Benzodiazepines, or simply benzos, are prescription medications used to address a wide range of mental and physical disorders. Unfortunately, the ailments they aim to address are also reasons why bezos are heavily abused and prone to addiction. This can carry serious health effects and long-term mental consequences. Recovering from benzo addiction is not easy, but it is possible. Benzo relapse, while prevalent, is part of the journey to recovery.
If you or someone you love is battling with substance abuse, or benzo addiction specifically, contact AspenRidge Recovery centers at 855-281-5588. We offer tailored programs that address addiction, as well as underlying mental health issues.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, more commonly known as benzos, are a group of prescription medications that have long been used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. They work by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters called GABA, which is responsible for calming down our nervous system.
They also increase the effect of other brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.
These drugs are often prescribed to people who suffer from panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
The euphoric and sedative effects of benzos put them in a high-risk category for abuse from both medicinal use and recreational use.
There are many different types of benzos made for treating different disorders. When taken properly, they are safe and effective at treating medical conditions, though there is still a risk of developing tolerance, psychological and physical dependency due to their strength. This can consequently lead to addiction.
Why Are Benzodiazepines Addictive?
The use of benzodiazepines carries significant damaging risks hence why it’s classified as a drug intended for oversight from direct medical supervision. However, unfortunately, even under a watchful eye, this synthetic substance carries with it a risk of developing an addiction due to its potent effects.
As the body adapts to the presence of these substances over time, it can lead a person to build on tolerance. As a result, it requires more substance use to satiate an ever-increasing urge. The result is a harmful addiction. Benzo relapse is also prominent among those who are seeking to quit use of this controlled, schedule IV medication.
When a person stops taking benzos, withdrawal symptoms occur. These include:
- Muscle aches
- Increased appetite
- Hot flushes
Benzo relapse is as harmful as its addiction. Of course, this can lead to a full-blown addiction if one does not take timely measures.
Side Effects of Benzos
Some of the most common side effects and health impacts of abusing benzodiazepines include:
- Impaired coordination
- Memory loss
- Abnormal thinking
- Altered mood
- Suicidal thoughts
- Aggressive behavior
Due to the direct effect benzos have on the central nervous system, they possess a high risk of having a significant impact on both mental and physical health.
What is Benzodiazepines Relapse?
Relapse refers to returning to old behaviors after a period of recovery. In some cases, individuals may experience a return of symptoms similar to those experienced before treatment. Certain triggers such as experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, extreme stress, or co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety can all be significant players in triggering a relapse.
In addition, there are certain situations where one could experience a relapse without necessarily being aware of what triggered it. For example, if you’ve been using benzos regularly for several years, but suddenly stop taking them, you might not realize your body has become accustomed to them and will require more time to recover.
Benzo Relapse & Recovery Journey
Recovery is a complicated process that each individual will experience differently. Relapse is often attached with a negative perception of weakness or giving up. However, suffering from substance use disorder is a disease and the journey to sobriety is a treacherous one.
The physical and psychological effects of the substance can make triggers more prevalent and hence increase the risk of relapse. Therefore, relapse need not be seen as a weakness or viewed as a failure as recovering from benzo addiction is extremely challenging and requires self-love and compassion. The important part is to do what you can to avoid relapse.
Some of the triggers of benzos to be aware of are:
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Stress and overwhelm
- Lack of a support system
- Co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety
- Peer pressure
- Not having a secure plan in place and a reliable treatment provider
If you or someone you care for are concerned about any of these triggers, it’s not too late to seek help and advice.
Some of the common relapse warning signs to really look out for include:
- Defensiveness and irritability
- Lack of belief in the current addiction treatment program
- Diminished relationships
- Getting in touch with people with a history of substance abuse
- Loss of interest in regular activities and hobbies
Benzo Relapse Statistics
A study from the National Institute of Health shows that after a 24-month follow-up, 42.6% of individuals in the study resumed continuing using benzodiazepines.
The same study showed that a combination of therapy and a treatment program was more effective than therapy alone. From this study, one of the most significant triggers of relapse included experiencing withdrawal symptoms of insomnia and experiencing psychological stress and overwhelm.
Preventing Benzo Relapse
Several methods can be practiced to prevent benzo relapse. Learn more on how to address relapse prevention of substance abuse. Additionally, you can also understand the importance of the following points:
- Avoiding triggers
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- Having a strong support network
- Seeking advice from healthcare professions
- Exercising daily
- Taking steps to reduce stress and overwhelm
- Continuing with an effective treatment plan
- Having relapse preventative measures in place
As mentioned earlier, recovery from benzo addiction is a long road and many factors contribute to the outcome of your recovery. Therefore, it is essential that you have a solid foundation to build on. This includes having a strong support network, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding triggers.
In order to maintain a stable recovery, it is crucial that you have a clear understanding of the root cause and establish if you also suffer from any co-occurring disorders. It is also vital to understand how the drug affects your life.
In addition to seeking professional help, there are some simple things you can do to ensure you’re prepared for when the inevitable happens. For example, if you find yourself struggling with cravings, try taking deep breaths and focusing on something else. Alternatively, you could distract yourself by doing something you enjoy.
AspenRidge Recovery Can Help
At AspenRidge Recovery, we provide leading recovery treatment located in Colorado. Our therapies and programs are tailored to help those suffering from benzodiazepine misuse. Our treatment options include:
- Day Partial Hospitalization (PHP)
- Day Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- AspenRidge REACH Online
- IOP for Professionals and Working Adults
- Alumni Program
We also recognize the importance of treating any co-occurring mental health disorders, hence, we strive to also offer a host of therapies that include:
- Addiction treatment therapy
- Mental Health therapy
- Depression and anxiety therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
For more information about our programs and treatments, please get in touch with us today at 855-281-5588.