Benzodiazepines, known also as “benzos” are a family of psychoactive prescription drugs used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Some examples of benzodiazepines are Valium®, Xanax® and Klonopin®. The notorious date-rape drug Rohypnol® is also a benzodiazepine. Properly used, a benzo is safe and effective for short-term use in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Long-term use of benzos often become problematic because these drugs are prone to create tolerance, physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms if abruptly discontinued causing benzodiazepine addiction and benzo withdrawal to be especially challenging to recover from.
There is also a high potential for overdose if benzos are combined with other depressants like alcohol or prescription opiates. Among patients who are prescribed benzodiazepines, use can turn to abuse and to benzodiazepine addiction quite quickly. Some users are known to escalate their dose, eventually taking a much higher dose of the drug than is prescribed. Those who suffer from benzodiazepine addiction sometimes resort to “doctor shopping” visiting multiple doctors to get a sufficient supply of the drug to maintain their habit.
At Cottonwood Tucson, our doctors and nurses know that benzo withdrawal can be dangerous and that safe detoxification requires skillful medical management in a controlled environment with round-the-clock medical and nursing support. Once the patient has been seen safely through the detox process, our treatment team will work with the patient to explore root issues that may be causing their emotional distress and help them find more adaptive ways of managing anxiety and sleep disturbances.