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Why are Benzodiazepines so Addictive? (e.g. Ativan, Alprazolam, Temazepam)

Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, Alprazolam, and Temazepam, are some of the most dangerous drugs because of the way they affect the nervous system. Many people can become addicted to them in a matter of days because of its interaction with GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), the most prevalent receptor in the human body. This makes benzodiazepine withdrawal extremely difficult.

Specifically, benzodiazepines attach to GABA-A, a grouping of 20 receptors that controls sleep, muscles, cardiovascular and respiration in the body. This affinity of the benzodiazepines for GABA-A is unlike any other drug, including opiates and alcohol, in the way that it attaches to 45 million receptors and then alters them gradually. The GABA increases in regulation at first which feels good and brings a calming effect that improves sleep and shows signs of improvement. This is misleading and short lived as the GABA receptors are rapidly modified which decreases GABA’s regulation, causing it to no longer do its job. This affect worsens sleep, increases anxiety, weakens muscles, deteriorates eyesight and hinders respiration.

This quick change and the effects that come with it are dangerous first, when it comes to taking the drug, second when attempting to taper off benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines can become addictive in a matter of days.  Unfortunately, many initial scripts are given for 30 days, so a lot of people taking benzodiazepines can become addicted in the first prescription and not realize it, because a lot of symptoms are subtle.

Because this medication is so potent, it is crucial for consumers to realize their dependency and then withdraw very slowly. Benzodiazepines withdrawal cannot be done cold turkey because it can lead to serious health issues, like increased blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, because of how the receptors have been altered. It is important to taper off benzodiazepines slowly for overall health and safety.

Overall, benzodiazepines become easily addictive because of how they alters receptors. At first, it seems to have positive effects, but quickly GABA receptors are altered and no longer work properly, bringing worsening effects.

If you’ve become addicted to benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, Alprazolam, and Temazepam, there is hope.  You can taper off benzodiazepines safely and effectively.  And you can do so much more conformably and with a higher chance of success if your benzodiazepine withdrawal is done with the assistance and supervision of experienced medical professionals such as our team at Point of Return.

Call us at 866-605-2333 or contact us to learn more about how we can help with your Ativan withdrawal, Alprazolam withdrawal, Temazepam withdrawal, or withdrawal from any other benzodiazepines.


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