Benzodiazepines Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

Table of Contents

Benzodiazepine addiction is a chronic and relapsing disorder that requires professional intervention and treatment for the best chances at long-term sobriety.

Benzodiazepines receive less attention than opioids, alcohol, and marijuana in discussions on substance abuse. The benzo withdrawal process and potential interactions with other substances can pose significant dangers, though. This guide outlines why benzodiazepines are addictive and shows you how to connect with benzodiazepine addiction treatment in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Is Benzodiazepine Addictive?

Benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, can lead to tolerance and dependence with long-term use. Tolerance occurs when higher doses are needed to achieve the same effects, potentially leading to increased consumption and a higher risk of dependence. Dependence is characterized by the body’s reliance on the drug to function normally. Abrupt cessation of benzodiazepines can result in withdrawal symptoms that involve rebound symptoms mirroring the symptoms that benzos were used to treat.

Benzodiazepine addiction can manifest through compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, persistent cravings, and a lack of control over usage despite negative consequences. This class of medication should only be used as directed due to the high benzodiazepine addiction rate. Medical professionals monitor individuals closely to minimize the potential for tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Developing an awareness of the risks associated with long-term benzodiazepine use can promote responsible and safe usage practices.

A woman sips her coffee and stares out the window after learning about the the symptoms of benzodiazepines addiction

Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Recognizing signs of benzodiazepine addiction is essential in order to provide timely intervention and support for those facing such challenges. These signs may manifest in various aspects of a person’s life, including behavioral, physical, psychological, social, and occupational domains.

Behavioral changes are often evident, with many people displaying erratic behavior, frequent mood swings, and a tendency to maintain secrecy about their activities. These changes in behavior can serve as early indicators of potential addiction issues.

In terms of physical changes, observable symptoms such as dilated pupils, slurred speech, and an unsteady gait may become noticeable. These physical manifestations often reflect the physiological impact of prolonged benzodiazepine use and can be significant markers of potential addiction concerns.

Psychological changes may also emerge, with affected individuals experiencing increased irritability, heightened anxiety, and a persistent sense of agitation. These alterations in psychological well-being often accompany the physiological effects of the addiction, further emphasizing the need for comprehensive support and intervention.

Social changes can be especially concerning, as individuals grappling with benzodiazepine addiction may exhibit a tendency to withdraw from social activities and isolate themselves from family and friends. These shifts in social behavior can indicate the detrimental impact of addiction on an individual’s social support system and overall well-being.

Occupational changes may also occur, with affected people potentially demonstrating decreased performance, increased absenteeism, and strained relationships with co-workers. These changes in the workplace may signal the deterioration of a person’s professional life, emphasizing the need for targeted intervention and support mechanisms to address the underlying addiction issues.

By recognizing and understanding these multifaceted signs and symptoms, it becomes possible to offer appropriate assistance and guidance to those struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, ultimately streamlining their journey toward recovery and improved well-being.

Benzodiazepines Addiction Symptoms

DSM-5-TR (the revised fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) lists the following benzodiazepine addiction symptoms:

  1. Taking more benzodiazepines than intended or using them for longer periods than planned.
  2. Persistent attempts to cut down on use without success.
  3. Spending significant time obtaining, using, or recovering from the drug’s effects.
  4. Experiencing intense cravings or strong urges to use benzodiazepines.
  5. Neglecting major obligations at work, school, or home due to benzodiazepine use.
  6. Continuing to use benzodiazepines despite social or interpersonal problems caused by the drug.
  7. Giving up or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of benzodiazepine use.
  8. Using benzodiazepines in physically hazardous situations.
  9. Continuing benzodiazepine use despite being aware of resulting physical or psychological problems.
  10. Developing tolerance, requiring increased amounts of benzodiazepines for the same effect.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when reducing or stopping benzodiazepine use, leading to continued use for relief.

Benzodiazepines Addiction Treatment

Benzodiazepine addiction treatment usually involves a combination of therapy, medication, and support services.

Medically-assisted detoxification

Managed withdrawal under the supervision of a medical professional to minimize withdrawal symptoms and ensure safety.

Therapy and counseling

Various forms of therapy, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or contingency management, can help people better understand and manage addiction triggers and develop coping strategies.

Support groups

Participating in support groups or group therapy can provide a sense of community and encouragement throughout the recovery process.

MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

Some cases may benefit from medications that help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, although this must be carefully monitored and administered by a medical professional.

Aftercare programs

Continued support through aftercare programs, such as outpatient therapy and relapse prevention strategies, can help maintain long-term recovery.

Treatment plans should be tailored to individual needs and may vary depending on the severity of the addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions. Accessing professional help and guidance is crucial for successful recovery from benzodiazepine addiction.

An amazing view of Cincinnati, Ohio where Ohio Recovery Centers in located and treatment for benzodiazepines addiction is available

Get Treatment for Benzodiazepines Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

We specialize in treating prescription drug addiction in an outpatient setting at Ohio Recovery Centers. This allows you to fulfill your everyday obligations while engaging with treatment for benzo addiction. If you need more support and structure than a traditional outpatient program offers, consider our IOP (intensive outpatient program). All treatment programs at our Cincinnati treatment facility provide a customized blend of holistic and science-based therapies, as well as a comprehensive aftercare plan. Call 877-679-2132 and move beyond benzodiazepine addiction.

Table of Contents

an image of author Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn