What are Benzodiazepines, and How Do They Work?

What are Benzodiazepines - How they Work, Abuse and Treatment

Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world but are highly associated with problems including misuse, dependency, diversion, and death from overdose and withdrawal. Those who become dependent on benzodiazepines can be safely treated using drug detox at an addiction treatment center, but those who stop using these drugs without medical help face the risk of serious complications. Knowing more about how benzodiazepines work can help you and your loved ones stay safe from the many negative consequences that can arise from misusing this addictive medication.



What are Benzodiazepines, and How Do They Work?

Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, and also to prevent seizures. These drugs are central nervous system depressants that slow brain activity to produce feelings of calm and relaxation. Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Restoril are brand names for the five most commonly prescribed benzos.

Benzos are usually only prescribed for short-time use of between 1 and 2 weeks due to the way these drugs carry a high risk for dependence. People who use benzos for longer than 3 to 4 weeks are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping these drugs abruptly. Some benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are life-threatening and can lead to death when the withdrawal takes place outside of a safe drug rehab environment. Rebound insomnia, dehydration, seizures, and suicide are just some dangerous consequences that can arise from unsupervised benzo withdrawal.

Statistics on Benzodiazepine Use and Abuse

  • Benzodiazepine use led to 345,691 emergency department visits in 2010, with more than 36% of those cases being caused by alprazolam (Xanax).
  • Alprazolam is one of the top 3 prescription drugs diverted from the legal market.
  • Roughly 15% of the U.S. population uses benzodiazepines in any given year.
  • An estimated 6% of the U.S. population has abused sedative-hypnotics like benzos.
  • Benzodiazepines were linked to 10,684 overdose deaths in 2016.
  • The number of U.S. adults who filled benzodiazepine prescriptions increased by 67% from 1996 to 2013.
  • More than 30% of opioid overdoses also involve benzodiazepines.
  • People who combine benzos with opioids or alcohol face up to a 55% increase in the risk of serious outcomes like death compared to those who just use benzos alone.

Why Benzodiazepine Drug Detox is Important

Stopping use of benzodiazepines abruptly can lead to severe withdrawal and the risk for seizures. The safest way to manage benzo withdrawal is to taper off these drugs at a drug and alcohol detox center where withdrawal can be supervised and facilitated by trained medical staff. Benzodiazepine drug detox can reduce the risk for complications and help patients experience safer, more comfortable withdrawals as they overcome benzo dependence.

What Happens at Benzodiazepine Drug Rehab?

People who become dependent on and addicted to benzos can safely recover from benzodiazepine use disorder at drug and alcohol rehab centers. While going through drug detox, patients can receive behavioral therapy that helps them identify the reasons they became addicted to benzos in the first place.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people change negative thoughts and behaviors driving their addiction, while individual and group counseling teaches them how to manage and avoid common triggers that lead to substance abuse. Other therapies used to treat benzodiazepine use disorder include 12-step support groups, family therapy, relapse prevention education, nutrition therapy, equine therapy, and meditation.

California Rehab Campus can help you or a loved one safely overcome benzodiazepine use disorder using medical detox and therapy. Contact us today to learn more about our many drug rehab programs and get help to recover from addiction and achieve long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol.