Benzodiazepines (benzos) are highly addictive central nerve system depressants that work by slowing down the brain.
Doctors usually prescribe them to treat anxiety, sleep, and panic disorders. However, benzos have a high potential for abuse. They make the user feel calm, euphoric, and disinhibited at first but quickly cause physical and mental addiction.
There are many types of benzodiazepines, including:
Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.
Over five million adults misused benzodiazepines in the United States in 2016.
Benzo misuse can lead to a range of short-term and long-term side effects and health problems, including addiction.
Short-term effects and risks include:
Long-term effects include:
Benzodiazepine abuse and addiction can be harmful to your health and can disrupt your work-life and relationships.
If you have a benzodiazepine addiction, it may feel like it is impossible to stop using.
However, with a medically assisted detox and effective addiction treatment, everyone can recover from addiction and go on to live a life of sobriety.
The decision to attend a rehabilitation program can be difficult, but it is also life-changing. It is a chance to overcome your addiction and make a fresh start in life.
Benzodiazepine detox is usually the first step in recovering from benzodiazepine use disorder.
Detox involves removing all traces of a substance and its toxins from your body.
If you repeatedly use benzos over some time, you may develop a physical dependence on the substance.
Benzos increase the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a naturally occurring chemical that slows the brain down, making you feel drowsy and calm.
If you repeatedly use benzos, your brain registers the increased GABA activity and adjusts the level and signaling of neurotransmitters to rebalance the brain so it can function normally. Eventually, you need higher and higher doses of the substance to achieve the same effects.
After some time, you become dependent on the drug just to feel normal. With benzos, this can happen after just three to four weeks. While many countries recommend that benzos should only be prescribed for two to four weeks, this advice is largely ignored by doctors and patients. Estimates of long-term use among benzo users range from 25-75%.
If you suddenly stop taking benzos, you may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. Between 15–44% of chronic benzo users experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms, including feelings of anxiety and depression. Sudden withdrawal from benzos can have serious or even life-threatening side effects.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
In severe cases, withdrawal from benzos can result in post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). PAWS are symptoms that you still experience more than two weeks after withdrawing from a substance. PAWS symptoms include depression, anxiety, and insomnia and can last for many months.
Withdrawing from benzos without professional medical supervision can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous. Medically assisted detox uses various strategies to ease withdrawal symptoms and ensure detox is safe. These include:
At Cirque Lodge, medical detox takes place in luxury treatment facilities under the 24-hour supervision of medical professionals.
We begin your rehabilitation experience with an in-depth assessment of your use of benzodiazepines and design a detox plan for you. Detox takes place in specialized deluxe facilities to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
Our team of licensed medics is available 24/7 to cater to your needs and ensure you are safe at all times. They may prescribe you medication as part of the withdrawal process if you require it.
Detox alone is rarely sufficient for long-term recovery from benzodiazepine use disorder.
Effective treatment requires identifying and overcoming the causes of your benzo use so you can stay sober in the years ahead.
Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that effective treatment should offer a combination of different treatment options adapted to suit your individual needs. Treatment should be long-term and aim to heal the entire person, treating underlying mental health issues alongside addiction.
At Cirque Lodge, we offer an individualized treatment program that combines a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches. We provide a holistic healing experience that nurtures personal growth and spiritual development. We help you rediscover your passions, reconnect with your inner self, and lay the foundations for a joyful life of sobriety.
Our treatment approaches include:
Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves identifying the thought, emotional, and behavioral patterns that cause you to use a substance and developing skills to overcome them. Research shows that CBT is an effective method for stopping benzodiazepine use.
During CBT sessions, you work with a therapist to identify triggers, stresses, and situations that cause you to use benzos. You then develop effective strategies to deal with these stresses in healthy ways. National Institute of Drug Abuse research has found that skills learned in CBT remain with you long after your residential treatment has ended.
Experiential therapy offers the chance to develop and reinforce skills you have learned in therapy sessions through exciting outdoor activities and other enriching experiences.
Through experiential therapy, you can rediscover passions and build your self-confidence as you overcome challenges. You can develop honest communication and other social skills and learn how to overcome addiction in a hands-on way.
At Cirque Lodge treatment center we offer an incredible range of unique and memorable experiences, including:
Helicopter rides at 10,000 feet to the highest parts of the Rocky Mountains
An art therapy room with some of the most advanced equipment in the industry
SAMHSA research estimates that almost half of people with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring disorder or other mental health condition. Co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression can be the driving force behind benzodiazepine use. If ignored, they can cause a return to drug use even after long periods of sobriety.
At Cirque Lodge, our dual diagnosis program treats co-occurring disorders alongside your addiction. We aim to heal your entire person so you can learn to love life without benzodiazepines and maintain abstinence in the years ahead.
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