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Benzodiazepine Addiction

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Safe Management & Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

As a leading addiction clinic, Smarmore Castle understands exactly what it’s like to be in the grips of a benzo addiction.

Pregabalin | Tramadol | Painkillers | Codeine | Benzodiazepines

An addiction to benzodiazepine drugs is common – those prescribed these drugs for legitimate medical reasons and conditions can often unintentionally abuse them leading to a crippling addiction.

Whether you’ve accidentally fallen into an addiction or taking benzos illegally, continued abuse or sudden cessation can cause you more physical and mental harm.

We’re very sorry that you are going through this but please let us reassure you that there is a way out. Call +353 214 5111.

Please do not try and attempt to quit benzos without medical supervision as doing so can lead to extremely dangerous outcomes.

Benzodiazepine addiction – substance breakdown

 Loved ones and afflicted individuals should bear in mind that even though benzodiazepines are prescribed by doctors that they are acutely addictive and cause significant harm when abused.

  • What is it? Benzodiazepines belong to the sedative class of drugs that provide a calming effect. However, the prescription tranquiliser is highly addictive, and abusers are often faced with a host of physical, psychological, and behavioural symptoms. Initially, benzodiazepine can be prescribed for anxiety or panic disorders. The mental health community refers to benzodiazepine abuse as hypnotic, sedative or anxiolytic use disorder. Source.
  • Street names: Benzos, Blues, Chill Pills, Downers, Bars.
  • Signs of drug abuse: Poor judgement and thinking, doctor shopping, mood changes and new risk-taking behaviours, slurred speech, lack of motor coordination.
  • Poly-use (common substance combinations): Benzos are very commonly mixed with alcohol.
  • Side effects: Weakness, blurred version, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and physical weakness. Source.
  • Psychological effects: Shifts in mood and personality, the user is uncharacteristically secretive and engages in risky activities.
  • Long-term medical: The chronic abuse of benzodiazepines can trigger the following medical problems: anxiety, anorexia, insomnia, tremors, headaches and memory problems.
  • Withdrawal: A benzodiazepine withdrawal is particularly dangerous and life-threatening, and thus the recommended type of detoxification is one under the direct care of a doctor. “Any patient who has taken a benzodiazepine for longer than 3–4 weeks is likely to have withdrawal symptoms if the drug is ceased abruptly.” – Source.

Supporting a Loved One Through Bereavement Therapy

Benzo rehab in Ireland

Addiction Assessments | Medically Managed Detox | Daily Therapy

The minimum, recommended stay of our inpatient facility a short drive from Dublin is 28 days – this is to ensure we have an adequate amount of time for a safe detox and therapeutic intervention.

For a Benzodiazepine addiction, our supervised detoxes can last up to two weeks to help individuals overcome and get through the intense withdrawal process.

During this time, we will also provide dual diagnosis support and mental health assessments to determine the best therapeutic programme moving forward.

“In general, the optimal treatment of these conditions in primary care is non-pharmacological, particularly psychological and behavioural, therapies.” – Source.

Personalised, individual therapies sessions will take place multiple times a week using CBT, DBT or EMDR techniques to repair cognitive thoughts and emotional maturity that will help you see yourself and your addiction in a compassionate, empathetic way.

Daily group therapies, relationship management and family therapy will also be offered to help you rebuild and sustain close relationships – this will also help your family to understand your condition so that they can best help you manage triggers later.

We’ll take over your pharmacology and nutritional management to ensure a stable recovery and facilitate the best mindset for workshops, continued learning and 12-step facilitation.

Upon leaving our facility, you can also rely on 12 months of free support, weekly outpatient therapy sessions and alumni meetings to motivate your recovery journey as it progresses away from Smarmore Castle.

The importance of an assisted, medical detox

By sudden cessation, the brain does not get its familiar amount and the withdrawal process is triggered. Withdrawal from benzos is particularly dangerous, and in many instances can be fatal.

For example, seizures are one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal, hence the need for the assistance and supervision of medical professionals.

For loved ones at home, it can be unclear to distinguish symptoms of use from symptoms of withdrawal, therefore, the best practice in situations like this is to seek immediate help from doctors, who can assist you safely.

Benzodiazepine abuse alone does not typically result in death; however, the withdrawal can be life-threatening. Thus all addiction professionals agree that a best practice is to be weaned off benzos with a medically-supervised and managed detoxification.

Mental health dangers

Benzodiazepine addiction can co-occur with various mental health difficulties including major depressive disorders, bipolar and anxiety. When used in conjunction with other substances, like alcohol, the development and progression of depression is a distinct possibility.

Even though benzos are used to treat anxiety conditions, the risk of addiction to the medication often translates to dual diagnoses occurring. If you do not take benzos to treat existing mental health problems, you should be aware that the continued abuse of the medication can increase the risk of developing serious mental health disorders.

When treating you for a benzo addiction, we will ensure to create a plan that targets both the physical and psychological addiction as well as any mental health disorders at the same time.

The approach to treating the two together takes a combined approach of medication, psychotherapy and group support.

A therapy team that understands you, your feelings and addiction

Our therapists possess and utilise many skills in addiction recovery, but one of their main skills is the practice of empathetic responding and active listening. This is because they often have personal addiction experience

One main reason for our patient’s success in achieving sustained recovery is the positive therapist-client relationship we create. Our patients thrive and grow because they feel understood.

Our therapeutic approach focuses on:

  • Nonverbal behaviours and indicators
  • Reflecting on deeper feelings
  • Pointing out conflictual feelings and thoughts
  • Using visual imagery, metaphors and analogies
  • Targeted self-disclosure
  • Reflecting tactile responses and using discursive responses

Here at Smarmore Castle, we don’t wish we could it make better, we can be proactive in making it happen.

We believe in you – and we believe you can recover. Contact us for help. Our admission team are naturally empathetic and know exactly what to do to help you navigate through this worrying time.

Last updated & clinically assessed 22 April, 2022