As many are talking about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation, there is another drug that is tightening its grip. Benzos are starting to become a problem to the point where it’s becoming an epidemic of its own. This write-up will discuss what may be the cause of this and what the consequences people are facing due to benzo addiction.
If you or someone you know may be dealing with an addiction, you can get more info on the Gallus Detox website. Let’s get started with our discussion on the benzo epidemic.
Table of Contents
What are benzos?
Benzos (or benzodiazepines) are sedative medications prescribed for the purpose of short-term treatment. To be more specific, they are used to treat certain mental disorders and even alcohol addiction. These will be taken orally via tablet or solution.
Rarely, they are injected into the body but only in situations where someone may be having a panic attack. Typically, a benzo treatment can last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.
The most common benzos that are prescribed include but are not limited to Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. A specific medication will be prescribed depending on the condition they are dealing with.
For example, Xanax and Valium are used to help with anxiety. While people legitimately use benzos and will follow the directions of their medical provider, some will abuse them for the purpose of getting high.
The facts about benzos
From 1996 to 2013, the number of benzo overdoses have vastly increased. A 500 percent increase in overdoses have been reported. However, overdosing on benzos alone will not warrant a fatal overdose.
However, benzos can play a role in drug-related deaths including overdose. What plays a role is the combination of other substances. People will use benzos but will often accompany it with other drugs including alcohol.
The other common drug mixed with benzos are opioids. Either way, these are fatal combinations that have been responsible for thousands of deaths each year. In 2020 alone, approximately 13000 drug related deaths were related to benzos.
Of all the benzos prescribed each year, more than 50 million are written for Xanax. Each year, nearly 125000 people will be hospitalized due to the improper use of this prescription.
Why are benzos an issue?
As mentioned before, benzos are often combined with other substances. The intent of this is for a person to find that level of calm while acquiring a sense of euphoria (as is the case with other drugs). This issue begins when the doctor would prescribe a benzo under the intent that the patient will use it properly.
At this point, the patient is responsible for their usage. It can get to a point where they would build up enough of a tolerance of the drug and will increase the dosage without first getting advice from their doctor. They may even experiment with other substances in an effort to acquire that ‘high’ (albeit at a quicker rate).
The increased use of benzos can also lead to a patient making a request for a refill at a time that may be sooner than expected. A doctor may catch onto this and deny the request. This may lead the patient to seek the benzos of their choice with desperation (including ‘doctor shopping’).
The issue with benzos can be traced back as early as the 1950s. They were developed with the intent of giving a patient a quick fix when it comes to calming them down. Originally, they were prescribed to teens who had a hard time falling asleep and stay at home women who were feeling ‘frazzled’.
At some point between the 1950s and 1960s, the number of prescriptions for benzos erupted. They were given to patients who were dealing with conditions that didn’t require any long-term medication therapy.
Signs of benzo abuse
Looking out for signs of benzo abuse can be something you need to be aware of. Especially if you may know someone who has been prescribed them. Take note of the following signs of benzo abuse below:
- Poor thinking and judgment
- Doctor shopping
- Asking family, friends, and other people if they have benzo pills
- Changes in mood
- Behavior that is risky (i.e – operating a motor vehicle after abusing benzos)
- Combining benzos with other substances
- Blurred vision
If you notice these common signs in a person who has used benzos in the past, it’s important that they get the help they need as soon as possible. Failure to do so may lead to fatal consequences on their end. Make sure you talk with them and let them know that it may be time for another treatment for their condition.
You’ll also need to watch out for any behavioral issues related to benzo abuse. This includes but are not limited to the following:
- Withdrawing socially from family or friends
- Less focus on hygiene and personal care
- Mood swings
- Secretive behavior (even if it seems out of character)
- Financial issues such as draining their bank account for the purpose of purchasing benzos
As you can see, benzo addiction can hurt not only the individual addicted but also a family as well. Especially when there are financial implications involved. Someone’s addiction can lead to negative consequences including not being able to afford their necessary possessions including the place they call home.
Benzos are becoming an increased problem. It has already gotten to a point that it’s become an epidemic of its own. Not only that, it may be coinciding with the opioid epidemic since both can be combined and can lead to fatal consequences.
If you or someone you know may be dealing with an issue with benzos, getting help will be critical. Make sure that an assessment is done before a treatment plan is put together. There is life after getting rid of a benzo addiction.
Don’t take anything to chance. Benzo addiction is serious and treatment is a must. Contact Gallus Detox now for your next steps.