It is not unusual for those who suffer from anxiety, depression and panic disorders to use benzodiazepines to cope. Sadly, addiction to benzodiazepines worsens the mental health disorders and complicates treatment. Integrated dual diagnosis programs are now considered best practice for individuals with mental health disorders and benzodiazepine addiction.
Mood Disorders Associated with Benzodiazepine Abuse
Studies have shown that the abuse of benzodiazepines for those suffering from co-occurring severe mental illness and substance abuse is not uncommon. Those taking benzodiazepines scored high on overall measures for symptoms of anxiety and depression and low on quality of life. Furthermore, patients who were prescribed benzodiazepines were more likely to begin abusing them.
Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. While the issue remains controversial, abuse should be seriously considered when taking benzodiazepines. An addiction can be developed from relying on these medications. In the cycle of addiction, an ever-increasing dosage is needed to produce the medication’s same effect until, in the end, the medication stops working altogether. At this point, the depression and anxiety that were initially being treated with the benzodiazepine has been made worse.
Common benzodiazepines are Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin.
Benzodiazepines can further add to a mental health disorder because the medication can create emotional anesthesia, a state that diminishes one’s emotional life.
It is estimated that 80% of benzodiazepine abusers are in fact poly-drug users. The more drugs and alcohol a person consumes, the more difficult the withdrawal process will be. These dynamics increase the chances for misdiagnosis. The importance of an alcohol and drug rehab center that has comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment cannot be underestimated.
Medication Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction & Withdrawal
Certified addiction physicians and psychiatric nurses and therapists with mental health experience can help sort out substance-induced mental health symptoms from an actual mental health disorder. Medications can be prescribed that can manage the mental health disorder, address the addiction and avoid the development of a new addiction. Common psychiatric medications prescribed in drug rehab centers for dual diagnosis treatment of benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal are:
- Klonopin (Clonazepam)
Klonopin is a long-acting benzodiazepine that can help minimize symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal from short-acting benzo addiction. It is used to treat seizures as well as panic and anxiety.
Phenobarbital is from the class of drugs known as barbiturates. This particular drug is generally used to treat seizures and anxiety. It works by slowing down the activity in the brain. It is used to counteract benzodiazepine withdrawal.
- Buspirone (Buspar)
Buspirone is a medication used to reduce anxiety. It classified as an anxiolytic because of the influence it has on the neurotransmitters in the brain, especially serotonin. It is different than benzodiazepines, as it does not depress the central nervous system or cause sedation.
- Tegretol (Carbamazepine)
This drug is prescribed to help reduce symptoms of anxiety. It acts upon the brain by calming activity.
- Tofranil (Imipramine)
Tofranil is among the drugs in the tricylic antidepressant class. It is used to treat depression and anxiety as a result of benzodiazepine abuse.
Looking for Treatment?
Maybe you started taking benzodiazepine medication for fun. Maybe you started to help ease your anxiety. You probably didn’t count on becoming addicted and being a slave to benzos. Recovery Connection’s staff understands your problem and can help you find the solution today. Call 866.812.8231 and reclaim your life.
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