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How Long Does It Take for Benzos to Become Addictive?

teenage girl staring forlornly out window wondering how long does it take for benzos to become addictive

Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines for a range of conditions, including panic disorders and epilepsy. While many people start using them for medical reasons, benzos’ chemical nature gives them a high addiction potential. If you or someone you love is struggling in this regard, know that you’re not alone, and qualified benzo addiction treatment is available to you. For help in Hudson, Ohio, contact Ray Recovery at 888.598.6299 to learn more about our programs and services.

What Are Benzos and What’s the Length of Time It Takes to Get Addicted?

All benzos are central nervous system depressants, meaning they produce feelings of relaxation, drowsiness, and calmness. At the same time, they slow down vital functions like breathing and heart rate, sometimes to a dangerous degree. There are a number of benzos prevalent in both legal and illegal circulation, some of the most impactful being:

  • Xanax, used to treat anxiety and panic, and perhaps the most commonly abused benzo with the potential to permanently impair memory and reaction time if abused long-term
  • Klonopin, prescribed for seizure disorders and panic and also carrying a significant addiction potential and hazardous withdrawal symptoms
  • Ativan, used for occasional anxiety and seizure disorders and posing serious withdrawal risks
  • Valium, prescribed for anxiety and epilepsy and classified as a fast-acting benzo that’s particularly easy to abuse

Benzos alter the usual processes of natural mood-regulating brain chemicals GABA and dopamine, creating a high risk of dependence. Once the brain experiences benzos, it rapidly loses its ability to regulate these two chemicals on its own. Moreover, tolerance grows with time, meaning the person using needs higher and higher doses to get the same effect.

Sadly, tolerance can begin to grow within just a few benzo uses. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms such as severe irritability and anxiety can occur soon after stopping benzos. This leads individuals to keep pursuing their next dose in order to avoid this discomfort. Within just a few weeks, it’s possible for full-scale chemical benzo dependence to develop.

What Can I Expect From Benzo Addiction Treatment?

Withdrawal symptoms from benzos can be very challenging and include the return and worsening of symptoms the drugs initially treated. For example, a person getting free from benzos may temporarily experience heightened anxiety or epileptic seizures. Other common symptoms include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Trembling
  • Muscle aches
  • Depression
  • Heart palpitations

Particularly dangerous and extreme withdrawal possibilities include suicidal ideation, hallucinations, and psychosis.

For all these reasons, it’s safest and most effective to go through benzo detox and treatment in an accredited addiction recovery facility. This allows you to withdraw under medical care that accounts for any other substances that may be in your system as well. Substances like alcohol or cocaine, when mixed with benzos, can be especially dangerous, for instance, so it’s important to have dynamic medical care in recovery if you’re coping with poly-substance abuse.

Individual therapy is similarly important since it gives you the foundational skills for lasting sobriety after treatment. You’ll explore your triggers to use, develop a relapse prevention plan, practice self-regulation, and address any underlying mental health concerns. In many cases, those abusing benzos simultaneously grapple with a condition like depression or anxiety. A dual diagnosis program strives to ensure substance abuse and mental illness don’t feed into one another going forward.

Holistic therapies can round out a treatment program for benzo abuse. Using prescription drugs can seriously damage a person’s system. Therapies like yoga and meditation often greatly assist in restoring health and reducing chronic stress. Group therapy likewise supports your recovery by creating a community of peers and a source of accountability. Naturally, it’s best to locate resources that will also last beyond treatment. These might include 12-step programs, sober living facilities, or other community resources.

Contact Ray Recovery in Hudson, OH, for Effective Benzo Use Disorder Treatment Today

Remember that benzo addiction, while serious, is also very common and thus well understood. If you or someone you love is living with benzo use disorder, there are many evidence-based treatments that can help. Call Ray Recovery for assistance in Ohio at 888.598.6299 or fill out our confidential form to get information online.