Benzodiazepine Misuse & Dependence
When used as prescribed, benzodiazepines are safe to use and effective for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia or alcohol withdrawal. However, because this type of medication has a high potential to be habit-forming, it is generally only prescribed to be taken at the onset of a panic attack or consistently for two weeks or less. The American Academy of Family Physicians published an article with states, “Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed, with four of them—alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan)—listed among the top 100 most commonly prescribed medications. Benzodiazepines generally produce almost immediate effects, and thus may be prescribed for short-term, intermittent, ‘as-needed’ use. Because many of the anxiety disorders wax and wane over time, patients with these disorders often prefer benzodiazepines because these agents can be taken intermittently, when patients feel the need to take them, and most patients can use benzodiazepines judiciously.” It is important to note, however, that rates of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence have been on the rise over the course of the past several years — partially because of high prescription rates. According to an article published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2019 roughly 16 percent of all opioid overdose deaths also involved a benzodiazepine medication like clonazepam.
If you have developed a benzodiazepine use disorder, whether or not you were initially prescribed the medication for a legitimate reason, there is help available. At CuraWest we understand how difficult it can be to stop or moderate use on your own, and we have designed an individualized program of recovery geared towards helping our clients maintain continued success in sobriety.