Benzodiazepines are perhaps the most commonly used drugs in psychiatry. This large family of medications consists of drugs like Valium, Xanax and Diazepam.
Benzodiazepines work by attaching to the “Gabor receptor” which is located in the brain.
When benzos are placed in your life as an alleviation to your problems, where you find you have to use more to match its original effects, or using more than prescribed, then you are starting on a dangerous path that is known to eventually destroy your mental health.
Benzodiazepines addiction overview
Classified as ‘tranquilisers’ or ‘sedatives’, they are primarily used to treat anxiety and are also prescribed as sedatives for insomnia, anti-convulsant medications and muscle relaxants.
The effect is similar to that of alcohol or barbiturate medication, both of which attach to the Gabor receptor (and both of which relax the brain). They generally produce a calm feeling which helps users cope with anxiety.
How to spot a benzo addiction?
- Using alone without other people knowing
- Hiding your usage
- Memory loss
- Lying about the amount you take
- Using it to shut out negative thoughts
- Trying to forget memories or traumas
- Trying to numb any pain – physical or psychological
- Using it to turn down thoughts of guilt and shame
- Others being concerned about your behaviour
- Turning into a different person
- Do you ever feel sad, hopeless, empty or worthless?
- Have you lost interest in your hobbies? Do you find yourself less interested in things you used to love?
- Do you lack energy and motivation? Have you lost your hope and faith?
- Is it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep? Is it hard to get up in the mornings?
- Do you struggle to regulate your emotions? Do you feel scared and judged by your family and so avoid them?
Over 10,000 patients have passed through our rehab centre’s doors since 1988, and the majority have gone on to achieve, long-term abstinent recovery from their addictions – Castle Craig.
Benzodiazepines drug rehab
- Treatment programmes that last for up to six months
- 3 month detoxes
- Identifies any co-occurring mental health conditions
- Outpatient sessions (aftercare)
- Inpatient “life-changing” programmes
We recommend following the NICE guidelines for Benzodiazepine detox, typically going at a pace of three months or slower (dose and situation dependant).
Overcoming embarrassment, rejection and shame
How can we expect to be free from addiction when we have not dealt with the root cause of why we use it in the first place?
Addiction is truly not your fault, it’s how your brain has learned to function and there are many rehab facilities across the UK with world-class therapists who can help you reclaim your power and live a life free from relapses.
Some rehab choices in the UK
One of the problems with the long-term use of benzodiazepines is the difficulty in coming off them: detoxification (eliminating the drugs from the bloodstream) can take months.
Castle Craig Hospital is one of the few medical facilities in the UK that has the resources, experience and patience to supervise detox from benzodiazepines and other prescription drugs.
Many people are referred to general hospitals for detox but it is a complex and time-consuming process that is simply not available in most hospitals.
Types of therapy
Like addiction to any substance, the long-term treatment pathway involves physical detox and withdrawal, followed by a recovery that can include group therapy and psychological treatments.
The journey will require patience, effort, understanding and vulnerability.
Therapy is going to aim at helping you build a better, stronger relationship with yourself so that you can cope with whatever life throws at you reasonably.
Detox and therapy benefits
- Be in a secure and safe environment
- Medically managed detoxes with round the clock, 24/7 care and support
- Opens you up to a life-changing diagnosis that ensures you receive the correct help
- Experienced team of doctors, nurses and therapists (note, not all facilities will have onsite medical staff – ask us to see who does)
- Personalised rehabilitation and aftercare programmes (some facilities)
- Work on strategies to prevent relapse
The road to recovery is going to be tough, but you’re not expected to go through it alone. Get in touch with us here, we can help advise on the best place for your recovery and funding as well as just being a friendly face whenever you need one.
The dangers of overprecription
While benzodiazepines play an important part in treating anxiety and other mental illnesses there is growing concern in the UK that medics are prescribing these drugs too easily, and an increasing number of people are becoming addicted to them.
Some people feel that they cannot function normally without these drugs while others obtain them through deceit (repeat prescriptions and drug dealers) and use them as mood-altering drugs.
The American Psychiatric Association does not recommend benzodiazepines for people with depressive symptoms or a recent history of substance abuse.
 ‘A review of the evidence of use and harms of Novel Benzodiazepines’ April 2020
Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs