Using medication to control the symptoms of anxiety can lead to drug dependence. Benzodiazepines are the most commonly-prescribed types of anti-anxiety medications. Some types of benzodiazepines include the following:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
Benzodiazepines work quickly. This makes them effective as regular treatment or when taken during a panic attack. Like other medications, benzodiazepines have side effects caused primarily by the reduction in brain activity the drugs produce. The most common benzodiazepine side effects include the following:
- Increased sleepiness
- Brain fog
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Appearance of being “drunk”
Benzodiazepines build up in the body when used over time which can result in over sedation, dependence, and addiction.
Symptoms of Drug Dependence
If you or a loved one use benzodiazepines to control the symptoms of anxiety, it is possible to become dependent on the drug to feel and function normally. This is especially true if the drug has been used for a long period of time. If you feel you are becoming dependent on your medication, look for these symptoms:
- Needing more of the drug to produce the same level of relief
- Needing more of the drug before the next dose is due
- Using the drug to induce sleep or as an “escape” from problems
- Feeling unsure of yourself without using the drug
- Unsteadiness/lack of coordination
- Amnesia or other memory problems
- Disturbing dreams
- Impaired judgment
- Reduced inhibitions
In addition to these symptoms, a person struggling with drug dependence may seem detached from life or the people around him. He may also have a lack of interest in things or people once important to him and may stop interacting with family and friends.
If you or a loved one uses anti-anxiety medication and notice any of these symptoms, it is time to talk to your doctor about changing your medication, reducing your dosage, or starting a tapering off regime to deal with your drug dependence.
Finding Help for Drug Addiction
Anti-anxiety medications are an important part of a treatment program to deal with anxiety or panic attacks. Using the drug for long periods of time or in ways other than prescribed by a physician can lead to drug dependence. If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, we are here to help you. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about addiction and help you find treatment. Call our toll-free helpline now.