Benzodiazepines are drugs that affect the central nervous system. They induce muscle relaxation in low to moderate doses and are typically prescribed to combat anxiety and stress. However, in high doses, benzodiazepines can become a dangerous hallucinogen. Of the 2,000 different variations of the drug that have been produced so far, only 15 of them are currently approved by the FDA in the United States to treat anxiety disorders.
The Addictive Nature of Benzodiazepines
Like any other addictive substance, benzodiazepines induce chemical changes in the body and brain to plant seeds of addiction. Research has shown that this drug upsurges dopamine levels in the brain. This is the feel-good “reward” neurotransmitter that contributes to sensations of pleasure. It’s also been theorized that benzos alter the structure and function of certain receptors in the brain. This explains why benzodiazepine users become more susceptible to more intense rushes of dopamine with continued misuse. Most of the time, people who abuse benzos do it for this rush of good feelings. In fact, the addictive power of the drug has been proven to be similar to those of cannabinoids and opioids— both of which pose an epidemic threat in America today. But, if all the drug does is make you feel good, what exactly makes this particular drug so dangerous?
Benzodiazepines Abuse and Alzheimer’s
Recent studies have uncovered a shocking connection between benzodiazepines and Alzheimer’s Disease. As it turns out, long-term benzodiazepine abuse has a positive correlation to the risks of developing Alzheimer’s. Simply put, this means that someone addicted to benzos is at a higher risk of developing this awful neurodegenerative disease. In fact, research has shown that those risks are a grand 84% higher for those who abuse benzodiazepines for 6 months or longer. Even worse, 6 months of use is all it takes to develop a tolerance and a dependence on the drug. What does this mean? It simply means that addicts are at higher risk because they will likely spend more than 6 months abusing benzodiazepines just to chase the high.
Overdosing is a possible (and highly likely) outcome for any form of substance abuse, but a benzodiazepine overdose could result in prolonged hospitalization or even a coma. Additionally, a lot of benzodiazepine addicts tend to use other drugs with it, like heroin or cocaine. These and other potent combinations could easily result in severe withdrawal that leads to health complications or death.
Getting sober isn’t an easy experience, no matter what your drug of choice is. Benzodiazepines are no exception. However, that doesn’t mean that getting sober is impossible. The easiest way to get sober from benzodiazepine addiction is through guided rehabilitation at a treatment facility like All About Recovery. We offer a number of programs that can help you overcome your addiction to benzodiazepines. Our team of qualified professionals will see to your comfort and security as you work your way to a successful and long-lasting recovery.