Look Out: Could Benzos Be the Next U.S. Drug Epidemic?

enzodiazepine, Benzo for short, is a prescription drug that is commonly prescribed for issues such as anxiety or insomnia.  Common prescriptions include Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin.  This type of medication has recently been under scrutiny as more and more people are becoming addicted to benzos.  Many experts are warning those using benzos to be careful.  Some are even concerned that benzos could become our next drug epidemic, much like the opioid crisis.  While many turn to benzo simply to help calm down, relax, or sleep, health experts are warning users to exercise caution as there is a potential for benzo users of developing a harmful addiction.  Many rehabs are seeing more and more people addicted to types of benzos.  Drug addiction treatment is offered to help those with an addiction problem address the problem to overcome addictions.

Prescribing of Benzos Is at an All-Time High

Stanford University’s Chief of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Lembke, recently discussed prescription benzos.  According to her, doctors actually overestimate the benefits of these types of drugs for aiding in sleep or providing anxiety relief.  She states that overuse of benzos for a long-term period of time can actually increase bouts of anxiety and depression.  The original purpose of prescription benzo was for short-term use to be prescribed in low doses because experts were aware of the addictive side effects.  However, according to studies, doctors have been prescribing benzodiazepine more and more.  In fact, prescriptions have more than tripled since the 1990s.  Statistics state that from 1996 to 2013, the filling of benzo prescriptions has increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million.  That is a 67 percent increase!  This is the problem that is landing many people in rehab.  Drug rehab centers are seeing more and more people seek treatment for benzo addictions. Dr. Lembke stated that doctors need to use caution and be careful not to over prescribe benzo medication.  She went on to say that doctors need to be better educated about benzos in order to reduce the number of prescriptions being written and filled

Can Benzos Be Beneficial?

Because of all the negativity surrounding benzos, a group of independent researchers decided to study the negative trend of benzo use.  This task force is called the International Task Force of Benzodiazepines.  This group wants to specifically focus on the science.  They are looking at the evidence-based, unbiased, balanced, relevant information only to determine if there really is something to the claim of many that benzos are more of a dangerous, addictive drug than a helpful medication.  They argue that benzos are actually more beneficial than people admit and are working towards a goal of preserving benzos as a useful prescription.  However, three people on the committee recently disclosed that they receive support from or consult with major drug companies.  Whether or not the results will be completely unbiased remains to be seen.

Benzos overall have developed a bad reputation for being habit-forming, which is what this task force seeks to disprove.  But Dr. Lembke herself with attest to the fact that benzos can actually be a helpful medication, if and only if they are used as originally intended, in short stints.  She recommended that benzos are only used short-term, two to four weeks at the maximum.

The Harsh Truth

The reality is that there is no medication that can completely solve psychiatric problems like anxiety or depression.  Continue to rely upon prescription medication is more likely than not to become habit-forming.  Regular use can develop into an addiction that many people struggle to break free from.  To further complicate the problem, deaths related to benzo addiction are on the rise.  Sadly, they have nearly quadrupled in number since 2002 with 10,684 deaths related to benzos being reported in 2016.  When the statistics are on the rise, you can see why doctors and health professionals are concerned about commonly prescribing benzos.  It is a habit-forming drug that may lead to not only addiction, but also death.

Seek Help

If you or someone you love suffers from addiction to benzos, or any other type of addiction, Summer Sky inpatient drug rehab has treatment programs that are designed to help each individual fight addiction.  They are a top drug rehab that focuses on getting patients the specific help they need to overcome addiction and begin the recovery process.  Don’t let addiction ruin your life.  If you have a problem, admitting it is often the first step.  Once you recognize that you have a problem, seek professional drug addiction treatment help from Summer Sky.  Our top priority is your sobriety, so contact us today to find out more information.

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