Like most other drugs, the abuse of benzodiazepines is likely to cause benzodiazepine abuse symptoms. Despite their effectiveness in treating anxiety and other psychological disorders and conditions, benzodiazepines are known to cause dependence over time. This is the reason why most physicians do not readily prescribe benzodiazepines even if a patient presents with a condition or symptoms in which the medications are indicated for treatment.
The greatest benzodiazepine abuse symptom is dependence. This refers to the condition in which the patient is forced to take increasing dosages of the drug so as to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. Because of tolerance, the body will become used to the effect of benzodiazepines and the patient will be feeling obliged to take increasing dosages of the medication. This will only make matters worse because high dosages mean greater side-effects and greater risks to the health of the abuser.
Dependence on benzodiazepines is broadly categorized into psychological and physical dependence. Some patients may suffer from both the physical and the psychological dependence and may experience severe symptoms. Drug addiction experts state that people who find themselves unable to stop taking the medications despite being worried about the side-effects they experience from the drugs are addicted to benzodiazepines.
Distinction should however be made between drug abuse and addiction to benzodiazepines and the usual physical dependence on the drugs. Physical dependence in most cases develops after the drugs have been taken for a long period of time in treating a specific medical condition. On the other hand, behavioral addiction will occur if the medication has been taken intentionally in high dosages in order to capture the sensation of euphoria.
Symptoms of the abuse of benzodiazepines may range from mild to severe and they may vary from one person to another. In all cases, the intensity and severity of the symptoms is very dependent on the quantity that has been abused and the duration of the abuse.
If the addicted person attempts to stop taking the medications abruptly this will result in withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be as severe as the conditions which the medications were originally prescribed to treat. The fear of these withdrawal symptoms is what makes people remain in a cycle of abuse as they take more and more benzodiazepines in increasing dosages.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
People addicted to benzodiazepines may also have thoughts of self-harm or suicidal tendencies. They may be violent towards other people and the US Department of Health recommends that there should be close monitoring of the moods of the patient who is recovering from benzodiazepine abuse. The thoughts of self-harm and actual attempts to injure oneself are particularly common in young people who are victims of benzodiazepine abuse.