Benzodiazepine addiction or addiction to sleeping pills is a silent epidemic, especially among elderly patients. What begins as a harmless solution to sleep problems in the form of a few tablets, when taken in an unsupervised manner and over the counter use, morphs into a dangerous addiction. Approximately 11.2 lakh people in India are dependent on sedatives.
There are a variety of treatment options for individuals suffering from an addiction to benzodiazepines. Depending on the severity of the addiction – a determination made after thorough evaluation with an addiction treatment specialist in UMANG CLINIC.
Because benzo withdrawal can produce life-threatening symptoms such as seizures, detoxing with medical support is a key first step of treatment. This is even more important for those addicted to multiple substances, as abusing more than one drug can significantly complicate withdrawal. A detox program can provide 24/7 oversight to ensure that no medical complications occur during the detox process, and that the person is as comfortable as possible during this tenuous period.
In order to minimize the possibility of complications, the typical course of treatment is to taper the dose of the drug over time and then stop use altogether. Also, medications may be given to assist in this process, such as longer-acting sedative agents.
Many a times, an undiagnosed underlying mental illness could be the actual cause for sleep disturbance, which requires treatment in order to get to the root of the issue.
Names of commonly available benzodiazepines are :
Benzodiazepines like Button and Diaza induce sleep and are prescribed as antianxiety medications. These are available illegally as well as by prescription by exaggeration of medical symptoms. Intense craving is a characteristic feature of these substances.
The effect of these substances is similar to that of alcohol in terms of disinhibited behaviour and slurred speech. Euphoria and other desired effects result from activation in the brain stem. These may result in slight drop in pulse, blood pressure, as well as respiratory rate.Adverse effects include ignorance of responsibilities at home and work, thus leading to repeated absences for long periods. In some cases, respiratory depression and hypotension developed suddenly may prove fatal. These substances can be particularly lethal when mixed with alcohol.
Other substance use such as cannabis, opioid, and alcohol is often associated with this disorder. Intravenous consumption leads to an increased risk of HIV and Hepatitis. Co-occurrence of disorders such as antisocial personalitydisorder, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders is common.
Benzodiazepines do indeed have addictive potential. While therapeutic doses of these medications are effective for the conditions they treat, misuse and abuse of these drugs can easily lead to addiction.
Benzodiazepines lead to feelings of sedation, but at higher doses they lead to feelings of euphoria in some users. When consumed in sufficient amounts, they can result in dopamine surges that promote rewarding feelings in the brain. This reinforcement of the reward centers of the brain causes benzos to be addictive. When someone abuses them over time, the rewarding feeling in the brain caused by these drugs surpasses those of natural rewards and so drug use takes a priority over other healthy activities.
Due to the development of tolerance over time, it takes ever-increasing doses to produce the euphoric effects that are produced when a person begins abusing these drugs. Continuing to raise the dose to feel the effects is a huge risk factor for the development of dependence and addiction.
A benzodiazepine addiction may have already developed if you find that the drug in question has risen to the top of your priorities, or if you’re willing to risk harm, break laws, and forsake all that you previously held dear in favor of using the substance.
Medications are given to manage the craving or desire to consume Benzodiazepines.
Quitting the addictive substance is the first step and the crucial beginning of a long battle against craving and relapse. Counseling is an essential part of treatment for all patients of addiction. Drug refusal skills, craving management, anger management, and problem solving skills are various skills to be imparted to the patient in counseling and help those recovering from addiction stay clean. Psychotherapy can also be used to treat the other mental health conditions that often contribute to addiction.
Addiction is more than a physical dependence on drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Even after detox, when physical dependence is cured, patients are at high risk for relapse. Psychological and social factors are often powerful stimuli for relapse, which include :
These factors can create ongoing, nearly irresistible urges to use various substances of abuse. Counseling helps patients escape craving and learn to cope with life, without falling prey to addiction. Several counseling therapies are available for addictions abuse, and no method is known to be the best. Likewise, no one approach is appropriate for everyone with addiction. At UMANG CLINIC, a personalized counseling & treatment plan will be designed to cater to each individual’s addiction problem.
Treatment enables people to counteract addiction's powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives. In addition to stopping regular substance use, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community.
Nearly all patients suffering from addiction problem believe at the outset that they can stop using drugs on their own, some succeed but unfortunately most relapse. The psychological and physiological dependence which the patient is habituated to requires professional treatment and guidance which increases their chances of being successful and achieve long-term abstinence.