Benzodiazepine medications are legal. Doctors prescribe them every day. These are medications like Xanax and Valium that are typically prescribed for anxiety. While there are legitimate uses for the drug and they do help a large number of people, there are also people that become completely dependent on them and develop an unhealthy relationship with the medication. Some people just take them recreationally even though they may not suffer from anxiety at all.
It’s not difficult to develop a dependence on benzodiazepines. The body is a truly remarkable machine. When a person takes benzodiazepines on a regular basis, the body can adjust to that medication and change the way it produces certain chemicals. In this case, people who have been on these medications for a long time may not feel well without the drugs.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing to become dependent on a medication. Dependence is not the same thing as addiction. People without addiction problems can develop a dependence on a medication just because of the chemical reactions that happen in their bodies when they take or don’t take the drug.
The thing about benzodiazepines is that sudden withdrawal can be life threatening. You should never abruptly stop taking benzodiazepines. If you want to stop using the drug, you should have a doctor taper you off or have a medically supervised detoxification process.
People will be provided with a slightly smaller dose each day when they are in a tapering program. The process can take a few days up to a few months, depending on the dose a person is taking.
It’s important that anyone who stops taking benzodiazepines immediately get into therapy. As with any substance, it’s not enough to just stop the substance. Rather, the work must be done to change the addictive behaviors that make the patient want to take the substance in the first place. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to change negative thought patterns and behaviors in this instance.
The most important thing to keep in mind about benzodiazepine addiction is that like any substance addiction, it is an addiction that can be treated. No matter which substance you are addicted to—whether it is an illegal street drug or a prescribed medication like Xanax—you have to do the work that is necessary to help you treat the root cause of your addiction.
A good rehabilitation program will help you to do this through individual therapy, group therapy, 12-step programs, and cognitive behavioral therapy, among other things. If you are having issues with benzodiazepine addiction, the best thing you can do is try to receive help for your addiction at a professional rehabilitation facility.