The concern mounts as more and more doctors prescribe benzodiazepines to their patients. Between 2014 and 2016, benzodiazepines were prescribed during an average of 66 million doctors’ appointments per year.
Benzodiazepines are sedative medications that are often prescribed for severe anxiety, chronic pain, or sleep disorders. While they may provide some relief for patients, they are also one of the more dangerous prescription drugs.
Are you worried that someone you love is struggling with a Xanax addiction or Valium addiction? Do you think it may be time for benzodiazepine rehab?
Read on for a closer look at 7 of the biggest red flags that someone you love is struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines.
1. Mood and Behavior Changes
Most people begin to notice that someone is struggling with addiction when that person begins to experience shifts in mood and behavior. Benzodiazepines depress or sedate the system, which leads to lethargy. You may begin to notice that your loved one does not seem as happy, upbeat, or enthusiastic as they once were.
You may also notice a rise and fall in their mood throughout the day.
As the benzodiazepines wear off, they may experience withdrawal symptoms that cause irritability and physical discomfort. When they take another dose and the drug kicks in, they may show signs of temporary euphoria. If this occurs, a dependence on the drug is developing.
2. Changes in Appearance
The prolonged use of benzodiazepines is not easy on the stomach. Over time, it may cause nausea that is made worse by accompanying feelings of dizziness. Because of this ongoing queasiness, your loved one may find it difficult to eat and start dropping pounds rapidly.
As with other disorders that affect the mood, like depression, someone who is dependent on benzodiazepines may put less effort into grooming habits. Feelings of apathy and exhaustion can contribute to a decrease in bathing and dressing in clean clothing. Note that these changes in appearance, alone, do not indicate that someone is struggling with addiction.
3. Running Out of Medication Early
All prescriptions come with a specific dosage. For example, you may be prescribed one pill per day for 30 days.
For those who struggle with dependence on their prescription medication, these instructions are often not followed. As the dependence grows, so does their tolerance for the drug’s effects. In order to continue feeling those effects, one would have to increase the amount that they’re taking at a time.
As a result, many people with a benzodiazepine addiction will run out of their medication earlier than they are supposed to. You can find this information on the bottle.
4. Questionable Decision-Making
As with any addiction, a benzodiazepine addiction will often take over a person’s ability to prioritize. Their primary need centers around substance use and other needs and obligations are often neglected as a result.
Plus, benzodiazepines are a mind-altering substance. It is difficult to think clearly and make sound decisions when under the influence of this drug.
There are two reasons why benzodiazepine addiction often results in self-isolation.
The first goes back to the issue of apathy and lethargy we’ve already discussed. Over time, your loved one may develop a loss of interest in the activities they once enjoyed. From there, they may go on to find socialization too overwhelming, tiring, or frustrating.
The second is that many people who are developing a dependence on a substance do not like to be seen that way by their friends and family. Sometimes they do not want to be told that they need help and that recovery is necessary. Sometimes they do not want to disappoint their loved ones or let on that they are vulnerable.
Try to have patience and empathy when approaching the subject of self-isolation. Accusatory or antagonistic commentary will likely cause your loved one to retreat further into isolation.
6. Doctor Shopping
While it is possible to find illegal sellers of benzodiazepines, it is not considered a “street drug.” In other words, the easiest and most effective way to obtain it is through a legitimate prescription from a practicing doctor.
However, doctors are obligated to take notice when a patient is asking for early refills. With drugs of this nature, most will question patients if they start coming up with a myriad of reasons for their benzodiazepine use in an attempt to get more.
To get around this, some people may begin the process of “doctor shopping.” In other words, they may try to find multiple doctors to visit in order to receive several separate prescriptions.
7. Mixing Substances
Most patients who are prescribed medications that they are not dependent on will take precautions when it comes to mixing substances. For example, if someone is prescribed one week’s worth of benzodiazepine, they may stop drinking alcohol during that week to avoid dangerous side effects.
However, it is not uncommon for substance abusers to rely on more than one substance and use them simultaneously. For example, someone may use benzodiazepine to come down from the high of cocaine or use alcohol to dull the withdrawal symptoms as their benzodiazepine wears off.
Benzodiazepine Rehab Is the Safe Way to Recover
If you recognize several of these signs in your loved one who has been taking a benzodiazepine, it’s likely that they have developed a dependence on the drug. However, it is important that you take them to a benzodiazepine rehab center. Unmonitored withdrawal symptoms are hazardous and can even become deadly.
Oasis Recovery is here to provide the help and relief you need. We provide a safe, medically monitored space for our clients to detox from the substances they are addicted to. We also work to help them understand the psychological root of their addiction and prepare for any triggers outside of rehab.
For a free recovery consultation, contact us today.