Benzodiazepine abuse develops from the long term use and eventual misuse of this class of drug. The addiction may entail psychological as well as physical dependence. This addiction is characterized by the experience of withdrawal symptoms when there is a decrease in the plasma levels of the benzodiazepines because of abrupt withdrawal or even a gradual reduction in dosage.
Physical dependence on benzodiazepines occurs when the person that is using or abusing the drugs becomes tolerant to them. Tolerance refers to the condition in which the body becomes used to the effects of the drug. The patient will thus be forced to take unusually high doses of the drug in order to feel any effect.
Addiction, or psychological dependence as it is referred to in most cases, includes the misuse of the drug and the patient will crave the drug in order to experience not only relief from the withdrawal symptoms but also for the purpose of experiencing its intoxicating and euphoric effects.
Addicts to benzodiazepines may also include people who initially took the medication on medical prescription to relieve or treat certain conditions but find themselves in a cycle whereby they are unable to stop taking the medication because if they do they suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
It is very important to make a clear distinction between drug abuse and addiction to benzodiazepines and the physical dependence on these medications. Physical dependence develops because of long-term use of the benzodiazepines for the treatment or relief of a condition in which the medication is indicated. On the other hand, behavioral addiction and drug abuse rarely occur in people who take the medication on prescription; it mostly occurs in people who take it for reasons other than medical treatment.
Because of the various side-effects and the potential health risks, benzodiazepines should be prescribed only if there is no other alternative medication that can treat or offer relief to the condition or disorder from which the patient is suffering.
Physicians in the US avoid prescribing benzodiazepines to patients, even those that present symptoms of the conditions for which these medications are indicated for treatment. Due to this, general benzodiazepine prescriptions in the country as a whole are in a downward trend.
In the short term, these medications are very effective in the treatment and relief of anxiety but long term use can cause other serious side-effects and health complications.
Benzodiazepine Abuse Signs and Symptoms
- An inability to live a normal life without taking the drug.
- Futile attempts to reduce the intake of high dosages of the medication.
- Tolerance ( the need to take high doses in order to feel any effect from the drugs), and withdrawal symptoms after reducing the dose or failing to take the drug.
Benzodiazepine Abuse Withdrawal Symptoms
If the benzodiazepines have been abused for some time, the patient may suffer from thoughts of suicide and may attempt to self-harm or threaten to harm others. Because of these withdrawal symptoms, people that are addicted to benzodiazepines should seek medical advice 800-303-2482 on how to end the abuse of the medication.