Understanding Benzodiazepine Abuse
Benzodiazepines are among the most frequently prescribed medications in America. The most common benzodiazepines drugs prescribed by doctors include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
Benzodiazepine drugs interact with the central nervous system, specifically with the gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors located in the brain. These receptors are responsible for managing the activity of the brain’s nerve cells.
Benzos interact with GABA-activated chloride channels to allow a surge of chloride to enter the brain’s nerve cells. This makes the nerve cells negatively charged, changing how they operate.
Short- and Long-Term Effects of Benzo Abuse
The initial physical reaction after using a benzodiazepine is generally positive. Negatively charged GABA-A receptors result in a surplus production of dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that is responsible for the feelings of happiness and pleasure. This temporary high carries with it a long list of negative side-effects as well.
Short-term consequences of benzodiazepine abuse include:
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision
- Mental confusion
- Muscle weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of concentration
- Slurred speech
Those who abuse benzodiazepines in the long term expose themselves to the following health complications:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Cognitive deterioration
- Increased risk of injury
- Financial concerns
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Impaired memory
- Trouble concentrating
- Inability to feel or express emotions
- Loss of self-confidence
- Loss of relationships
Benzodiazepine Addiction Stats: Maryland and Nationwide
The following statistics reflect the growing benzodiazepine abuse problem in the United States and Maryland:
- The number of overdose deaths related to benzodiazepines in the U.S. quadrupled between 2002 and 2015.
- Up to 15% of the adult population consumed a benzodiazepine drug in the last year
- More than 80% of benzodiazepine users also abuse another drug.
- Benzodiazepine abuse was responsible for more than 500 deaths in Maryland between 2007 and 2014.
Benzodiazepine Counseling and Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, know that recovery is possible. At Maryland Recovery Center, our mission is to help patients and their families break the hold of benzodiazepine addiction over their lives.
We offer detox and treatment programs specifically geared for patients with benzodiazepine and other prescription medication addictions. Our team can help end the destructive cycle, facilitating lifelong recovery with focused therapy sessions and family-based healing.
Get in touch with us at (877) 762-3766 to learn more about our approach to treating benzodiazepine addiction in Maryland.