Learning about benzodiazipines is integral to making the right decision regarding a benzodiazipine rehab program for yourself or your loved one. Benzodiazepines are minor tranquilisers, prescribed in medical settings for a variety of reasons, such as alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, and insomnia. They come in the form of tablets, which can be a whole spectrum of different colours. Drugs classed as benzodiazepines include diazepam (Valium), temazepam and flunitrazepam (Rohypnol). The potentially serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms makes drug rehab a worthwhile option for people who are addicted to benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines are normally taken orally. They come in tablet or capsule form, and are relatively fast-acting. Most users begin to feel effects within a quarter of an hour of dosing, and they continue for around 6 hours. It’s also possible to find the drugs in the form of suppositories (which are inserted into the person’s bottom), but this isn’t common when they’re being used recreationally. Some users will crush the pills up and create a solution which can be injected. This opens up risks associated with contaminated needles and can cause damage to the veins.
As tranquilizers, benzodiazepines sedate the user, slowing reaction times and causing lethargy, forgetfulness and drowsiness. They are used as anti-anxiety medicines, and therefore also work to make the user feel more relaxed and alleviate stress. The drugs depress the nervous system, which results in a slowing of reaction times and propensity to sleep. People who are using benzodiazepines will be tranquil and inactive, rather than hyped-up like they would be on many other drugs.
The ease with which people can build a tolerance to benzodiazepines means that most official prescriptions for them will be on a short-term basis. Research has shown that after two weeks of continued use they are no longer effective as sleeping pills, and after four months they don’t help with anxiety anymore. This indicates that the brain has adapted in order to better deal with the drug and will soon become dependent. Dependence means that the brain feels like it needs the drug in order to function “normally.”
The most serious risks of benzodiazepines are those associated with withdrawal. When an addict stops taking the drug, his or her brain begins to clamour for it, and they become severely anxious and irritable. The withdrawal of the chemical also causes nausea, insomnia and headaches as the body re-adjusts, which often drives users back to the drug. Drug rehab programs have to take this process into account because in some cases the consequences can be more severe. For example, if a person is taking high doses and suddenly stops, they are at additional risk from convulsions, which can be fatal.
Drug rehab centres treat addiction to benzodiazepines with a gradually reduced dosage and psychological counselling. The severity of the sudden withdrawal symptoms means that taking incrementally smaller doses is actually much safer than stopping straight away. Counselling will be offered as part of the drug rehab program to identify and tackle the underlying issues which originally drove the person to drugs. This combined approach reduces the likelihood of relapse.
If you or a loved one is abusing benzodiazepines, drug rehab programs can help you get clean and stay clean. We have a detailed knowledge of the different centres available and the particular therapeutic models they favour. If you’re having trouble making a decision, we can explain the options to you in plain English and help you work out which drug rehab program is best for you. Our advice is completely free, so pick up the phone and see what help we can offer you.