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Benzodiazepine Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

image representing a man with benzodiazepine addiction

Benzodiazepines, commonly abbreviated to benzos, are prescription sedative-hypnotic medications. Benzo addiction can easily occur, triggering an array of adverse outcomes. If you have been prescribed medications in this class, read on to learn:

  • Are benzodiazepines addictive?
  • Is benzodiazepine addictive when taken as directed?
  • What are the dangers of benzos addiction?
  • How to connect with benzo addiction treatment in Southern California.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzo abuse and addiction can manifest through various signs and behaviors that indicate a person may be struggling with this type of substance use disorder.

  • Individuals addicted to benzodiazepines may withdraw from social activities and isolate themselves from friends and family.
  • People addicted to benzodiazepines may engage in doctor shopping, where they seek multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for these drugs.
  • Addiction can lead to legal issues and financial difficulties as individuals may resort to illegal means to acquire benzodiazepines.
  • A person’s addiction may lead to neglecting their responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  • Frequent mood swings and emotional instability can be indicative of benzodiazepine addiction.
  • Individuals may find it challenging to control their benzodiazepine use despite negative consequences.
  • Secrecy about drug use, hiding pills, and engaging in covert behaviors related to benzodiazepines.
  • Long-term benzodiazepine abuse can result in physical health problems, such as gastrointestinal issues and respiratory difficulties.
  • Addiction can strain relationships with loved ones due to erratic behavior and prioritizing drug use over relationships.
  • Developing tolerance (needing more of the drug for the same effect) and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using benzodiazepines are clear signs of benzodiazepine dependence.

Recognizing these signs early can help you seek help promptly if you or someone that you care about is showing signs of benzodiazepine addiction. Professional treatment and support can facilitate recovery and improve overall well-being.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Symptoms

Benzodiazepine addiction is characterized by a set of symptoms outlined in DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, Text Revision). These criteria help healthcare professionals diagnose and assess the severity of benzodiazepine use disorder. The DSM-5-TR symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction are:

  1. Taking benzodiazepines in larger amounts or for longer than intended.
  2. Unsuccessful attempts to discontinue benzodiazepine use.
  3. Spending lots of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of benzodiazepines.
  4. Cravings for benzos.
  5. Failing to fulfill personal or professional obligations due to benzodiazepine use.
  6. Continued benzo use despite having social and interpersonal problems being triggered or inflamed by the effects of benzos.
  7. Giving up or reducing important activities because of benzodiazepine use.
  8. Recurrent benzodiazepine use in potentially dangerous situations.
  9. Continued benzodiazepine use despite even though it is causing or worsening a physical or psychological health condition.
  10. Tolerance, meaning that more benzos are required to deliver the initial effects.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms presenting upon discontinuation.

These symptoms are used by healthcare professionals to diagnose the presence and severity of benzodiazepine addiction in individuals. If you or someone that you know is experiencing these symptoms, seeking professional help and support is essential for recovery.

image of man representing benzo abuse

Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

Benzodiazepine addiction is a challenging condition that requires comprehensive treatment.

Detoxification (detox)

The first step in treating benzodiazepine addiction is typically detox. Detox helps individuals safely withdraw from the drug under medical supervision. It can be a demanding process due to potential withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Detox should always be conducted in a medical setting to manage these symptoms effectively.

Behavioral therapies

Behavioral therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), are a key component of benzodiazepine addiction treatment. These therapies help people to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with drug use. They also provide coping strategies for managing cravings and triggers.

MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

MAT may be considered in some cases. While there are currently no FDA-approved medications specifically for benzodiazepine addiction, some medications can help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The choice of medication depends on individual needs and should be determined by a healthcare professional.

Support groups

Support groups like NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or SMART Recovery can be highly beneficial in the recovery process. These groups offer a sense of community and shared experiences, which can be motivating and provide ongoing support.

Long-term treatment

Benzodiazepine addiction often requires long-term treatment and support. After initial detox and therapy, ongoing counseling and check-ins are crucial to prevent relapse and maintain recovery.

Comprehensive care

Effective benzodiazepine addiction treatment addresses not only the physical dependence but also the underlying psychological and social factors contributing to addiction. Treatment should be tailored to the individual’s unique needs and circumstances.

Medical monitoring

Throughout the treatment process, individuals should receive medical monitoring to assess progress, manage any co-occurring health issues, and adjust the treatment plan as needed.

Individuals struggling with benzodiazepine addiction should seek professional help. Treatment should be guided by healthcare providers who specialize in addiction medicine and tailored to the individual’s specific situation. Recovery is possible with the right support, treatment, and commitment to a drug-free life.


How long does it take to get addicted to benzos?

The timeframe to become addicted to benzos can vary but is relatively short, with tolerance developing in a few days and dependence potentially forming within a few weeks of consistent use.

Are benzos addictive?

Yes, benzos are addictive. Prolonged or misuse of these medications can lead to physical and psychological dependence, making them addictive substances.

What is the most addictive benzodiazepine?

While the addictive potential of benzodiazepines can vary from person to person, some benzodiazepines are more likely to cause dependence than others. Medications like Xanax (alprazolam) and Ativan (lorazepam) are often considered to have a higher potential for addiction.

a man celebrating getting  benzodiazepine addiction treatment

Find Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction at Drug Rehabs Centers

If you require drug addiction treatment for yourself or a family member, you may have no idea what to do first. Reach out to Drug Rehabs Centers and we can guide you every step of the way.

We can help you locate suitable drug detox centers to help you address the issue of physical dependence on illicit narcotics or prescription drugs. You may also require assistance connecting with ongoing treatment. Again, we can help you find inpatient and outpatient rehab centers tailored to your needs and the severity of your addiction throughout California.

Call (844) 739-2005 and get immediate help with drug addiction.

Juan Bonnet
Author: Juan Bonnet


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