Benzodiazepine addiction is relatively common, particularly among individuals who have chronic pain conditions. It is estimated that between 1-20% of people with chronic pain become addicted to benzodiazepines. In addition, approximately 3-10% of people without a chronic pain condition also develop a dependence on the drug.
It is important to note that benzodiazepine addiction can happen quickly and often for those not using the drug as prescribed or for recreational purposes. Signs of addiction include tolerance development, withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped abruptly, craving, and an inability to control use despite knowledge of negative consequences. If you are concerned about your own use or someone else’s it is important to seek help from a medical professional right away.
Statistics Surrounding Benzo Addiction in the United States
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “One in five Americans living with a substance use disorder is dependent on benzodiazepines.” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also states that benzodiazepine misuse has been increasing since 1996, reaching its peak in 2011. Between 2012 and 2013, 6.7 million Americans started using benzodiazepines non-medically.
The Centers for Disease Control also reported that between 1999 and 2018, prescription drug overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines increased by eight times. In 2020 alone, over 4.8 million people over the age of 12 misused benzodiazepines. This number is concerning as it means more people are exposed to the potential addiction or other negative consequences of taking these drugs.
What Should I Do If a Loved One is Suffering From Benzo Addiction?
If you have a loved one who is suffering from benzodiazepine addiction it is important to seek treatment and support. Consider researching different treatment programs in your area that provide withdrawal management, psychotherapy, and other comprehensive addiction services. You can also reach out to local community organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Al-Anon for additional support.
Additionally, do not underestimate the importance of setting boundaries and having honest conversations with your loved one about their substance use disorder. It may seem difficult but these steps can help create an environment where recovery is possible. No matter what path you choose to help someone suffering from benzodiazepine addiction, remember that compassion and understanding are key components of successful recovery efforts.
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