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What Are the Side Effects of Benzodiazepines?

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Benzodiazepines, or benzos, can be helpful when prescribed by a doctor and used as prescribed. Unfortunately, long-term benzo use can lead to addiction if used in a larger dose than prescribed or recreationally. Long-term effects include those that are both physical and behavioral. Recognizing that someone is addicted can be the first step to getting them the help they need and finding a path to recovery.  

If you think you or a loved one could benefit from a benzo addiction treatment program, then it’s time to seek help. Call Virtue Recovery Las Vegas at 866.520.2861 to educate yourself about addiction, benzodiazepine side effects, and what benzodiazepine abuse treatment at an accredited drug treatment facility looks like. You can also fill out our online contact form and let us get back to you. 

What Are Signs of Benzo Abuse?

If you are unsure if you or a loved one has an addiction to benzos, be on the lookout for the following behaviors. Even just two to three symptoms can signal that someone is addicted:

  • Taking a much larger dose than prescribed 
  • Taking the drug for much longer than needed  
  • “Checking out” when using the drug and taking a long time to recover
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like cravings and shaking when not using the drug 
  • Needing more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect 
  • Inability to meet family, work, or school obligations 
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed  

While a person may conceal their benzo abuse, the side effects of these medications can show clear indicators of a problem. 

What Are the Side Effects of Benzodiazepines?

The overuse of benzos can cause the sedation effect of the drug to interfere with everyday functions. When the brain can’t deliver a much-needed coping mechanism, it can open up the opportunity for dangerous situations. There are many physical and mental side effects of benzo use and abuse.  

Side-effects of benzos include: 

  • Trouble speaking 
  • Memory issues 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Cognitive problems 
  • A loss of inhibitions 
  • Respiratory and breathing concerns 
  • Extreme weight loss or gain 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Shaking 
  • Diminished sex drive 
  • Nausea 
  • Constipation 
  • Jaundice 

Additional side effects can come in the form of what are known as paradoxical effects. These effects are the opposite of what the drug is prescribed for. So, instead of sedating and relaxing feelings, one experiences aggressive behavior or severe depression and psychosis. 

What to Expect from Benzo Abuse Treatment 

Withdrawal from a drug like benzos can take a toll and be very difficult. Detoxing at home has a very high relapse rate without a structured program and the right level of support.

Since benzos are so addictive and their dependence can be hard to overcome, a medically supervised detox is often recommended to remove the drug from one’s body safely. Being in a safe and comfortable environment with 24/7 supervision may be the best option, depending on the severity of the addiction.  

One can enroll in different types of treatment programs for benzo addiction. These include: 

  • Residential treatment programs 
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) 
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) 
  • Sober living programs 

Start Benzo Addiction Treatment Today at Virtue Recovery Las Vegas

Benzos are commonly prescribed for those who struggle with anxiety and stress. They provide a sedated feeling that offers relief and relaxation. While less common than other substance use disorders, benzo addiction affects millions nationwide.

When you are ready to seek help for benzo abuse, contact Virtue Recovery Las Vegas. A member of our treatment team will walk you through how to get started on recovery. Call 866.520.2861 or connect with us online today. 

author avatar
Nicki Lugo, CPC, LAC, LCADC, CCTS Executive Director
Nicki Lugo is currently employed as Clinical Director at Virtue Recovery Center in Las Vegas. Nicki is a licensed clinical professional counselor (CPC) in the state of Nevada and a licensed associate counselor (LAC) in the state of Arizona. She is also a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor (LCADC) in Nevada. Additionally, Nicki has specialized training in treating trauma and is a certified clinical trauma specialist (CCTS). Nicki has earned a Master of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Currently, Nicki is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling Education and Supervision at Grand Canyon University. Nicki’s research interests include the use of Positive Psychology interventions with dual diagnosis clients. Nicki hopes to contribute to the body of knowledge in treating substance use disorders. Nicki’s long-term career goals include advancing in leadership roles within Virtue Recovery Center which is a quickly growing substance use disorder treatment facility. She hopes that one day her research and advocacy will help to save the lives of those who have been affected by substance use. She likes to say that advocacy is her passion and leadership is her superpower.

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