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What Are the Side Effects of Benzodiazepines? 

man leaning on hand considers benzodiazepine side effects

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, can be a helpful drug when prescribed by a doctor and used as prescribed. Unfortunately, long-term benzo use can lead to addiction if used in a larger dose than prescribed or used recreationally and not for prescribed use. Long-term effects include those that are both physical and behavioral. Recognizing that someone is addicted can be the first step on the path to getting them the help they need and finding a path to recovery in the most healthy way possible.

If you think you or a loved one could benefit from a benzo addiction treatment program, then it’s time to seek help. Call Virtue Recovery Chandler at 866.788.4745 to educate yourself about addiction, benzodiazepine side effects, and what benzodiazepine abuse treatment at an accredited drug treatment center looks like. You can also fill out our online contact form and let us get back to you.

Signs of Benzo Abuse

If you are unsure if you or someone you love is struggling with a dependence on benzos, be on the lookout for the following behaviors. Even just two to three of the behaviors can signal that someone is addicted:

  • Someone is taking a much larger dosage of the drug than prescribed
  • Someone is taking the drug for much longer than needed
  • Someone “checks out” when using the drug and takes a long time to recover after taking it
  • Withdrawal symptoms like cravings and shaking occur when someone is not even using the drug
  • Someone needs more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect
  • Someone is uncharacteristically unable to meet family, work, or school obligations
  • Someone has lost interest in activities they previously enjoyed

While a person may be able to conceal their benzo abuse, the side effects of these medications can show clear indicators of a problem.

Side Effects of Benzodiazepines

The overuse of benzos can make the sedative effects of the drug interfere with everyday functions. When the brain can’t deliver a much-needed coping mechanism, it can open up the opportunity for dangerous situations. The physical and mental side effects of benzo use—and abuse—are many.

Side-effects of benzos include:

  • Trouble speaking
  • Memory issues
  • Blurred vision
  • Cognitive problems
  • A loss of inhibitions
  • Respiratory and breathing concerns
  • Extreme weight loss or gain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shaking
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Jaundice

Additional side effects can come in the form of what are known as paradoxical effects. These effects are actually the opposite of what the drug is prescribed for. So, instead of sedating and relaxing feelings, one experiences aggressive behavior or severe depression and psychosis.

Benzo Abuse Treatment

Since benzos are so addictive and the dependence on them can be hard to overcome, a medically supervised detox is often recommended to safely remove the drug from one’s body. Being in a safe and comfortable environment with 24/7 supervision may be the best option, depending on the severity of the addiction. Withdrawal from a substance like benzos can take a toll and be very difficult. Detoxing at home has a very high rate of relapse without a structured program and the right level of support.

There are different types of treatment programs one can enroll in for benzo addiction. These include:

  • Residential treatment programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
  • Sober living programs

No matter the path you choose, you’ll find that benzo addiction treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. At Virtue Recovery Chandler, our team of professionals takes the time to get to know each individual and create a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and goals.

Call Virtue Recovery Chandler Today

Benzos are commonly prescribed for those who struggle with anxiety and stress. They provide a sedated feeling that provides relief and relaxation. While less common than some other substance use disorders, benzos are highly addictive. When you are ready to seek help for benzo abuse, contact Virtue Recovery Chandler and a member of our treatment team will walk you through how to get started on the road to recovery. Call 866.788.4745 or connect with us online today.