Prescription Sedatives Dependency (Tranquilizers, Depressants)
What Are Sedatives?
Throughout medical history, doctors have relied on sedative drugs in order to aid relaxation, sleep, and pain management. From early bromides, to barbiturates, to benzodiazepines and modern opioids, sedatives have often been discovered to beget addiction and dependency when made broadly available. Sedative abuse is a serious problem in the United States, contributing to our nation’s opioid drug overdose epidemic and spanning all demographics and geographical borders. The term “sedatives,” which are sometimes called tranquilizers or central nervous system depressants, encompasses a broad range of modern prescription drugs, including benzodiazepines, barbiturates, anesthetics, and opioid narcotics.
What Is Sedative Dependency?
Prescription sedative drugs, particularly benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax, create physical addiction and dependence when taken for prolonged periods of time. This means that the person taking the sedative medication will need to take more and more of the drug in order to experience the euphoric sedentary effects they seek. Many sedative addictions begin with a prescription, with physical dependence occurring unintentionally; furthermore, statistics from 2002 to 2011 indicate that abusers of prescription drugs are most likely to acquire their medication from friends or family members.1 In this way, the casual approach that many people have adopted toward sharing sedative drugs has led inexorably to an increase in prescription sedatives dependence and abuse.
Signs & Symptoms
Like most addictive drug dependency, sedative abuse doesn’t typically become a problem overnight; it starts with one-time usage, eventually becoming a habit before morphing into a full-blown addiction. Some of the signs and signals of sedative abuse include:
- Sleepiness and drowsiness. Individuals who abuse sedatives tend to do so in search of the heavy, drowsy feeling that comes with sedation; as such, they will often exhibit signs of tiredness such as bleary eyes, slurred speech, and general disorientation.
- Decreased memory and concentration. Sedative abusers will often have difficulty focusing on detail-oriented tasks or problems, and may lose interest in activities part of the way through.
- Risky, drug-seeking behavior. As a drug-addicted individual seeks more and more of their drug in order to feel the effects, they will begin to exhibit risky behavior such as lying, borrowing, and stealing in order to fuel their fix.
Recovering From Sedative Abuse
Due to the way that sedatives interact with brain and body chemistry, it is inadvisable to undergo detoxification from sedative addiction without the assistance of medical professionals. Withdrawal from many sedative drugs can lead to seizures and other issues, which can be potentially deadly; this is why sedative recovery programs are designed with comfort, pain management, and medical supervision in mind. Patients are monitored and evaluated throughout the process of detox in order to give them the best possible chance at continued sobriety, while also mitigating the negative psychological impacts of sedative abuse and dependency. Following detox, outpatient recovery programs like the one at RECO Intensive aid in further recovery and continued sobriety for those suffering from sedative dependency.
If you or a loved one is currently in the grips of sedative dependency and recognize that it’s time for a change, contact the seasoned recovery professionals at RECO Intensive today to start your own personal journey of recovery and reclaim your life.