Anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) like Xanax and Valium are used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. Benzos are effective but only intended for short-term use. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, anti-anxiety medicines lose their therapeutic effects after 4 to 6 months of consistent use.
In some cases, benzodiazepines are the best solution. But, if you’ve already struggled with substance abuse or are at risk for becoming addicted, treating your anxiety with other medications and therapies is probably best. In fact, to avoid the need for drug rehab in Phoenix, your doctor may recommend an SSRI antidepressant instead.
Here is everything you need to know about anti-anxiety medications and how they can turn addictive.
Why are Anti-Anxiety Medications Prescribed?
Benzodiazepines are like tranquilizers. They are used to treat severe anxiety because they work quickly, typically bringing relief within the first 30 minutes. If you are struggling with a panic attack, taking Xanax can help manage the episode. Unfortunately, these medications come at a cost. They can be physically addictive and are not recommended for long-term Phoenix addiction treatment.
Anti-anxiety medications slow down the nervous system, which is what fights anxiety. They can also make you feel tired and sleepy, especially if you take a higher dose. Some people find that when they take Xanax or Ativan, they feel cloudy or uncoordinated. This feeling can last into the following day, affecting work or school.
The most common benzodiazepines prescribed for anxiety and insomnia are:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
Benzodiazepines May Worsen Depression
Another concern with benzodiazepines is that they can make depression worse. Because these medications cause people to be emotionally numb, they may not deal with their feelings and emotions in a healthy manner. As a result, depression can worsen and lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings. On their own, benzos do not create depression, but they can exacerbate a pre-existing condition and complicate drug treatment in Phoenix.
Signs of a Benzodiazepine Dependency
When taken regularly, anti-anxiety medications can quickly lead to physical tolerance, usually within a few weeks or months. To achieve the same effects, you’ll need to take more of the drug. And, if you stop taking the drug, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Increased anxiety
- Stomach pain
- Pounding heart
It is very dangerous to detox from benzodiazepines on your own. If you are dependent on anti-anxiety medications, start the recovery process today at Continuum Recovery Center. Our drug treatment centers in Phoenix provide multiple levels of care and can help you lead a full, vibrant life.
Geffen has been in the field for over 20 years, and has worked in every facet of substance abuse treatment. Using his own personal experience in recovery and the education he has learned while in the field, Geffen can relate and connect with clients in a way that promotes recovery, self love and the desire for clients to achieve the best for themselves. Geffen is licensed in Arizona as a substance abuse counselor and has an IC&RC certification, as well as a life coaching certification.