What is a Benzodiazepine Overdose?

A benzodiazepine overdose happens when you take too much of this drug for your body to process it.

When benzodiazepines are taken as directed, it is typically considered a safe and effective medication.

When it is abused, however, the risk of a benzodiazepine overdose grows.

This is especially true for people who mix other drugs, like alcohol or opioids, with benzos.

If left untreated, an overdose can be deadly.


Immediate Placement in Drug Rehab for Benzodiazepine Abuse & Addiction

Understanding Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines have been around for a very long time. They are considered a sedative and are usually prescribed to help people with anxiety or insomnia. It can also be used to help people with serious seizure disorders.

There are many different name-brand benzodiazepine medications that you may have heard of.

The most common include:

  • Xanax
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan
  • Valium
  • Ambien
  • Halcion
  • Lunesta
  • Phenibut
  • Benzodiaz

Benzos help people with anxiety or insomnia because they slow activity in the brain. This helps eliminate stress so that you can relax and get relief from your symptoms.

But when benzodiazepines are abused, they can have other effects. Higher doses give people a “high,” along with a feeling of relaxation. This high is what makes people get addicted to benzodiazepine.

Benzodiazepine Overdose Emerald Isle Health and Recovery - A middle-aged woman is sitting with an addiction counselor to discuss her past benzodiazepine overdose experiences to determine how to safely detox from these substances and get on the road to recovery.


The Physical Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Even when a benzodiazepine is taken appropriately, it can have negative physical side effects.

These can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Mental confusion
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Lack of motor control
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow breathing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech

Some people also experience changes in their moods, headaches, vivid dreams, irritability, or problems with their memory.

The longer you abuse this medication, the higher the chances you will experience a benzodiazepine overdose. This life-threatening situation happens when you take too much of a drug for your body to handle. More than 10,000 people die each year from a benzodiazepine overdose.


What are the Signs of a Benzodiazepine Overdose?

For people who take benzodiazepines according to their doctor’s directions, they generally have little to worry about when it comes to overdosing. However, if you take too large of a dose, or combine it with other drugs, you are at an increased risk of experiencing a benzodiazepine overdose.

Some signs of a benzodiazepine overdose include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Unresponsiveness or weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue in the fingernails or lips
  • Tremors

The symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose will be different for every person and can vary depending on several things. This can include the number of benzos you took, whether or not you took anything else with it, how long you have been abusing it, and how you took it.

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Mental Illness and Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are medications that help people deal with the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. They are meant to be used as a short-term treatment, as long-term use can lead to dependency even when it is taken properly. This is especially true for people who have also been prescribed an opioid, or those who abuse opioids in order to get high.

For adults that are over the age of 50, benzodiazepines can have especially negative side effects. Studies have found that older Americans who misuse benzodiazepines are more likely to have thoughts of suicide. Men are more likely than women to experience this side effect. And, those who misused both benzodiazepines and opioids were found to be 10 times more likely to think about suicide.


What is Benzodiazepine Withdrawal?

When you are addicted to benzodiazepine, your body is used to having it in your system. This means that if you stop taking them, you experience a number of different negative side effects. These side effects are known as withdrawal.

They can appear as soon as one to two days after you stop taking benzos and usually takes place in three distinct phases:

  • Early Withdrawal – During this phase, clients usually experience an increase in their anxiety or insomnia symptoms.
  • Acute Withdrawal – This phase is the longest and often the most difficult part of benzodiazepine withdrawal. You may experience blurred vision, brain fog, cravings, diarrhea, hallucinations, insomnia, mood swings, nausea, problems concentrating, seizures, vomiting, and weight loss.
  • Protracted Withdrawal – Around 10 percent of clients experience protracted withdrawal symptoms. These can last several months or even years. The symptoms can include prolonged anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood swings, muscle twitches, and tingling in your arms and legs. These symptoms often come and go without warning, but will eventually go away.

There is no set timeframe that benzo withdrawal symptoms can last. It depends on a few different factors for each patient.

But, because benzo withdrawal symptoms can be so serious, it is highly recommended you do not try and do it by yourself.

At Emerald Isle Behavioral Health, we have many different treatment options to help you detox safely and more comfortably. You will also have the reassurance of being supervised at all times by a highly-trained medical team.

Benzodiazepine Overdose Emerald Isle Health and Recovery - A group of individuals that have all experienced benzodiazepine overdose episodes is discussing their experiences and how to support one another through treatment.


Treatment Options to Overcome Your Addiction

An addiction to benzodiazepines can be difficult to overcome, especially if you experience serious withdrawal symptoms.

We typically recommend that our clients begin with medical detox. This process involves slowly decreasing the number of benzos you are taking over time. This weans the drugs from your body gradually, minimizing the effects of withdrawal and helping you stop being dependent on benzos.

After you have completely detoxed, the next step in the benzo addiction treatment process is to find the reasons why you were taking it. This typically involves using a behavioral therapy program, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This type of treatment allows us to help address any underlying mental health issues and your dependency. It gives you the tools you need to overcome the obstacles that have made you keep abusing benzodiazepines.

Free Insurance Verification for Benzodiazepine Rehab


Getting the Help that You Need for Your Benzo Addiction

Benzodiazepines are a medicine that can help people with serious anxiety or insomnia.

It is a great option for short-term treatment in order to help regulate your brain’s chemicals back to normal levels.

But long-term benzo use or abuse poses serious risks to your health.

That is why we have developed programs especially for clients that are dealing with benzodiazepine addiction.

At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to individualized, evidence-based treatment.

Our comprehensive clinical and medical programs help our clients achieve long-term, sustainable recoveries.

Our state-of-the-art facility was built in a highly private location to ensure clients are able to get away from things that cause them stress or trigger their addiction.

We also focus on ensuring that each of our clients feels safe and comfortable so that they can approach their recovery in the most positive way possible.

We realize that many of our clients wonder about how they are going to pay for their treatment.

That is why we accept most major insurances through our free insurance verification.

Simply give us a call, and one of our addiction specialists can verify whether or not your insurance will cover your detox and rehab.

We will also communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.

You can complete a simple form right from our website, or call us directly.

Like any drug addiction, benzodiazepine abuse and addiction can have many negative side effects on both your physical and mental health.

But it is also highly treatable if you seek help from a reputable rehab center.

At Emerald Isle, we are here to help you design your recovery plan for maximum success.

Let us help you with all of the tools that you need to get on the path to a healthy life with your new bundle of joy.

Call us today to get started on the path to sobriety.