-rehab/
  4. http://www.rehabs.com/about/benzodiazepine-rehab/
  5. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/benzodiazepine-abuse
  6. http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-benzodiazepine-use.html
  7. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/benzodiazepine_abuse/page3_em.htm