A majority of benzo drug users use it for therapeutic reasons; they follow the doctor’s prescription and dosage. However there is a minority group of people who actually escalate the recommended dosage or misuse the drug. To the anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant and hypnotic users, tolerance to the drug develops after several days or weeks of usage. After about 4 months of usage there remains little evidence that the benzodiazepines still have the anxiolytic properties.
According to research done by the US Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), benzo drug abuse started emerging as a concern since 2002. Data compiled from patients who were admitted to the United States’ substance abuse treatment facilities showed the number of admissions of patients suffering from “primary tranquilizer” which includes but not limited to benzodiazepine drug rose by 79 percent from 1992 to 2002. This clearly shows that the abuse of hypnotics and sedative are on the rise thus raising alarm.
This lead to a decline in medically prescribed benzodiazepine drugs to patient, even though in the short run. It is the best treatment for insomnia and anxiety. However they make the patient dependent on them in the long run, thus medical experts opted for psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatment as an alternative.
Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Drug Abuse:
When a patient becomes dependent of the drug, or an addict abuses the drug, the following are the various signs and symptoms of abuse of benzo drug. They include:
- It becomes difficult for the patient to reduce the dosage amount or stop taking the benzo drug.
- The patient will not be able to cope with his or her daily activities if they do not use the drug.
- Their body seems tolerant to the effects caused by the benzodiazepine.
If a patient manages to stop taking more of this drug, there will be some withdrawal symptoms attesting to the fact that they were addicted or abusing the drug. These withdrawal symptoms include:
- Depression, derealisation, sleep disturbance, depersonalization.
- Being hypersensitive to touch and pain.
- Muscular aches, twitches, headache, shakiness, tremor, anxiety.
- Distortion of senses, dysphoria, perceptual disturbances
- In quite rare cases the patient may develop psychosis and epileptic seizures.
In severe cases of benzo drug abuse, dependence and withdrawal, some of the patients have been known to commit suicide or inflicting harm to themselves. This is especially common among young people who abuse the drug. Medical experts highly recommend that a patient using or withdrawing from the benzodiazepine drugs to be closely monitored for any moods disorders.
Patients who are likely to develop benzodiazepine dependence leading to benzo abuse are those who have been given prescription spanning over 4 weeks.