What is Doctor Shopping?

Have You Heard About Doctor Shopping?

People go into the medical field to help those who suffer. But often, others exploit that desire to help in the form of doctor shopping. Believe it or not, some people go from doctor to doctor looking for something specific. They do not need medical attention. Rather, they are doctor shopping to find one or more who will nurture their addiction.

 

In this article, Midwood Addiction Treatment attends to the following matters:

 

  • What is doctor shopping?
  • How is doctor shopping different from prescription drug use?
  • Why do people shop for doctors?
  • How does doctor shopping relate to opioid abuse?
  • What if I want more information about doctor shopping?

 

What Is Doctor Shopping?

Doctor shopping refers to filling prescriptions from more than one healthcare provider. Or it might look like filling the same prescription at the same provider. A person could fake an illness and then visit a doctor. Next, the doctor writes the person a prescription. The person fills the prescription. After that, they visit a different doctor. Then, the entire process repeats.

 

Granted, one should seek out the best physician to fit ones’ needs. Not every doctor provides a good fit for every person. But doctor shopping to fuel an addiction makes a different matter. If a doctor refuses to fill a prescription for you, they likely have a good reason for doing so.

 

How Is Doctor Shopping Different From Prescription Drug Use?

Doctors intend for prescriptions to help you. You know how visits to the doctor’s office go. You bring a symptom to their attention. They may (or may not) prescribe you medication to help with that symptom. If you do get a prescription, take it per the label directions. Take the exact dosage with the directed frequency. When the prescription runs out, refill it if needed. That constitutes legitimate prescription drug use.

 

Good Doctors Ask Questions

But, a good doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. Good questions about what else might be contributing to your illness. They might ask you about recent stressors in your life. They might grill you about how you eat, and how often you exercise. If you’re thinking about asking for a specific medication, ask yourself a few things:

 

  • What consequences will I face if I do not have access to this medication?
  • What non-medicinal changes could I make in my life to help with this problem?
  • Why do I want this specific medication?
  • Are my symptoms pointing to a deeper problem that I need to address?
  • What will this medicine add to my life that I don’t have right now?

 

Why Do People Shop For Doctors?

We understand that sometimes people might opt for a different doctor. But when people doctor shop, they do it to access drugs. Prescriptions can provide legitimate medicines for legitimate needs. But some people use this legitimate means for illicit purposes.

 

Often, those abusing opioids will doctor shop. You may know that opioids work as painkillers. Naturally occurring in the poppy plant, opioids have become susceptible to high rates of abuse. Opioid abuse can cause a person to descend into opioid use disorder (OUD). For a person suffering from OUD, doctor shopping appears as a tangible solution to a problem.

 

How Does Doctor Shopping Relate To Opioid Abuse?

This study showed a positive correlation between doctor shopping and opioid abuse. What does that mean in everyday language? People addicted to opioids become more likely to look for a doctor who will cater to their demands. And they exhibit a willingness to travel in order to get their fix.

 

What Consequences Exist For Doctor Shopping?

Tennessee requires prescribers to report patients who drift from place to place. The state considers doctor shopping as a form of fraud. Therefore, the state could severely punish someone convicted of doctor shopping. If convicted, a judge might sentence a person to jail. Such a sentence might incarcerate someone struggling with opioid use disorder. Some forms of MOUD (medication for opioid use disorder) exist in prisons. Unfortunately, less than 1% of jails and prisons provide MOUD.

 

What If I Want More Information About Doctor Shopping?

Perhaps you know someone who struggles with opioid use disorder. Maybe you’ve discovered them shopping for doctors. This person experiences quite a bit of pain. Additionally, they may also endure a mental illness. People with both ailments have become common. Researchers call this comorbidity – when a person has both a substance use disorder and a mental illness.

 

Please know that hope exists for you. It likewise exists for your loved ones. Doctor shopping, and its underlying illnesses, need not be a lifetime practice. You can break these kinds of cycles.

 

If you or someone you know may be doctor shopping to support and addiction, you are welcome to give us a call for advice and guidance. All calls are completely confidential. Midwood Addiction Treatment can help. 

 

 

 

 

Benzodiazepine Addiction – How It Looks Today

Benzodiazepine Addiction Considered

 

Many people have a benzodiazepine addiction. Benzodiazepines are anxiolytics or sedatives. This type of prescription is for panic disorders, anxiety disorders and some other disorders. Some doctors will prescribe benzodiazepines for muscle relaxation and seizures, too. Unfortunately, some people develop an addiction to this medication.

 

How do you know if you have a benzodiazepine addiction? Keep reading to find out more about the signs of benzo dependence and other information regarding this type of addiction.

 

Most Common Signs of Benzo Dependence

 

Many doctors, therapists or other professionals will diagnose someone with benzodiazepine addiction. There is a benzo addiction diagnosis if there is a minimum of 2 out of 11 symptoms within 12 months.

 

The most commonly found signs of benzo dependence include the following:

  • Taking benzodiazepines in a higher dosage or for longer than the doctor prescribes them
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using and recovering from using the drug
  • Experiencing benzo withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t taking the drug
  • Needing more benzodiazepines to achieve the same effects you originally got from the drug
  • Experiencing performance issues at school, work or home because of the medication use

If you struggle with any of these signs of benzo dependence, be sure to ask someone for help. Some programs are available to help people recover from benzodiazepine addiction.

 

Due to the nature of this medication, along with addiction-based chemical properties, some people abuse them. Some people need to take benzodiazepines for a medical condition. However, when a doctor prescribes this medication, they should watch their patient closely. If signs of addiction occur, the doctor should help the patient get resources to overcome their addiction.

 

Psychological and Physical Benzodiazepine Abuse Symptoms

 

You read about the common symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction. There are also psychological and physical symptoms associated with this type of addiction. Some of these symptoms include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Physical weakness
  • Confusion
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Making poor decisions
  • Poor judgment
  • Not being able to defend oneself
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Worse anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia
  • Headaches
  • Memory issues

If you experience any of these psychological or physical signs of benzodiazepine addiction, make the call to a treatment center today. Don’t keep using the medication. Continuing to abuse benzodiazepines could lead to a coma or even death from an overdose.

 

Behavioral Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

 

An addiction to benzodiazepines may come up over time. You may not realize you have an addiction to this drug until more symptoms occur. Substance abuse can be sneaky like that. When you feel the need to use this medication all the time, have cravings for it or experience symptoms related to addiction, it is time to get help.

 

In addition to the symptoms above, you may experience behavioral signs of benzo dependence or addiction. Some of these signs include the following:

  • Withdrawing from your family and friends
  • Not completing your obligations or attending to your responsibilities
  • Fearing that you won’t get the medication anymore
  • Always making sure you have a plan for when to pick up your prescription well ahead of time
  • Ensuring you always have some of the medication on you all the time
  • Stealing, borrowing money, draining your savings or using credit cards to pay for the medication
  • Buying this drug off the streets in addition to getting a prescription from your doctor
  • Continuing to find and use the drug after you no longer have a prescription for it
  • Spending a lot of energy and time obtaining the drug
  • Exhibiting a reduction in maintaining grooming or hygiene
  • Being secretive about what you are doing
  • No longer attending social events so people can’t see you are high
  • Experiencing personality and mood changes
  • Seeing multiple doctors so you can get a prescription for this drug
  • Taking similar OTC medications when you can’t obtain this one
  • Begging other people to give you some of their benzodiazepines
  • Manipulating loved ones into getting a prescription for this drug so you can have it

It is important to remember that not everyone experiences all these symptoms. You might have any number of these symptoms. There may be other things you have going on with this type of addiction, as well.

 

In addition to these symptoms, if you are cooking, injecting or crushing benzodiazepines to get a stronger high, this signifies addiction. You can reach out to an addiction treatment center for help today. In the treatment program, you can get many services to help you overcome benzo dependence and addiction.

Handling an Addiction to Benzodiazepines

 

Do any of the symptoms you read here today ring a bell? Have you been experiencing one or more of these symptoms? If so, you don’t have to struggle with benzodiazepine abuse any longer? You can talk to addiction recovery professionals to get the help you need.

 

Handling an addiction to this drug can be challenging. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms. In addition, everyone’s addiction history, family history and other life factors are different. Individual needs are why we recommend that everyone who needs to stop taking benzodiazepines have professional help. We can get you set up in a detox center. This way, doctors can wean you off benzodiazepines safely.

 

You may not know if you have a benzodiazepine addiction. It is perfectly normal to be unsure. You may have been taking your medication according to the prescription label. However, this does not mean you don’t have an addiction. If you can’t stop using benzodiazepines without withdrawal symptoms, it might be time to get addiction help. With professional help, you can finally stop letting this drug take over your life. You can finally start a recovering lifestyle that suits your needs and wants.

 

Contact us today to start receiving treatment for benzodiazepine addiction.

The Most Common Forms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse

The Most Common Forms of Prescription Drug Abuse

We’ve dealt with a lot of uncertainty over the last year. Mental health suffered and prescription drug abuse elevated. Many still seek gainful employment. If people can’t work, they can’t pay mortgages or rent. COVID-19 presented those struggling with opioid addiction with additional stressors.

We can find a way forward through the pandemic. And we can heal from prescription drug abuse. But before we do, we’ll have to understand what we’re up against.

In this article, you will learn:

● What is drug abuse?
● What is prescription drug abuse?
● What are the most common forms of prescription drug abuse?
● What are the consequences of prescription drug abuse?
● How can a person struggling with prescription drug abuse get help?

What Is Drug Abuse?

In recovery circles, you’ll hear the terms abuse and addiction frequently. While they can be part of the same problem, they have different definitions. Addiction refers to the process of feeling compelled to use a certain substance. And also being unable to stop using it. But abuse means using a substance for something other than its intended purpose. So, you can abuse a substance without becoming addicted to it.

Here are a few examples of abusing substances:

● Consuming a substance because it makes you feel good
● Consuming a substance to escape problems
● Taking too much of a substance
● Mixing a substance with any amount of another substance (i.e. alcohol)
● Using substances that you know are illegal

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Abuse is using a substance for something other than its intended purpose. But what about prescription drugs? Can you abuse your own medications? Yes. Absolutely, you can. Many 2020 overdose statistics indicate that COVID-19 contributed to an astronomical increase in drug overdose deaths. The reason? A rise in the availability of prescription opioids.

Opioids include drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, and morphine. They work as numbing agents for pain. If a person experiences severe pain, as many people have in the last year, that person will seek relief. Is it any wonder so many have turned to opioids to ease their agony?

Prescription drug abuse, like the above opioid example, occurs in a few different ways:

● Taking more than the prescribed dose
● Mixing a prescription with another drug (called polysubstance abuse)
● Taking someone else’s prescription, with or without their knowledge
● Consuming a prescription in a way other than the method prescribed (i.e. snorting, injecting, etc.)
● Selling your own prescriptions, or portions of your prescriptions, to others

What Are The Most Common Forms Of Prescription Drug Abuse?

The three most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids, benzodiazepines, and central nervous system (CNS) depressants.

Opioids

At root, opioids work as painkillers. You may hear the terms opioids and opiates used. Like abuse and addiction they have some similarities. But they do not mean precisely the same thing. Opioids is a very broad term, including both natural and artificial substances. But the term opiates specifically refers to natural substances.

Some examples of natural opioids (opiates) include codeine, morphine, and heroin. Synthetic opioids are made in labs. These include oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and fentanyl. Though these drugs do have legitimate medical uses, they accounted for about 75 percent of all drug overdose deaths during the pandemic.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines (benzos) help offset insomnia, seizures, and anxiety. Benzos work by stimulating the production of a neurotransmitter called gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). Our brains produce GABA to help reduce stress and get us to sleep. You may hear the term sedative used when discussing benzos. Benzos can cause intense feelings of relaxation.

Several common benzodiazepines include clonazepam (Klonopin), alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and iorazepam (Ativan). Though benzos can provide help and relief, they do cause physical dependence. Often, this dependence becomes so severe that the medical community coined the term benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

Your brain and your spinal cord comprise your central nervous system (CNS). Any signals from your brain travel through your nerves. Your brain bears numerous responsibilities. It stores your memories, influences your emotions, helps you make decisions, and controls your habits.

CNS depressants work similar to benzodiazepines. They increase the amount of the neurotransmitter GABA, which slows down your brain’s processes. While benzodiazepines have this effect, CNS depressants include other drugs. Sedative hypnotics (sleeping pills) like zolpidem (Ambien) depress the functions of the CNS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499875/ like phenobarbital (Luminal) also make up part of this group.

What Are The Consequences Of Prescription Drug Abuse?

For prescription drug abuse, consequences abound. First, there are the consequences to one’s physical health. Some side effects of abusing prescription opioids include constipation, nausea, and drowsiness. Opioids can also slow down your breathing. When too little oxygen reaches your brain, you experience hypoxia. And hypoxia can be fatal.

Second, consider the ramifications of benzodiazepine dependence. Quitting cold turkey can be lethal. Anyone wanting to reduce their dependence on benzos should consider tapering.

Abusing prescription drugs places you at risk for addiction. Substance use disorders (SUDS) can aggravate pre-existing mental health issues. Even if you’re taking your own prescription for improved mental health, abusing that drug places your mind (and body) in jeopardy.

How Can A Person Struggling With Prescription Drug Abuse Get Help?

Not everyone’s journey involves addiction. Remember, abuse and addiction have differences. If you’ve taken more than your prescribed dose, that counts as drug abuse. If you’ve taken something not prescribed to you, that also counts as drug abuse.

If you’re struggling with the temptation to abuse prescription drugs, help is available. It will take work. It will involve increasing your awareness of your own life. Your habits. Your processes. It will take sacrifice. But treatment plans exist that can help you live a life free of prescription drug abuse.

Help means admitting that you have a problem. It means contacting Midwood Addiction Treatment now. Once evaluated, you’ll meet with a doctor or therapist. There, you’ll learn about a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific circumstance.

Don’t wait any longer. Call Midwood Addiction Treatment now at 888-MAT-1110.

What Is Xanax Half-Life?

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Xanax Half-Life

Xanax is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. After using Xanax in pill form, peak levels can be found in the blood about 1 to 2 hours later. The average half-life of Xanax in the blood is 11 hours in healthy adults, meaning that half of the drug has been broken down and eliminated through the urine during that period. It takes between five to seven half-lives for 98% of a drug dose to be expelled from the body, so Xanax takes at least four days to be fully eliminated.

The half-life of Xanax tends to be longer for the elderly, individuals who are considered obese, those with alcoholic liver disease, and people of Asian descent. Moreover, for these people, Xanax will likely take more time to metabolize and clear out of their system. Furthermore, the concentration of Xanax in the blood is up to 50% among tobacco smokers.

Xanax Half-Life – Detection Windows

Xanax is detectable in the blood, saliva, urine, and hair, but how long it can be identified depends on a variety of personal factors. Age, weight, body fat percentage, the presence of other medications, dose, length of time Xanax has been used, hydration level, and metabolism all influence how long it takes for the drug to be expelled from a person’s system.

The following are the estimated detection window times for Xanax:

Urine – A urine drug screen, such as those that are conducted for employment purposes, may test positive for Xanax up to one week after a dose. For populations (e.g., the elderly) who metabolize Xanax more slowly, that time may be longer.

Saliva – Xanax can be detected in saliva for up to 36 hours.

Hair – As with all drugs, Xanax can be identified in a hair follicle beginning two to three weeks after the last dose and for up to 90 days.

Blood – Blood samples may be taken for a screening test or in cases of treatment for a suspected or confirmed overdose, but they can only determine that a person has taken Xanax in the last 24 hours.

Risks of Xanax Use

Xanax can cause drowsiness and sedation, so for this reason, those using the medication should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any other activity or task that requires full concentration and alertness. Xanax can have interactions if combined with other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, and can lead to severe, life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, and coma or death. Medications of particular concern are prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Because Xanax can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, and because tolerance for the drug can build rapidly, it has the potential to be habit-forming. Patients should take Xanax as directed, and are strongly advised not to use it more often or in larger doses, as this can lead to serious health complications, addiction, and overdose.

Do not suddenly stop using Xanax, as this can result in withdrawal symptoms and serious complications. Instead, talk to your doctor about a tapering schedule in which you are gradually weaned off the medication over time.

Symptoms of Xanax overdose can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Depressed respiration
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Weak pulse
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Coma

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Common Side Effects

Xanax can produce side effects that often subside once the body has become used to the medication. The most common side effects include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes
  • Joint pain
  • Nasal congestion

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare, and may include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe rash
  • Yellowish eyes or skin
  • Memory problems
  • Speech difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Overdose

Treatment for Addiction

Xanax is a powerful sedative that has the potential for abuse and dependence. Because withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax can be severe and even life-threatening, abrupt cessation is never advised, especially without the direct supervision of a medical professional or addiction specialist.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized treatment facility that employs a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to substance abuse and addiction. We offer multiple services vital to the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, medication-assisted treatment, and much more.

If you or someone you love is abusing Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the cycle of addiction for life!

Roofies

Roofies | Date Rape, Abuse, and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Rohypnol, commonly known as “roofies,” is not approved for use in the United States. Nonetheless, like other benzodiazepines, it is classified by the DEA as a Schedule IV substance, indicating that it has a lower potential for abuse than other drugs and does have some legitimate medical purpose.

Rohypnol, along with GHB, is among the best-known date rape drugs. Despite its relatively low scheduling, it is frequently abused for its sedative properties.

What Are Roofies?

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) and other benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan, Xanax, and Valium) act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Roofies are reportedly ten times stronger than Valium and is commonly used in other countries such as those in Europe and Latin America for the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders.

Rohypnol As a Date Rape Drug

There have been a large number of cases of unintentional Rohypnol use. During the college years, an estimated 1 in 4 women experience date rape or attempted rape, and a significant amount of these incidents involve substances such as Rohypnol and alcohol.

Rohypnol was first synthesized in Switzerland in 1975, intended for medical use. Soon, however, instances of misuse were reported throughout Europe. Sexual predators began frequently employing the use of Rohypnol by secreting dropping a pill in a person’s drink without their knowledge. After it quickly dissolves and is consumed, the perpetrator is free to take advantage of the unsuspecting victim who ingested it.

Rohypnol has been most commonly found as a white, odorless and flavorless drug, making it almost impossible to detect when it’s been slipped into a drink. Some manufacturers reformulated it into green tablets that make drinks blue when mixed, making it more identifiable. Both types of pills are still being produced, however, and cases of date rape involving use of the drug are still a problem in the United States.

How Are Roofies Used?

Rohypnol pills are often swallowed, either with water or alcohol, or chewed and then dissolved sublingually (under the tongue). Pills typically come in 0.5-2 mg doses, but users may take many to intensify the effects. Some users will crush the pills and snort the remaining powder, smoke it with marijuana, or sometimes even inject it.

Also, people who use heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, or LSD might use Roofies to either amplify the positive effects or temper the adverse effects of these drugs. Rohypnol and alcohol is, unfortunately, a popular and infamous combination at both clubs and parties. Once Rohypnol enters the body, effects take about 20 minutes to onset and can last for 12 hours or longer.

Roofies | Date Rape, Abuse, and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Origins of Rohypnol in the U.S.

Although physicians do not prescribe Rohypnol in the U.S., there is enough demand that shipments have frequently been smuggled in from abroad. It may be procurable by asking around at a club or on the Dark Web, as drug trafficking websites have illicit substances to be ordered and shipped to addresses in the U.S.

In 1996, the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention Act increased the restrictions and penalties associated with the use of the drug. Being found in possession of Rohypnol can lead to a fine and up to 3 years in jail, and importation or distribution is punishable by as much as 20 years.

Symptoms of Rohypnol Abuse

Some people, especially teenagers and young adults, abuse Roofies in an attempt to manage co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety or insomnia, or solely for the sedative high that Rohypnol induces.

If someone is abusing Rohypnol, you might notice some warning signs, which can include the following:

  • Extreme lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Apathy

Effects of Rohypnol Abuse on the Brain

Roofies work to depress brain function and CNS activity, and it can accomplish this to a profound degree. It has a potent tranquilizing effect, and many users have described it as “paralyzing.” This dramatic reduction in activity in the brain and body is compounded when it is used in conjunction with alcohol.

This overall effect helps to explain why people who have the drug slipped into a drink without their consent become vulnerable and incapacitated. Death from an overdose of Rohypnol is much more likely to occur when alcohol use is involved.

Other mental side effects of Rohypnol can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Short-term amnesia
  • Blacking out
  • Long-term memory impairment
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Stupor
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination

Effects on the Body

The incapacitating effects caused by Rohypnol are both physical and psychological. As brain activity slows dramatically, the body’s functions will also experience a similar reaction. Some of these effects may be evident to others, but some are internal, and may not be identified until they result in a medical emergency.

Physical side effects of Rohypnol may include the following:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Weakness
  • Impaired motor control
  • Visual disturbances
  • Low blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Urinary retention
  • Profound respiratory depression
  • Tremors

Roofies | Date Rape, Abuse, and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Rohypnol Addiction and Withdrawal

If a person begins regularly abusing Rohypnol, he or she may soon discover that habit can be quite challenging to quit. Both psychological and chemical dependence hallmark Rohypnol addiction. These conditions are more like two sides of the same coin.

Psychological dependency becomes apparent when the person starts engaging in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors to fulfill an emotional need. This type of dependence can develop with regard to the use of nearly any psychoactive substance—marijuana, for example. Rohypnol, just like cocaine and heroin, can also result in what is called a chemical or physiological dependence.

When a person misusing Rohypnol discontinues drug use, he or she may encounter highly unpleasant symptoms of drug withdrawal. This effect is the result of the body’s intense reaction to the drug’s sudden absence and is a tell-tale sign that the person is chemically dependent.

Withdrawal symptoms of Rohypnol addiction can include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Tingling sensation
  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Loss of personal identity
  • Shock

Rohypnol withdrawal can induce seizures up to a week after a person’s last use. Rohypnol treatment typically consists of a prolonged supervised detox period that often involves a drug taper or gradual reduction in doses over the course of several weeks.

Many cases of addiction develop as users are simply trying to avoid withdrawal. If you recognize symptoms of Rohypnol misuse in yourself or someone you love, you should seek help as soon as possible to prevent further abuse and the myriad of risks associated with this behavior.

Getting Help for Rohypnol Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to Rohypnol, other drugs, or alcohol, the best path to recovery is through specialized treatment. This path may entail detox, followed by a partial-hospitalization or outpatient program.

Through the use of comprehensive treatment programs, Midwood Addiction Treatment offers help to those who are motivated to recover from substance abuse. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that is most effectively treated using an integrated approach that includes therapy and medication, as well as holistic elements, such as proper diet and exercise.

Our team of addiction specialists employs evidence-based services vital to the process of recovery, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning. We are dedicated to providing people with the tools, resources, and support they need to become sober, prevent relapse, and foster satisfying lives, free from the use of drugs and alcohol!

Benzo Withdrawal

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are central nervous system (CNS) depressants commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, insomnia, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Benzos are prescribed under several brand names, including Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam). Although these drugs are considered to be relatively safe when used as prescribed, they have the potential for addiction and can be dangerous when misused. Benzos can pose significant risks to those who abuse them, and discontinuing use early on can mitigate some of the short- and long-term dangers associated with the use of these drugs.

What Is Benzo Withdrawal?

Extended benzodiazepine use or abuse often results in physical dependence—a state in which a person’s body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug such that it can no longer function normally without it. When a person is dependent on benzos, and use is reduced or discontinued, the body will encounter a range of unpleasant effects known as withdrawal.

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal vary from mildly unpleasant to life-threatening. The severity of withdrawal is often related to the average dose of the benzo previously used and how rapidly use is halted. Users who suddenly quit benzos after a prolonged period of use are at higher risk of intense withdrawal symptoms than those patients who are weaned off gradually.

Is Benzo Withdrawal Hazardous?

Benzo withdrawal can be dangerous or even fatal, particularly for those with a severe dependence and/or co-occurring mental health conditions. Serious symptoms induced by benzo withdrawal may include both psychosis and seizures. If left untreated, seizures may be progressive, increasingly difficult to control, and potentially fatal.

Owing to this danger, it is critical that those attempting to quit benzos receive help from a physician, addiction specialist, or substance abuse treatment program that can safely guide them through the recovery process.

Suddenly discontinuing benzo use can also result in rebound effects, in which symptoms previously managed by the drug return with greater intensity. Users may suffer from symptoms such as rebound anxiety and insomnia at a level of severity comparable to or greater than those experienced before the user began using the benzo to treat such symptoms.

Benzo users who encounter rebound symptoms may be compelled to immediately relapse in an attempt to relieve the unpleasant and disturbing effects of withdrawal. Although many of the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are uncomfortable, treatment options are available to manage many of them, thus making the process safer and more tolerable for those entering recovery.

Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal may include any or all the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Poor concentration
  • Sensory distortions
  • Tremors

In instances of severe withdrawal, dangerous complications can develop, such as seizures and psychosis. Users who previously experienced seizures and/or have combined benzos with other prescription drugs or alcohol may be at an increased risk for developing seizures during withdrawal.

Some benzo users may encounter what is known as a protracted withdrawal, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This condition can persist for several months or longer and include chronic anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Withdrawal from benzos can range in severity and duration between individuals. The intensity of the withdrawal depends on several factors, including the person’s health, the dose typically used, and the speed at which the medication is decreased when using the taper down method.

Medications for Withdrawal

Medications may be employed in the treatment of benzo withdrawal to help wean users from the drug, treat withdrawal symptoms, and relieve discomfort. A doctor may gradually taper a patient off benzos over a period of weeks or months, rather than suddenly discontinuing use.

For example, if a patient is currently taking a benzo with a relatively short half-life such as Ativan (lorazepam), the physician or addiction specialist may first prescribe one with a longer half-life, such as Klonopin (clonazepam). This change can help relieve symptoms during detox and better facilitate the weaning process.

Other medications that may be used to manage benzo withdrawal include the following:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine and valproate
  • Sedative antidepressants, such as trazodone
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs, such as clonidine or propranolol, for those who experience severe autonomic consequences as part of benzo withdrawal (e.g., hypertension and accelerated heart rate)

Of note, the administration of these medications does not completely neutralize the risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. To reduce the risk of complications, patients should be closely supervised during detox by medical providers or addiction professionals to ensure safety.

While medications may be beneficial and even vital during the withdrawal process, it is important to understand that addiction treatment requires more than the administration of medication. Instead, medication is just one essential therapeutic component that should be employed in conjunction with psychological treatments, such as behavioral therapy and counseling.

Benzo Withdrawal and Addiction Treatment

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Detox is the process of clearing toxic substances from the body. Because benzo withdrawal is associated with both distressing and potentially severe symptoms, medical monitoring is typically the safest course of action. Many people dependent on benzos also abuse other drugs or alcohol, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications during withdrawal.

Benzo detox can be conducted in a hospital environment or an addiction treatment facility. Medical providers who specialize in addiction in a detox facility begin by evaluating the severity of the patient’s condition and deciding on the best treatment plan for the individual. Medical providers may also:

  • Monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
  • Gradually taper down the dose.
  • Prescribe medications to relieve discomfort.
  • Prescribe medications to reduce the risk of seizures.
  • Encourage enrollment and participation in further treatment.

Although a safe detox is an essential step in the treatment process, long-term recovery necessitates learning coping skills to deal with a life free from drug use.

Programs offered by Midwood Addiction Treatment after detox completion and/or residential treatment include the following:

Partial-Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are an option for those who have either completed residential treatment or require an outpatient setting. Our PHP offers intense and comprehensive treatment comparable to a residential program, but is set in a comfortable clinical environment during the day, and includes the option of a relaxing, safe, and supervised home-like residence in the evenings.

Outpatient Treatment Programs offer weekly individual and group therapy and counseling with flexible time outside of treatment to attend to work, school, family, and adjust to living in the real world without drugs or alcohol.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be provided by an addiction counselor, therapist, or psychologist. Patients will attend individual therapy sessions at least once per week. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is a common and effective strategy used to address benzo addiction.

The theoretical basis for CBT is the notion that there is a connection between a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. CBT was developed to help people identify and understand the thoughts and beliefs that factor into negative emotions such as anger, worry, and depression. CBT also helps people understand how these emotions contribute to negative and unhealthy behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, in order to foster positive lifestyle changes.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs that promote sobriety and provide people with the tools and support they need to begin experiencing the fulfilling lives they deserve, free from drugs and alcohol. Contact us today to find out how we can help!