The signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sluggish thoughts and reflexes
- Urgency, irritability, and spontaneous mood swings
- Asking friends and family members for benzos
- Asking your doctor for unnecessary benzos
- Shopping around for new doctors frequently
Note that the above list includes both physical symptoms and behavioral symptoms. It is essential to be aware of each. If you or a loved one are displaying these or other signs of benzodiazepine addiction, seek help from a substance abuse center immediately.
Benzos are a class of Schedule IV substances that are typically prescribed to take advantage of their sedative properties, such as for the treatment of insomnia or anxiety.
Examples of common benzos include Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. These drugs improve the functionality of the brain’s GABA neurotransmitters, which are responsible for governing your body’s muscle tension and stress management processes.
Unfortunately, the brain quickly adapts to the presence of benzos by making its GABA neurotransmitters less efficient to begin with. This means it takes more benzos to achieve the same effects as before. It also means that the brain has trouble functioning normally when benzos are not present in the system. This leads to benzo cravings and, ultimately for the brain to create withdrawal symptoms.
Signs of Benzo Abuse and Overdose
All benzo abusers will exhibit some extent of drowsiness, lack of muscle coordination, and poor motor control, but the following symptoms are signs of chronic abuse or even overdose:
- Shallow breathing, irregular breathing, or difficulty breathing
- Tremors or shaking
- Memory loss
These symptoms can be amplified when benzos are abused in tandem with other drugs, including alcohol. This mixture of depressants can lead to prolonged bouts of extremely shallow breathing, which can cause brain damage or death.
Benzo Withdrawal and Recovery
It can take months or even years for a chronic benzo abuser’s brain to completely recover from the drug’s effects. In many cases, an abuser will see long-term effects of benzo addiction. The most effective approaches tend to gradually reduce the dosage of benzos being taken while implementing a strong support network of friends, family members, and counselors.
The road to recovery is not easy, however. The symptoms of benzo withdrawal include:
- Gastric problems (diarrhea, nausea)
- Muscle problems (shaking, twitching, spasms)
- Psychological problems (depression, urgency, restlessness, anxiety, mood swings)
Medically assisted benzo addiction treatment programs can help reduce the length, strength, and severity of benzo withdrawal by prescribing non-benzo medications like antidepressants to help counteract a portion of these symptoms.
We May Be Able to Help
If you or a loved one has become addicted to benzos, the team at Pintas & Mullins may be able to help you pursue compensation for your injuries. We can study the details surrounding your case to determine if your doctor was negligent when he or she wrote you your prescription for benzodiazepine.
Proving Medical Negligence
To hold your doctor accountable for negligently writing you a benzo prescription, we must demonstrate that he or she failed to uphold the established standard of care. Our expert witnesses will show how a reasonable doctor with similar experience would have acted when given the same information. If your doctor failed to act accordingly, he or she could be liable for damages.
Examples of ways that your doctor might have been medically negligent include:
- Not asking about your history of substance abuse
- Not taking your medical record into account
- Not taking your criminal record into account
- Failing to offer alternatives to benzos that could treat your condition with less risk and equal effectiveness
- Prescribing too strong a dose
- Prescribing too many doses or refills
Call Us Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from benzo addiction, we want to help protect your rights. Call the team at Pintas & Mullins today at 888-808-5977 for a free consultation.