Xanax, Aprazolam, Ativan, Valium, Lunesta. These are likely names that you have heard, all belonging to the benzodiazepine drug family. Benzodiazepines, commonly called benzos, are depressant drugs intended to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia, but they’ve become widely popular for illegal drug use. Studies by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have shown that treatment for benzo abuse has tripled in ten years, while treatment for other illicit drugs only increased 11 percent during the same time frame.
Benzodiazepines are most often taken in conjunction with another drug. In the same study by SAMHSA, over half of the cases showed benzodiazepines as secondary abused drugs, subjecting the drug user to the dangers of drug cocktails. Mixing drugs and alcohol can cause serious consequences that can lead to injury or death. The risk of these fatal effects is very high with benzos since they are often combined with other drugs or alcohol.
Even when prescribed, benzodiazepines have a reputation for being highly addictive drugs. This characteristic of benzos makes their physical dependence more extreme than other prescription drugs. Because of this, quitting cold turkey is not advised by medical professionals, but a gradual withdrawal method is suggested to keep the user from extreme benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. Slowly weaning off drug dependence is the safest way to prevent the severe detox reactions often associated with benzo withdrawal.
There are many resources for benzodiazepine addiction, and Drug Test Central offers many drug tests for those helping a loved one stay on the course of sobriety.