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What Are Benzos and Are They Addictive?

a woman asks what are benzos and why do people suffer from benzo addiction

Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative. They are typically referred to as benzos for short. Doctors may prescribe benzos to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. While they are legally distributed as a prescription medication, many people wonder, “Are benzos addictive?” The answer to that is yes. Benzos are an addictive substance. Many people take them strictly according to their prescription and never come close to developing an addiction. However, other people develop tolerance to benzos over time. That can become a slippery slope to benzo abuse and even addiction. Learn more about benzo addiction and how it is treated at Vertava Health by calling 888.601.8693.

What Are Benzos?

Benzos are sedatives that doctors prescribe to treat insomnia, seizures, and anxiety disorders. They also have more restricted uses when treating alcohol use disorder. Common brand-name benzos include Valium, Xanax, and Ativan.

Using benzos for an extended period of time is likely to result in a person acquiring tolerance. Tolerance means that it takes more of a drug to produce the same desired effect. It often tempts people to abuse their medication as they seek the same symptom alleviation they have become accustomed to. Common symptoms related to benzo use are:

  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired judgment or coordination

Are Benzos Addictive?

The chemical composition of most benzodiazepines makes them ripe for abuse and addiction. Moreover, the relaxation and sense of calm they produce also contribute to why they are one of the more commonly abused prescription drugs. Just because a drug is legally-prescribed does not mean that using it is entirely risk-free. Nonetheless, many people take benzos for a good reason. It doesn’t mean they are destined for addiction. However, being watchful and attentive is essential.

People must meet at least two criteria from a list of twelve that medical professionals use to determine the severity of the addiction. Five of the most common criteria for whether someone is addicted to benzos or not include:

  • Taking a higher dose than indicated by their prescription or taking the correct dosage more frequently than they should
  • Time and attention are given to drug use and sourcing to the detriment of their personal and professional life
  • Withdrawal symptoms appear between instances of benzo use
  • Tolerance develops, requiring more benzo use to produce the original effects
  • Work or school performance suffers as a result of drug use

Is Benzo Addiction Treatment Effective?

Now that we have answered “What are benzos?” and “Are benzos addictive?” it is worth turning to a third question: “Is benzo addiction treatable?” The answer to that is a resounding yes. Recovery from benzo addiction may not be easy, but it is possible.

Entering formal benzo addiction treatment is the best path forward once you or someone you love recognizes the need for professional help. One reason for this is the complexity of the benzo withdrawal period. The first step in benzo addiction treatment is always detox. Detox is the process of stopping drug use and helping the body adjust to life without the drug. The withdrawal symptoms that occur during benzo detox can be uncomfortable. Navigating that process is more safely and quickly done with medical supervision.

After completing detox, patients begin a round of benzo addiction rehab. Most people in benzo rehab attend therapy and support groups in an inpatient or outpatient setting. For people who used benzos to remediate an anxiety disorder, inpatient is often a better setting. That is because inpatient provides more structure and support to deal with underlying mental health disorders at the same time as treating addiction.

Overcome Addiction at Vertava Health

Vertava Health is a leader in the addiction treatment space. Benzo addiction can upend and damage lives in profound ways. The good news is that recovery from addiction can repair that damage and transform lives. Get help for a benzo addiction for yourself or a loved one by reaching out to 888.601.8693.