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Dangers of Mixing Benzo Abuse with Alcohol

a person displays benzo abuse with alcohol

Are you familiar with the dangers of benzo abuse? While this isn’t a common topic most people know at least a little about, many benzodiazepines are so commonplace that you know exactly what they’re prescribed for — think Valium or Xanax. Culture and media tell people that they’re typically used to control or manage anxiety, panic attacks, sleeping problems, or seizures.

However, benzos can be highly addictive. You can develop a dependency or addiction to benzodiazepines even if you follow the instructions of a prescription to the letter. What’s worse is that long-term benzo use can lead to significant negative consequences, mentally and physically — and detoxing from benzodiazepines is difficult.

If you’re looking for professional help in the form of a benzo addiction treatment program, reach out to Casco Bay Recovery. Call 844.956.3520 or contact our team online.

What Are the Dangers of Benzo Abuse?

Even people that are vehemently opposed to getting admitted into a benzo rehab facility may be otherwise persuaded when presented with the typical dangers of long-term benzo abuse.

First of all, the risk of fatal overdose increases with the amount of time someone continues to misuse benzos. A simple increase in dosage or less time between doses can result in an overdose. People struggling with substance use disorders can also engage in risky behavior, such as using different addictive substances at the same time. It’s also worth noting that mixing benzos with alcohol, opioids, or other sedatives can lead to a fatal overdose. Other major risks associated with benzodiazepine addiction include the following:

  • Cognitive impairment: Some effects of benzo misuse include anterograde amnesia, ataxia, drowsiness, and problems with reaction time and motor coordination. Some research also shows that long-term use of some benzos can lead to cognitive decline.
  • Hip fracture: Research shows that taking benzodiazepines can increase the risk of hip fracture in older people by at least 50%. This is probably due to the poor motor coordination many people struggling with benzo addiction experience, especially when combined with other substance use issues.
  • Involvement in vehicle crashes: Did you know that the risk of driving while on benzos is about the same as the risk of driving with a blood-alcohol level between 0.050% and 0.079%? Combined with the risky behavior that addiction brings out in people, this is a dangerous statistic.

Getting admitted into benzo addiction treatment programs will help clients recover and maintain their sobriety, but there’s no guarantee that it will stop all life-threatening dangers of the addiction. Suffering from post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is more likely for clients with severe or long-term benzo addictions.

What Are the Signs That Someone Needs to Go to Benzo Rehab?

Because the dangers of benzo abuse can be life-threatening, it’s essential for people struggling with benzo addiction to get professional help as soon as possible. But how do you know when benzo use has crossed from taking medication to intentional misuse?

When this type of substance is abused, it can cause a range of physical and psychological side effects. Benzodiazepines slow down specific parts of the brain within the central nervous system (CNS), so people that misuse them can become more lethargic and apathetic. Other common side effects of benzodiazepine abuse include the following:

  • Altered vision
  • Constipation
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Feelings of annoyance and irritability
  • Impaired judgment, memory, and thinking
  • Lightheadedness, headaches, and dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of passion and interest
  • Manic-type moods
  • Mental disorientation and confusion
  • Muscle weakness, tremors, and lack of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Vertigo

What Can Clients Expect From a Benzo Addiction Treatment Program?

Before benzo addiction treatment programs can begin in earnest, its participants need to go through detoxification. While detox is a difficult process regardless of the addictive substance involved, it’s especially hard to go through for clients struggling with a benzo addiction. Many develop their benzo addiction because they were initially given prescriptions for it to manage mental health problems, such as anxiety. For clients like this, detox can be especially challenging.

Whether clients going through detox have a dual diagnosis or require benzos to manage another issue, they need to deal with the symptoms of benzo withdrawal on top of the symptoms of their other problem. Because it’s difficult to go through intense symptoms that may occur at the same time, many experts suggest using medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help deal with the extreme discomfort and pain that clients usually feel at this point.

Along with the possible continuation of MAT, many addiction treatment programs also include individual behavioral therapy, group therapy among peers, and couples or family counseling to their schedule. Before a program participant gets discharged, they will be given an aftercare plan that they should follow to minimize the risk of relapsing post-treatment.

Ready to Learn More About Casco Bay Recovery’s Benzo Addiction Treatment Program?

If you or someone you care about is ready to heal from benzo addiction, reach out to Casco Bay Recovery. Call 844.956.3520 or contact our team online.

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