WHAT IS TOLERANCE AND HOW DO I BUILD A TOLERANCE TO BENZOS?
When a person develops a tolerance to a drug, they cannot get the same effect from the same dosage anymore. The person may need to use a higher dosage to get the effect as before. People with a substance use disorder use a higher dosage than what they need to get a “high” from it. If you use benzos more often or a higher dose than the instructed amount, then you may develop a tolerance to it. Tolerance to a drug can occur when the body metabolizes the drug at a higher speed. Typically, this can happen when the liver enzymes in the drug metabolism process become very active. During this time, the affinity between the receptors and the drug or the cell receptors the drug attaches to may decrease. If you are worried you may have built a tolerance, contact a doctor to get help.
WHAT KIND OF THERAPY EXISTS FOR BENZO ADDICTION?
At the start of most treatments, the patient will go through a slow detox process. This allows the body to withdrawal from the drug and other toxic substances. The patient may start off with a social detox, where they are monitored and given social support, but if symptoms worsen they will move on to medical detox. During medical detox, the patient will be given medication to ease the withdrawal symptoms. After they get through this process, the patient will receive therapy. This may include group therapy, psychological therapy, and other therapies that can help them in their recovery and to prevent a relapse.
CAN PHENOBARBITAL HELP ME DETOX FROM BENZOS?
Yes, phenobarbital may be able to help to detox from benzos. Detoxing from benzos can be difficult since the drug is taken to help with various mental health conditions, but there are a few ways to do it. For one option, you may be able to gradually reduce the amount of benzo you currently use. As a second option, you can substitute the benzodiazepine you are using with a long-acting benzodiazepine. The third option would be to substitute benzo with phenobarbital, which can also help treat similar conditions.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADDICTION AND DEPENDENCE?
Some people may use addiction and dependence interchangeably and while they do have some similarities, they also have differences. Developing a dependency on a substance, anything from caffeine to drugs can leave the person with withdrawal symptoms when they stop the use of it. People can become dependent on almost anything. That is why it is dangerous to take a substance for a long period of time. For example, when people use prescription drugs every day and run out of the medication or stop using it, their body might react to it badly to make them continue using it. When you are ready to stop taking a drug, you should slowly and gradually lower the dosage. Although you can have a dependency on the drug, it does not mean you are addicted to it.
An addiction to a substance is a disease or disorder and can occur when someone misuses a substance, like drugs or alcohol, repeatedly for a long time. With a dependency, the person can stop using the drug after a short time but with an addiction, it can take some time and effort. Drugs can bring on many negative risks and consequences, but when a person is addicted they continue using it despite its harm. If the person seeks out the drug and gets it any way they can, it can mean they have an addiction.
CAN I TAKE BENZOS WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION FROM MY DOCTOR?
Taking or obtaining prescription drugs that do not come from a prescription directly for you is illegal by federal and state laws. It is against the law to take a drug that is not yours or give someone else your drugs, and it can also be dangerous. The prescription drugs that are not meant for you can cause you unexpected effects. If you buy the drugs on the street or elsewhere, you might get a drug that can be laced with something stronger. It can be a problem if you do not know exactly what you took and it ends up causing a bad reaction to you, which can delay treatment for it. This can lead you to overdose and when not treated, you can die.
ADDITIONAL EFFECTS FROM TAKING BENZOS THAT ARE NOT PRESCRIBED TO YOU:
- Certain medications can give you short and long-term side effects.
- The medication can contradict with other health conditions and worsen them.
- It can have a bad reaction with a certain food, supplements, vitamins, or other drugs you take.
- The dosage of the drugs can be off; it might not be enough or too much for you.
- You might have a drug allergy to it.
- The drug might be expired and can cause you harm.
For A Loved One
HOW DO BENZOS AFFECT THE BODY?
While benzos are typically used for anxiety and other mental conditions, they can affect people in different ways. Some people may experience depression when using it, while others may feel euphoric. Using benzos can even impair the user’s thinking, coordination, and memory. Below you can find additional effects caused by benzo use.
EFFECTS OF BENZO INCLUDE:
- Feeling of isolation
- Dry mouth
- Drowsy and sleepy
- Slurred speech or stuttering
- Nausea and loss of appetite
EFFECTS FROM INJECTING BENZO INCLUDE:
- Scarring on skin
- Damage to veins
- Risk of hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, and other infections
- Possible vein thrombosis and clots that can lead to damage to organs, loss of limbs, strokes, and possibly death.
ARE BENZOS DANGEROUS?
When used correctly and as directed, benzos can be used safely, but when misused they can be dangerous. In adults 65 years of age or older, long-term use of benzodiazepines was linked to an increased risk of dementia. Long-term use of bezos can lead to a dependency or addiction to the drug. The dependency can start with some people using the drug for a month or longer, even when used as prescribed. Continuous use of benzo can lead to tolerance, overdose and when not treated, it can lead to death. Signs of an overdose can include slurred speech, depression, impaired balance, and movement control issues.
If you are worried your loved one has an issue with benzo use, make sure they do not stop using the drug cold turkey. It can lead to muscle cramps, tremors, and seizures that can be life-threatening. The detoxing of the drug should be gradual to give your body time to recover. Withdrawal symptoms may include feeling depressed, issues sleeping, sweating, and other effects that can be found above. It may help to get professional help during this process.
HOW DO I KNOW IF SOMEONE IS ON BENZOS?
Knowing when someone is abusing drugs can assist you with helping your loved one. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if someone is using, like with prescription drugs, by the person’s appearance unless they inject it. People who take benzos might not display physical signs, but you may notice other effects that present themselves. You can observe your loved one to figure out if they are using, and if they have an addiction issue, then you can help them get the treatment they need.
SIDE EFFECTS OF BENZO USE INCLUDE:
- Sedation, dizziness, weakness, and unsteadiness
- Loss of orientation, confusion, headaches, sleep disturbance
- Feeling of depression, irritation, aggression, excited
- Memory impairment
HOW CAN I HELP MY LOVED ONE SEEK TREATMENT FOR BENZO ADDICTION?
Seeing your loved one struggle with addiction can be extremely difficult for you. Any way you can help your loved one can make a difference. In order to help them, you can learn more about addiction to better understand their actions. You can also research treatment options for the person, for when they are ready to get treatment. You can start off by having a heart-to-heart conversation with the person. It may be possible that they are not aware of their issue and it can be helpful to hear how their behavior is affecting those around them. You can show and explain the treatment process to them so they know what to expect and how they will get help.
Not everyone will agree to seek treatment, so it can help to be prepared in case your loved one objects to it. You can give the person a few consequences they will have to face if they do not get treated. These consequences are meant to encourage your loved one to work towards recovery and not as a punishment. Consequences can include kicking them out of the house, taking something valuable away and other things you think may help. You can also give them an incentive if they agree to speak with a doctor, which can lead them to agree to get treated.
Whether your loved one accepts or does not, or if they ask for help on their own, try to stay supportive and be there for them. You can help in any way possible and it will still contribute to their recovery. You can also encourage them and make them see how courageous they are for working on their recovery.
WHAT KIND OF TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR BENZO ADDICTION?
Suddenly stopping the use of benzodiazepine can be extremely dangerous for the user. It can be especially dangerous if they detox on their own. The addict can benefit from a detox treatment at a facility. When the person starts the detox, they will feel symptoms a few hours or up to a day after the last dose of benzo. If the person has used long-term, they may experience severe symptoms that can be life-threatening. For this reason, medical assistance at a treatment facility can be very helpful.
TREATMENTS FOR BENZO ADDICTION INCLUDE:
- During detox, the patient might start off with getting social support and having their symptoms monitored. If the symptoms worsen they will receive medication to ease the discomfort. The patient will slowly be tapered off of benzo use to avoid severe risks caused by quitting cold turkey. If side effects occur, the specialist can respond quickly.
- The doctor can prescribe the patient medication to help with serious and harmful symptoms. Depending on what the person needs, the doctor can prescribe something fit for each person.
- After completing detox, the patient can receive behavioral therapy on its own or while taking medication. Two types of behavioral therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management.
- Cognitive-behavioral focuses on the patient recognizing the behavior that leads to drug use and helps them use those behaviors to avoid using.
- Contingency management may use incentives or rewards to help encourage the patient to continue their sobriety. The patient can also be rewarded when they reach certain goals they have set for themselves.
- Treatment with medication and therapy can both be good separate but together they can be very effective.
- There is not a one-size-fits-all treatment, so it is important to find what works best for each person. The right treatment can depend on the severity of the addiction, as well as other variables.
- People with mild addiction might do better with short-term treatment, such as 30-day, while severe addicts can benefit from a long-term program, like 90-day. A middle-ground, 60-day treatment, exists for moderate addiction.
- The patient can choose between inpatient and outpatient programs. For inpatient, they can stay at the facility where they get treated, while with outpatient they can continue living at home and attend treatment at the facility a few times a week.
- Severe addictions can be treated better at an inpatient facility, where a specialist can monitor and assist patients 24-hours. Outpatient might be too intensive for severe cases.
If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, you are in the right place. If you have questions or are ready to get treated, please call us at 405-583-4390. You can also learn more about treatment programs to find the best option for you.