Benzodiazepines, more commonly known as “benzos,” are a type of prescription medication that work as central nervous system depressants and are commonly used for the treatment of severe anxiety and sleep disorders. Some common brand-name benzos include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Benzos tend to have a high propensity for abuse, meaning that they are habit-forming and they can lead to physical and psychological dependence in a relatively short period of time (in some cases, as little as three weeks to one month, depending on the dose). If you have been prescribed one of these medications for the treatment of a pre-existing disorder, there is a very good chance that your prescribing physician will have only recommended it as a short-term solution. Taking benzo for an extended period of time can result in a wide range of serious symptoms. The same is true of taking benzo in a higher dose than intended.
Are Benzodiazepines Like Stimulants?
Benzodiazepines are not like stimulants, and actually, many of their effects are the opposite of stimulants. Some addicts take benzos to “come down” from stimulant abuse because benzodiazepines relax you and help you sleep. How can you tell if you are beginning to develop a physical dependency, or if you have been using benzos for too long? There are several signs and symptoms associated with dependence to keep an eye out for. These include:
- Excessive drowsiness
- A lack of motivation to fulfill personal responsibilities
- A lack of interest in hobbies and activities that were previously enjoyed
- Poor judgment skills/an inability to make rational decisions
- Attempting to get more benzos than were prescribed initially, either by visiting multiple doctors at one time or by stealing/purchasing them from friends, family members, or acquaintances
- Attempting to cut back on the dose taken at one time, but being unable to do so because of a psychological need for more
- An increase in risk-taking behaviors, like driving while intoxicated or mixing benzos with other chemical substances, like opioid narcotics or alcohol
Do Benzos Give You an Energy Boost?
Some people have a paradoxical reaction to certain medications, meaning that drugs affect them in ways opposite of the ways in which they are supposed to. Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium were manufactured to slow down the central nervous system, and when they cause sudden bursts of energy (which they sometimes do), it is because they are not working the way they are intended to. For example, people who suffer from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (and have paradoxical reactions) usually feel more calm and relaxed when they drink excessive amounts of caffeine. People who suffer from depression and drink excessive amounts of alcohol (a depressant) might feel happier and more optimistic. If benzodiazepines give you energy, it is important that you alert your prescribing physician immediately.
Evoke Wellness and Benzodiazepine Recovery
At Evoke Wellness, we treat all of the symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse and addiction thoroughly, paying attention to the physical, mental, and emotional implications of active addiction. Benzodiazepine abuse can progress very rapidly when a medication is being taken other than prescribed by a medical professional – if you believe that someone you love has been struggling with benzodiazepine abuse, it is important to reach out for help immediately. Because the specific medication can be so psychologically addictive, it is rare that someone who was deep in the throes of substance abuse decides to seek professional help on their own accord. Because of this, professional interventions are often necessary. We offer intervention services to the loved ones of men and women who are struggling with benzodiazepine addiction and who are at risk of serious physical consequences but who are not yet willing to seek help on their own. For more information on all of the recovery-related Services we provide, reach out to our treatment advisors at any point in time. They are constantly standing by to help in any way possible.