Benzodiazepines — Friend or Foe?

Benzodiazepines are a class of powerful drugs that have been used to treat a variety of medical conditions. While this type of medication may have some legitimate uses, it can also increase your risk for addiction, physiologic dependency, overdose, and other complications.

At Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment, Richard E. Repass, MD, understands how much you can struggle after using benzodiazepines. He offers comprehensive care for treating an addiction to this drug and can help you safely detox from the medications to find success in your recovery.

To help you avoid the potential pitfalls of an addiction to benzodiazepines, Dr. Repass provides insight into the drug and how to avoid an active addiction.

An overview of benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a type of psychoactive drug that is used to treat disorders of the muscles and mental health issues, like anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal.  They are also used for acute management of seizures. One of the most well-known and prescribed types of benzodiazepines is Xanax®. You may also be familiar with other brand names like Valium® and Ativan®.

How benzodiazepines work in your body

Benzodiazepines work by depressing the central nervous system. The medication also activates neurotransmitters in the brain to produce a calm, relaxed reaction.

If you take too much of this type of drug, it can lead to a variety of symptoms that can interfere with your health. Common side effects of benzodiazepine misuse include:

You can also experience a loss of consciousness and other life-threatening symptoms from an overdose of benzodiazepines.

Your risk factors for benzodiazepine addiction/dependence

The relaxing effect of benzodiazepines is what users most often crave. For many conditions, benzodiazepines are prescribed only on a short-term basis. But even with short-term use, you are at increased risk for an addiction.  Either regular use or as needed use can lead to dependency and behavior changes.  

Chronic use of benzodiazepines causes changes in your brain and can lead to serious health consequences in addition to addiction. The ongoing use of this drug can lead to an increased risk for dementia and side effects like:

Many people continue using the drugs to keep that relaxed feeling and because of their fear of withdrawals.

Finding help for a safe detox from benzodiazepines

At Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment, Dr. Repass offers comprehensive addiction services to help you safely withdraw from benzodiazepines. He can help you detox under medical supervision either by gradually tapering your drug use or by intravenous (IV) infusions of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which your body produces naturally to regulate neurotransmitters in your brain.  It may require multiple treatments to completely stop the withdrawal. The most challenging withdrawal syndrome to treat is that of benzodiazepines.

These treatments are available on an outpatient basis, and Dr. Repass works closely with you to address your addiction and help you achieve a successful recovery.

If you’re struggling to wean off from benzodiazepines, don’t wait to set up a consultation with Dr. Repass. You can schedule an appointment by calling us today at Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment in Mercer Island, Washington.

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