The benefits of benzos have been oversold, particularly for those taking other medications and people in addiction recovery.

Tolerance and dependence on Benzodiazepines can quickly develop. The higher the dose and the longer the use, the greater the likelihood of addiction. People who misuse benzos tend to take higher doses than prescribed and often mix them with other drugs, primarily opiates.

Highlighting the perils of benzos is not meant to diminish the significant dangers of prescription painkillers. Opiate addiction has become a national crisis. In 30% of opioid-related deaths, a combination of benzos and opiates was the cause of death.

Both opioids and benzos slow down body systems, particularly the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. This multi-dose cocktails can cause breathing to stop.

Are doctors part of the problem? The potentially lethal combination of benzos and opioids often begins as a dual prescription from a doctor. Research shows that patients who receive prescriptions for opioid painkillers are four times more likely to also receive a prescription for sedatives than patients who aren’t prescribed opioids. Given their addictive potential, benzos should not be routinely prescribed for people with a history of substance abuse. Physicians sometimes prescribe them to support recovery from addiction to other substances, especially if the patient is experiencing anxiety. Some addiction specialists argue that is challenging to treat anxiety in substance-abusing patients, and that benzos have their place.

Most addiction professionals will disagree. If you prescribe benzos to reduce an addict’s anxiety, you will likely contribute to an addiction. A highly publicized case of benzos backfiring in addiction treatment involved singer Stevie Nicks, whose psychiatrist recommended them to support her recovery from cocaine addiction. Nicks has publicly renounced the use of benzos, saying that her eight-year battle with Klonopin addiction was far more crippling and difficult to break than her cocaine addiction.

While it is important to treat anxiety, particularly in early recovery, it is unsupported to use benzodiazepines for this purpose. There are other, safer ways to help patients in recovery manage anxiety without contributing to addiction. These include cognitive behavior therapy, motivational therapy, group support and interpersonal therapy, to name a few.

Medical detox facilities are seeing dually addicted patients enter their facilities with increasing frequency. Due to the complications that can be seen when withdrawing from opiates and benzos, it is important to medially monitor these individuals.

About BlueCove Homes

BlueCove Homes remains committed toward the overall recovery process, and in doing so we are truly honored to network with some of the nation's leading residential and outpatient addiction treatment centers. We believe that each new day presents new opportunities to redefine quality sobriety, and our resolve in supporting the client's best interests will always remain foremost. We invite you to join us along the exciting path of redefining life in recovery!

National Alliance for Recovery Residences
California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors

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