Benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos, are a type of prescription medication used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health conditions. While they can be effective in treating these conditions, they can also be dangerous and addictive when used improperly. In this article, we will discuss the dangers of benzos, the signs and symptoms of overdose, and available treatments.
Stats: Benzodiazepines were involved in 12,499 deaths in 2021—steadily increasing since 2015. The proportion of deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) has increased significantly since 2015.
Dangers of Benzos:
Benzos are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that work by slowing down the activity of the brain and nervous system. While this can be helpful in treating anxiety and other conditions, it can also lead to a number of physical and mental health issues, including:
Drowsiness and sedation
Impaired coordination and balance
Mood swings and irritability
Addiction and withdrawal symptoms
In addition, the use of benzos with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol or opioids, can increase the risk of overdose and death.
Signs and symptoms of overdose:
Benzos can be dangerous and potentially deadly when taken in large amounts or combined with other drugs. Signs and symptoms of benzo overdose include:
Extreme drowsiness or sedation
Confusion and disorientation
Slow or shallow breathing
Weakness and dizziness
If you suspect that someone is experiencing a benzo overdose, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment for Benzos overdose:
Treatment for benzo overdose typically involves supportive care to manage symptoms. This may include monitoring vital signs, administering oxygen, and providing intravenous fluids. In some cases, medications such as flumazenil may be used to reverse the effects of the benzo.
Treatment for Benzos addiction:
If an individual is struggling with benzo addiction, there are a variety of treatment options available. One option is behavioral therapy, which can include individual counseling, group therapy, and family therapy. These therapies can help individuals identify triggers for drug use, develop coping skills, and learn healthy habits for long-term recovery.
In addition to behavioral therapy, there are also support groups, such as Benzodiazepine Anonymous, that can provide peer support and encouragement for individuals in recovery.
In some cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may also be recommended. MAT combines medication, such as buprenorphine or naltrexone, with behavioral therapy to help individuals overcome addiction.
While benzos can be effective in treating anxiety and other mental health conditions, they can also be dangerous and addictive when used improperly. If you or someone you know is struggling with benzo addiction, it is important to seek help immediately. With proper treatment and support, individuals can overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery.