Benzodiazepines (benzos) are a class of medication typically prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and muscle tension. Benzos such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium and other anti-anxiety medication are designed for short-term use, usually a few weeks or months, since they are highly addictive.

After about four to six months, benzos generally stop working which is typical of any addictive substance. When people who take benzos develop a tolerance, they take more of the medication, more often to reach the same euphoric effect, which increases the risk of serious health issues, overdose, and death. Mixing opioids with benzos damages the liver and heart, and induces labored breathing. This toxic combination can also have negative effects on emotional stability and mental health.

According to Britta Starke, program director for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Outpatient Treatment at UNC, a common pattern is using marijuana first and then benzos when the high from marijuana wears off. She recommends a more natural way to cope with stress and emotions, which is mindfulness. This includes meditation, yoga, and deep breathing techniques. Walking, hiking, and other physical activities are proven to increase mood and reduce anxiety.

Opioids and benzos are the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Some patients take more of the drugs than prescribed to get high. Benzos enhance the effects of opioids, which increases the risk of abuse and addiction. Mixing any two drugs together will increase the possibility of hurting yourself or others and can result in fatalities.

Each prescription medication has a warning label indicating the harmful effects they have when mixed with other medications or alcohol. Most painkillers are safe and effective when taken appropriately or as prescribed. Prescription pain medicine mixed with benzos can cause serious drug interactions and increase the risk of stomach bleeding, heart attack, stroke, or impaired breathing.

All drugs have side effects whether over-the-counter, prescription, or recreational. Read warning labels, know the side effects, and ask a doctor or pharmacist about adverse interactions. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and anxiety, do not be afraid to ask for help. Addiction and mental health disorders are treatable and there is hope in recovery. Get help today.

Cypress Lakes Lodge specializes in addiction treatment and is located in a serene, remote, lush-green, oxygen enriched environment. The program encompasses holistic addiction therapy and offers yoga and meditation for the mind, body, and soul. The focus is on physical, mental, and emotional well-being by generating the balance of life-enriching treatment, wellness, and healthy, sober, sustainable relationships. Call us to get started: 409-331-2204