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The Signs and Symptoms of Benzos Use
Benzo addiction can be difficult to spot at first. Generally speaking, the signs of abuse can easily mimic the side effects of regular use. The difference comes when the user needs to up their dosage as their body begins to grow tolerant to the drug. This causes side effects and the symptoms of the use to be more severe.
- Slowed reflexes
- Cognitive impairment
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Respiratory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory impairment
Mental and behavioral benzos use signs include:
- Sudden changes in mood or behaviors
- A decline in performance at work or school, or being absent frequently
- Problems within the family, such as neglect or abusive behaviors
- A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Commonly speaking about benzos or asking for benzos
- A decline in socialization
- Frequent accidents
- An increase in drinking
- Poor judgment and risk-taking behaviors
- Suicidal thoughts or actions, including self-harming
- Talking about reducing their use of benzos but not doing so
- Exhibiting withdrawal signs when unable to take the medication
While all medications have side effects to some degree, side effects caused by this drug can be especially problematic. Benzos are designed only to be used in the short-term, in most cases four weeks or less. In most cases doctors tend to favor benzos because often the good outweighs the bad. However, misuse is easy and common and side effects can become debilitating quickly both in the short and the long-term.
Short-Term Side Effects
Benzos are typically fast-acting medications that last only for a few hours. This means there’s a high dose of medication flooding your system all at once. This results in a hangover like feeling often causing the patient to be sluggish, drowsy and accompanied by headaches and nausea. The more often this drug is used by a patient, the more likely and more often these symptoms will manifest. A few of these side effects are:
- Lack of coordination
- Blurry vision
- Memory issues
- Incoherent speech
- Bowel troubles
- Loss of appetite
- Shallow breathing
- Mood changes
- Slowed reflexes
Long-term Side Effects
Benzos used for a month or longer can typically start to cause long-term symptoms in patients. When short-term side effects start to worsen over a number of weeks, that is the first sign that long-term side effects are on their way. Soon physical and mental dependence on the drug starts to take form. Longer term effects are:
- Permanent memory impairment
- Changes in sensory perceptions
- Decreased processing speed
- Reduced learning ability
- Increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Specific risks to the elderly in regards to decreased motor skills and accidents
Benzo overdose often happens when too much of the medication is introduced into the patient’s system or it’s mixed with other drugs or even alcohol. This can create a very dangerous blend of controlled substances in the body.
Recovery from addiction is not a one-time process. It’s a lifelong journey for the addict and their loved ones. By knowing and understanding some of the obstacles that are most commonly faced throughout the journey, the support system the recovering addict has built can assist them in living a sober, cleaner life.
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