Tranquilizers are a kind of prescription drug that is rarely given focus. They are not as transformative to one’s life as opioids, nor nearly as well-known as alcohol.
Their primary use is to reduce a person’s stress and keep them from getting jittery. Anxiety issues are ideally treated with medication for those issues, but benzodiazepine can treat the symptoms without having to go so far into treating the underlying problem.
For instance, if a person is nervous in such a way that causes them to shake. That can be crippling to their ability to speak or operate heavy machinery. Benzodiazepine can help them overcome that, at least temporarily. But it can have the opposite effect as well.
Today, we are going to look into the harm that benzodiazepine can cause when a person overmedicates or becomes dependent on benzodiazepine.
The first problem a person who develops a benzodiazepine habit will run into is mental issues. These will usually start with mood swings. This is because benzodiazepine, being a tranquilizer, works to suppress many of the sensations one associate with emotions.
What that means is that when a person ends up feeling their feelings after coming down from the drug, they will seem to be feeling them much more intensely than when they were on the drug. This can also whiplash towards a feeling of emotional numbness after chronic use.
That feeling of numbness is not limited to emotions either, as many addicts of benzodiazepine have reported problems with eating disorders as well. Usually, this will be the result of the user of the drug not realizing they need to eat until they are shaking from hunger.
The mental side effects can also affect the unconscious mind. Benzodiazepine addicts tend to have trouble sleeping due to their state of restfulness being dependent on the drug.
The worst cases of addiction can cause hallucinations. These are partly because dependency on the drug interacts so much with the mind. If the mind cannot relax without the drug or stop working or control itself without the drug, then it will not be able to filter sights and sounds that are not there from ones that are. All sorts of false signals will start to be perceived.
Because benzodiazepine is meant to treat physical issues, the physical side effects tend to reflect the issues that it temporarily subdues. For instance, while benzodiazepine can keep a person from trembling for a time, it has the side effect of making them tremble more later.
Addicts will feel this particularly keenly. Trembling, cold sensations and pain in various places can develop. These developments are a combination of problems. For one, benzodiazepine will strip away your body’s ability to regulate these feelings, making them worse when they happen.
But it will also cause your body to develop bad habits. Muscle pain and soreness will come about not just because the muscles are oversensitive due to the abuse. The user will also clench these muscles when they have the benzodiazepine in their system.
This means that when the benzodiazepine leaves their system, they will have a reflex or habit of clenching those muscles still. When they were on the drug, they did not feel the pain of those muscles being clenched. But now that they are off of it, they feel that pain acutely.
Users can find themselves quickly dependent on the drug as these problems get worse and worse. The drug will suddenly become the only escape the user has from the pain, as well as the only way for them to stop shaking or regulate their body temperature.
Anxiety is where the mental and physical issues caused by the drug overlap. As much as anxiety is about self-doubt and worry for the future, it can also take the form of non-verbal stress reactions at very small things. Benzodiazepine dependence can amplify this reaction.
What can be Done About Benzodiazepine Dependency?
Addiction to tranquilizers tends to be rough, as they are taken in very specific contexts. We mentioned taking them to operate heavy machinery better. This is a common reason people take them, and dependency means that the drug becomes required to continue operating the heavy machinery. If that is your job, the drug becomes a necessity.
This is why most doctors recommend dealing with benzodiazepine dependency by weaning oneself off of the drug or switching to a lower-powered tranquilizer. This is not an attractive method of fighting the addiction, as it can feel like a half measure to many people.
But it is important to be cautious when getting off of this drug. Going cold turkey can result in the side effects of hitting far too hard. Weaning off of the drug might feel like you are backing down from a decisive fight with the drug, but you will lose the decisive fight with the drug.
Consider that if you use the drug to work heavy machinery or keep calm in stressful situations that there is, chemically speaking, no way to do either of those things while under the effects of severe withdrawal. You will hurt yourself or others if you try to act normally during withdrawal.
This does not mean that you have to check into a full-time rehab to recover from benzodiazepine dependency. There are plenty of outpatient facilities where rehab is more like a physical therapy class that you take every so often.
This drug is a perfect example of why those facilities work. An addict will have to reacclimate to their body after getting off being hooked on this drug. Their muscles will work differently, and even their brain will process information differently, as well as emotions.
These drugs have their place as a method of keeping one’s body from succumbing to the more pronounced symptoms of anxiety and keeping the muscles under control when doing precise movements for work. But it is easy to go overboard in controlling these things.
If you need to learn more about the drug or its side effects, do not be afraid to ask.