Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription medications typically given to those who have a severe struggle with anxiety. Famous name brands like Valium and Klonopin were household names as “mommy’s little helper” letting anxious and stressed moms manage their emotions. Today, much of the focus in benzodiazepines is given to Xanax. Xanax has become a popular source of drug abuse and addiction. Abused for its sedative and euphoric effects, addicts become dependent upon “popping bars”, also called “Xanies” or “sticks”. Xanax is often abused in conjunction with other substances like opioids and alcohol. In these combinations, the abuse of benzodiazepines can be lethal.
The anti-anxiety medications weren’t meant to cause a problem. For decades, psychiatrists truly felt and assured patients with confidence that the medications being prescribed were non-habit forming. When a patient would run out of medication or miss a day’s dosage, they noticed something peculiar. They had serious cravings for the drug and even experienced symptoms of withdrawal. Fearful of the anxiety they were experiencing in mind and body, they scrambled to find more medication. In some, benzodiazepines create a tolerance threshold which inspires users to go outside their prescription orders and take more of the drug.
Addiction to benzodiazepines creates one of the worst sets of withdrawal symptoms. Fully detoxing from drugs like Xanax can take months, compared to the treacherous weeks it takes to detox from other drugs and alcohol. Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction is difficult because through abusing the drugs, a user has become used to the way the medication numbs out their emotion. Having developed a tolerance for emotional pain and discomfort, they are inexperienced and chemically unable to cope with even the most subtle hints of stress and anxiety. Convincing someone in recovery to stay sober from benzodiazepines can be challenging.
According to Psychiatry Advisor, new research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to “motivational approaches” are effective methods for treating benzodiazepine addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely regarded evidence based therapy method which helps clients identify the destructive thoughts behind harmful behaviors. By restructuring their programmed reactions, they are able to respond in a more regulated way.
LEAD Recovery Center offers extended care programs to anyone needing to continue their treatment. Our multiphase transitional programs give clients the confidence they need to handle all of life and thrive in recovery. For more information, call 1-800-380-0012.