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Posted on March 27th, 2018

Xanax and Valium: Giving rise to an epidemic

Xanax and Valium: Giving rise to an epidemic

Steve had started taking Xanax with his friends to get a high and witness adrenaline rushing through his veins. The best part was that he could experience this excitement at a low price and at times for free. It wasn’t too long when he started using it on a regular basis. He had to take time off work to get off it. He did not know he was addicted to Xanax, so when he went off it for four days and nights, he was bedridden. He couldn’t eat or sleep. He had hallucinations. Without Xanax, he became uncoordinated and unbalanced, always bumping into things. What started out as fun soon became life-threatening for Steve.

Steve is not the only person for whom prescription drugs like benzodiazepines turned out to be unsafe, often perceived otherwise. Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium have been abused so much that the number of overdose deaths due to them has multiplied sevenfold from 1,135 to a massive 8,791 deaths between 1999 and 2015. Amidst the opioid epidemic that has gripped the entire nation, the common populace is increasingly abusing prescription drugs like benzodiazepines that are easily available and dirt cheap. Though used primarily for treating anxiety, they inflict problems like depression, addiction, drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, etc.

Gravity of the situation

Besides anxiety, benzodiazepines are medically prescribed to individuals suffering from insomnia and seizures. Their work is to calm down a person or sedate them. Some of the common benzodiazepines include diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), among others. Ideally, these drugs are prescribed to patients by clinicians or medical practitioners.

They prove lethal only when these drugs are used non-medically, i.e. without prescriptions. There are also times when people taking benzodiazepines as per the prescription get addicted to them. As a result, instead of taking care of the root issue, they inflict the problem of addiction. Therefore, it becomes important that benzodiazepines are used for short durations.

Overall, benzodiazepines saw a whopping 67 percent jump in the prescription rate between 1996 and 2013. The amount of  benzodiazepines prescribed increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. A large number of people have used such medications for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime. Statistically, around 15 million people in America abuse prescription drugs, far more than the combined number of people abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and heroin.

Therefore, health care providers in such situations ought to check the prescription history before issuing benzodiazepines to patients to detect any kind of suspicious trends in their drug consumption. Additionally, medical practitioners should ensure that they inform their patients about the implications of abusing and selling prescription drugs without any prescription.

When combined with opioids, benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium can turn out to be fatal by increasing the risk of an overdose. Since benzos enhance the effects of opioids, there is a higher chance of abusing this combination of drugs. Both these drugs suppress breathing  and impair cognitive functions.

According to a study undertaken from 2001 to 2013 of almost 315,428 privately insured patients receiving opioid prescriptions, the percentage of people also prescribed benzodiazepines increased from 9 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2013. The study also revealed that people who used both drugs were at a higher risk of suffering from a drug-related emergency.

Looking for a way out

Despite the above-mentioned repercussions, Xanax and Valium are still commonly prescribed due to their effectiveness in treating anxiety and other problems. Moreover, the common belief among people that these drugs are safe to consume makes them assume that they have no potential for abuse or addiction. Once a person develops dependence on Xanax or Valium, they users to seek it out illegitimately for nonmedical use.

It is essential to seek treatment upon identifying the signs of addiction to drugs like benzodiazepines. The stepping stone toward long-term recovery from drug abuse is detoxification, which expunges all stored toxins from the body. After going through the detoxification procedure successfully, the chances of completing other levels of treatment increases.

If you or someone you know is addicted to any form of drugs, contact the NTR/NAD Detox of Arizona for help. Call us at our 24/7 detox helpline 866-593-8453 or chat online with one of our experts to know the complete details about the state-of-the-art detox treatment centers in Arizona.