Benzodiazepine / Tranquiliser Addiction
Abuse of the tranquiliser class of prescription drugs is common and a growing concern; young people often use them recreationally and their use and abuse has increased substantially so that, now, addiction to them has become a serious and widespread problem. There are many different types of tranquilisers and not all of them addictive, however one particular class of tranquiliser with the potential for misuse and dependence due to it’s effect on the body are known as ‘Minor’ Tranquilisers and also as benzodiazepines, among these are some of the most commonly used – Valium (Diazepam) and Xanax.
The NHS currently prescribes benzodiazepines, intended for extreme cases and only in the short-term. Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat insomnia, anxiety, alcohol withdrawal and epileptic fits. Physiological effects on the body include depressing the nervous system, sedation that induces a calming and relaxed state – plus, a relief of anxiety/tension due to slowing down of the brain and body.
Taking these type of tranquilisers for longer than two weeks can induce a reliance and dependence is often reported within just 2-4 weeks because of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Widthdrawal systems can typically include headaches, panic, tremors, nausea and in severe cases fits can occur. This class of drug can also be a risky prescription to use due to it’s high incidence of interaction – mixing benzodiazepines with other depressant drugs like heroin or alcohol is particularly dangerous. Other negative side effects include drowsiness and memory loss.
“Benzodiazepines are the most commonly mentioned non-opiate drug in drug misuse deaths (16% in 2012) and there was an increase of at least 21% in benzodiazepine deaths in 2013. Benzodiazepines are rarely the only drug mentioned in a death.”
One drug in particular that has seen a dramatic increase in illicit purchases or prescriptions is Xanax. Some use the benzodiazepine drug to soothe anxiety and panic disorders, whereas others abuse it for it’s tranquilising effects. Use of drug such as Xanax for more than six weeks often develop an addiction to them. In high doses, Xanax can create a state of mental and physical ease, and also eliminate pain, insomnia, worry, and symptoms of anxiety. Yet, this high is short-lived and will generally only last a few hours. Although it only provides immediate relief, the effects of a Xanax addiction are long-lasting. Like any other addiction, users should not attempt immediate withdrawal without professional help.
For more information on the treatments services offered by Charterhouse Clinic for drug addiction, please visit our drug addiction treatment page.