Rohnert Park, CA (PressExposure) June 26, 2009 -- Benzodiazepine is part of the many psychoactive drugs used to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and, in some areas, medical or dental procedures. Benzodiazepines are generally safe and effective when used for a short period of time. However, longer use of this drug is not recommended due to its propensity to cause tolerance, physical dependence, addiction and a withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use. Lately, Benzodiazepine is also being considered as one of the major drugs of abuse.
According to California drug rehab center therapists, benzodiazepines can be addictive, inducing dependence even at low doses (with as much as 23% of takers becoming addicted within just 3 months of use). Because of this, benzodiazepine addiction is considered a public health problem. Approximately 68.5% of prescriptions of benzodiazepines originate from local health centers, with psychiatry and general hospitals accounting for 10% each.
Benzodiazepines dependence can be considered a psychological dependence (addiction), a physical dependence, or a combination of the two. Physical dependence, according to California drug rehab center therapists, occurs when a person becomes physiologically tolerant to benzodiazepines, developing a physical dependence which can manifest itself upon dosage reduction or withdrawal as the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Addiction, sometimes referred to as psychological dependence, occurs in people who misuse and/or crave the drug not to relieve withdrawal symptoms but to experience its euphoric and or intoxicating effects.
Addiction to benzodiazepines often happen in people who are not abusing benzodiazepines but take them as prescribed. These people are the ones that get well but psychologically become unable to stop taking benzodiazepines despite the drug's harm. It is important to distinguish between addiction, drug abuse of benzodiazepines and normal physical dependence on benzodiazepines. According to California drug rehab center therapists, physical dependence typically occurs from long term prescribed use but drug abuse and/or addiction does not typically occur in prescribed users.
Withdrawal symptoms to benzodiazepines dependence include anxiety, perceptual disturbances, distortion of all the senses, dysphoria and in rare cases, psychosis and epileptic seizures. The risk factors for benzodiazepine dependence are long-term use beyond four weeks, use of high doses and use of potent short-acting benzodiazepines among those with certain pre-existing personality characteristics such as dependent personalities and those prone to drug abuse.