Anxiety and Substance Abuse
Co-occurring disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and panic disorder are commonly seen alongside substance abuse. Those with anxiety symptoms will often self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to cope with negative emotions.
However, substance use can make anxiety symptoms worse, which causes individuals to use more, creating a destructive cycle. As the process continues, they can develop drug abuse and addiction disorders. Prescription drug addiction can also quickly develop in those with anxiety disorder and their anti-anxiety medication. Many of these prescription drugs are highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. However, they also have a high abuse and addiction potential.
For more information on how our addiction treatment programs can help heal drug or alcohol dependence, please give The River Source a call at 866-294-9331.
How Benzo Addiction Develops
When anxiety symptoms start to interfere with your work or everyday life, your doctor may prescribe medications to ease those symptoms of anxiety. Benzodiazepines are some of the most common prescription drugs for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. However, they have a high abuse and addiction potential and are not meant for the long-term treatment of anxiety. Benzodiazepines affect the central nervous system, altering connections between neurons and physically changing the brain.
When individuals continue to use benzodiazepines for anxiety, they can develop a physical dependence, meaning the body relies on the medication to function and will experience benzodiazepine withdrawal when it is taken away. Physical dependence can then lead to addiction if the person starts to develop behavioral and psychological dependence, such as drug-seeking behaviors, despite harmful consequences to their life.
Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person with physical dependence on taking benzodiazepines attempts to stop, they will most likely have withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be dangerous and even fatal. The severity of withdrawal symptoms will depend on certain factors, including how long you have taken it, dosage, and other substances being used. Symptoms of Benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
- Muscle spasms
- Hand tremors
- Racing pulse
- Aches and pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Panic attacks
- Memory impairment
- Abnormal bodily sensations, such as skin crawling and goosebumps
- Hypersensitivity to light and touch
- Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations
- Grand mal seizures
Rebound Anxiety When Quitting Benzos
Rebound anxiety happens when you stop taking benzodiazepine suddenly, and your anxiety symptoms return, often with greater intensity than before. Taking Benzodiazepines boost GABA activity, the neurotransmitter responsible for calming the central nervous system. However, over time, the body relies on benzos to regulate these neurotransmitters; when you stop using, the brain finds it difficult to do the same job on its own. Without being able to regular GABA, your central nervous system cannot calm down, and you experience feelings of anxiety, panic, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines that cause rebound anxiety include Triazolam Halcion, Lorazepam Ativan, and Alprazolam Xanax, longer acting benzos like Flurazepam Dalmane and Diazepam Valium are less likely to cause rebound anxiety.
Treating the Underlying Causes of Substance Abuse and Addiction
Individuals dealing with benzo dependence and withdrawal can stop using with the help of treatment centers. Medical detox centers can help with physical dependence issues. However, if the person has developed benzo abuse and addiction, they will most like need drug rehab treatment. Treatment programs specializing in dual diagnosis treatment will offer the best treatment for long-term recovery. Dual diagnosis programs aim to treat co-occurring disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorders, along with benzo abuse and dependence. Anxiety symptoms will still be present after stopping benzodiazepine therapy. A treatment program that can treat anxiety disorders simultaneously will help eliminate the need for any further anti-anxiety medication in the future and reduce the risk of relapse.
The River Source in Arizona offers comprehensive addiction treatment programs with dual diagnosis programming for treating benzodiazepine dependence and addiction. Please call us at 866-294-9331 today if you want more information about our treatment programs.