Benzodiazepines, also called benzos, are a class of psychoactive drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. They are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world and include drugs like Xanax, Ativan, and Valium. Benzos are typically prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, but they can also be used to treat seizure disorders and alcohol withdrawal. While benzos are effective at treating these conditions, they are also highly addictive.
Women who struggle with anxiety or sleep issues are commonly prescribed benzos, but just because these medications are prescribed by a doctor does not mean they are safe. In fact, benzos are some of the most addictive drugs on the market. Women may be more prone to benzo addiction than men for a variety of reasons. However, a women’s benzo rehab program can help.
The History of Benzo Addiction
Benzos were first introduced in the 1960s and quickly became one of the most popular classes of drugs. They were lauded for their ability to effectively treat anxiety and insomnia. However, it didn’t take long for benzos to become one of the most abused drugs in the world. The prevalence of benzo abuse began to increase in the 1980s as the number of prescriptions for these drugs began to rise. By the 1990s, benzo misuse was widespread.
The rise in benzo abuse can be attributed to a number of factors. Benzos are very easy to obtain. They are widely prescribed by doctors and are relatively inexpensive. Yet they also quickly cause tolerance and dependence.
How Benzo Addiction Develops
People who misuse benzos are not always addicted to them. However, benzo abuse can lead to addiction, which is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences.
When benzos are misused, they cause a number of changes in the brain. The most notable change is the way they affect the neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate anxiety. Benzos work by binding to GABA receptors and increasing the effects of this neurotransmitter. This leads to a decrease in anxiety. However, it also leads to tolerance. Tolerance occurs when the brain becomes used to the presence of a drug and no longer responds to it in the same way. This means that higher and higher doses of the drug are needed to achieve the desired effect.
Tolerance can quickly lead to benzo addiction. When someone is addicted to benzos, they feel as though they cannot function without the drug. They will often take benzos even when they are not experiencing anxiety or insomnia. This can lead to benzo withdrawal, which is a serious condition that requires medical treatment.
Why Benzo Addiction Disproportionately Impacts Women
Why do so many women struggle with benzo addiction? There are a number of theories:
- One theory is that benzos are more likely to be prescribed to women than men. This is because anxiety and sleep disorders are more common in women than men. Women are also more likely to seek help for these conditions.
- Another theory is that benzos cause more damage to women than men. This is because benzos can have a negative impact on hormone levels. This can lead to a number of problems, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- Benzo addiction can also be linked to trauma. Women are more likely to experience trauma than men. This can include things like sexual abuse, domestic violence, and childhood trauma. Trauma can lead to benzo addiction because people often self-medicate with benzos to cope with the pain.
Benzo Addiction Treatment at Hammocks on the Edisto
If you or a loved one is struggling with benzo addiction, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Lasting recovery from benzo addiction is possible, but it requires professional treatment.
At Hammocks on the Edisto, we offer a comprehensive benzo rehab program that includes individual therapy, group therapy, and aftercare planning. Our program is designed to meet the unique needs of each woman in our care. Learn more by reaching out to our team at 833.793.0191 today.