Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles

Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles

Understanding Benzodiazepine Addiction

In the sprawling urban expanse of Los Angeles, a silent epidemic is taking hold: benzodiazepine addiction. These prescription medications, often used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, have seen a surge in misuse, leading to a growing concern among healthcare professionals and communities alike. The city’s vibrant lifestyle, coupled with the pressures of modern living, has inadvertently created a backdrop where dependence on such substances finds fertile ground.

At The Encino Recovery & Detox Center, we recognize the severity of benzo addiction. Our team of trained medical professionals and licensed therapists provide a supervised medical detox and residential recovery program with dual diagnosis therapy to help overcome benzodiazepine abuse. 

Benzo Addiction 

Benzos are sedatives usually prescribed for: 

  • Anxiety
  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Panic disorders
  • Muscle spasms.

Examples of frequently abused benzos include:

  • Alprazolam 
  • Lorazepam 
  • Diazepam
  • Clonazepam

Our team at The Encino understands the challenges in fighting benzo addiction. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of benzo addiction is important for early intervention. 

Benzo Addiction 101.

Benzodiazepines, often referred to as “benzos,” are a class of psychoactive drugs primarily used to treat conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.

They work by enhancing the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, leading to sedative, hypnotic, and muscle-relaxant properties. While they can be effective when prescribed and used correctly, they also come with a risk of addiction, especially when misused or taken for extended periods.

The journey from prescription use to addiction can be a subtle one. Initially prescribed for legitimate medical reasons, some individuals may start to rely on these medications beyond their intended use, leading to increased tolerance.

Over time, this can result in physical dependence, where the body requires the drug to function normally. Without the drug, withdrawal symptoms set in, pushing the individual to consume more to avoid these unpleasant effects.

A study has shown that prolonged use can lead to benzodiazepine dependence, even when taken as prescribed.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction is crucial for early intervention. These can include increased tolerance (needing more of the drug to achieve the same effect), withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug (like anxiety, insomnia, and tremors), using the drug in larger amounts or for longer than intended, and spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the drug.

Behavioral signs might include neglecting responsibilities, withdrawing from social or recreational activities, and continued use despite knowing its harmful consequences.

For a comprehensive understanding of addiction and its impact, The Encino Recovery and Detox Center offers insights and treatment options tailored to individual needs.

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Physical Symptoms:

One of the earliest signs of benzodiazepine addiction can be physical in nature. Individuals may exhibit symptoms such as drowsiness, slurred speech, poor coordination, and even blurred vision. Over time, as the body becomes more accustomed to the drug, there might be noticeable tremors, dizziness, headaches, and even respiratory issues, especially if the drug is consumed in large quantities. so basically what we have is that people tend to present the following physical symptoms:

  • Memory loss or blacking out
  • Severe fatigue or excessive sleeping 
  • Headache 
  • Blurred vision  
  • Dizziness  
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • In high doses or mixed with alcohol risk of overdose

Psychological and Behavioral Symptoms:

Benzodiazepine addiction often brings about significant behavioral changes. Individuals might become secretive about their drug use, possibly hiding pills or lying about the quantity they’re consuming.

There’s also a tendency to become socially withdrawn, avoiding friends, family, or activities they once enjoyed. 

Some of the most common psychological changes are:

  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression 
  • Personality changes (lack of motivation, apathy)
  • Paranoia 
  • Irritability or aggression 
  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Financial difficulties 
  • Strained relationships 
  • Legal troubles  

While benzos are often at first used to promote feelings of relaxation, long-term abuse can cause adverse effects as the tolerance level in the body increases. 

Emotional and Psychological Symptoms:

On the emotional front, benzodiazepine addiction can lead to mood swings, increased irritability, and feelings of depression. There’s often an overwhelming anxiety about the possibility of running out of the drug, leading to “doctor shopping” or seeking multiple prescriptions. Some individuals might also exhibit memory issues, confusion, and difficulty concentrating, further highlighting the drug’s impact on cognitive functions.

The Science Behind Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as “benzos,” exert their effects primarily through the central nervous system. They act on specific receptors in the brain known as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, responsible for reducing neuronal excitability and producing calming effects.

When benzodiazepines bind to these receptors, they enhance the effects of GABA, leading to increased inhibition of neuronal activity. This results in the sedative, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), and muscle-relaxant properties that benzodiazepines are known for.

However, the dangers of long-term benzodiazepine use are significant. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug, leading to increased tolerance. This means that higher doses are required to achieve the same therapeutic effects. As the dose increases, so does the risk of adverse effects and dependence.

When an individual becomes dependent on benzodiazepines and then tries to reduce or stop their use, withdrawal symptoms can emerge. These can range from mild symptoms like anxiety and insomnia to more severe manifestations such as seizures, hallucinations, and in rare cases, life-threatening conditions. The physical and psychological dependence on benzodiazepines underscores the importance of using these medications judiciously and under the close supervision of a healthcare professional.

Treating Benzodiazepine Addiction with The Encino Approach

The Encino understands the severity of benzo addiction. Our treatment facility provides both a safe environment for detoxing and on-going programs to support the recovery journey.  

Our team of compassionate medical professionals and licensed therapists will help you or a loved one through the entire process. The Encino provides individuals with benzo addiction comprehensive care in each step of the recovery journey. 

Detox 

Detox is the initial stage of benzo addiction treatment. It includes the process of eliminating benzos from the body while being medically monitored. Benzo withdrawal can look different for all users, often depending on the kind of benzo abused and length of taking the drug.  

Benzo withdrawal symptoms typically include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (“benzo belly”) 
  • Abnormal heart beats
  • Sweating
  • Tremors or shakiness 
  • Headache 
  • In severe cases seizures or delirium that can cause death
  • Panic attacks 
  • Insomnia 
  • Confusion 
  • Memory loss or decrease in concentration 

Residential Treatment 

After detox, it’s highly recommended for those struggling from benzo addiction to enter our inpatient rehab program. Our team provides a variety of treatments and teaches healthy relaxation strategies to avoid using in the first place. 

 The following is a short list of treatment approaches within our residential treatment program:

  • Group Therapy Sessions 
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Somatic Experiencing and Body Work
  • Medication Therapy
  • Therapeutic activities in group and individual settings (yoga, meditation, art therapy) 

Integrated Treatment with Dual Diagnosis Therapy

Benzo use can worsen symptoms of existing mental health conditions. While many begin taking benzos to help promote relaxation, prolonged use can actually make these symptoms worse. 

Our treatment approach at The Encino Detox Center is guided by an integrated dual diagnosis philosophy, treating both the addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders. 

This may include a combination of medication management, therapeutic approaches, and psychoeducation to address specific needs of each individual. 

Recovery is Possible With The Encino Recovery & Detox Center

Starting the journey to overcome benzo addiction can feel intimidating, but it’s the key to creating a life free of addiction and managing mental health problems.

At The Encino Recovery and Detox Center, we welcome your initial step with compassion, empathy, and a non-judgemental attitude, leading to a positive journey towards healing and recovery.

We also understand that the financial aspect of treatment can be daunting. We’re here to help. The Encino Recovery and Detox Center accepts a wide range of insurance plans. Our dedicated team assists patients and families in understanding their coverage and ensuring they maximize their benefits.

Our Facilities

THE BUNGALOW

The seclusion, outdoor spaces, therapy space and privacy truly give this treatment center a spa-like appeal with private bedrooms for all.

THE MOONSHADE

The Encino Recovery and Detox Center is an amazing treatment center which leaves little to nothing to be desired.

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