Addiction, or substance use disorder, refers to a condition where you compulsively take a drug despite being aware of the negative consequences.
Benzo addiction is usually a result of the drug’s high potential to cause physical dependence.
Psychological dependence tends to co-occur as users start to believe they need the drug to function normally.
Physical dependence on benzos results from the way the drug interacts with the chemistry of the brain. These sedatives work by amplifying the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA, causing moderately euphoric, calming, sleep-inducing, and muscle relaxant effects.
However, in the long-term, the body reacts and adapts to maintain normal chemistry levels. If GABA is overwhelming the system, it increases its responses that oppose sedation. In the body, you are likely to experience this as rising tolerance first and will have to take more of the drug to get the same effects. Many users will continue increasing their doses, and in turn, the body grows more physically dependent. At this point, if a user stops taking the drug, the body will go into painful withdrawal.
This process occurs to some degree in most people who use benzos, even when taken exactly as prescribed. Physical and psychological dependence on these drugs can quickly escalate into substance abuse disorder. If you are experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, medically assisted detox can help.