Sedatives are prescribed by doctors to help treat mental health disorders such as anxiety and insomnia.
Sedatives work by slowing down your brain activity, causing the release of gamma-aminobutyric acid and relaxed, sometimes euphoric effects.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists Xanax and other sedatives as Schedule IV controlled substances, and addiction to sedatives occurs when people begin to overuse or abuse them. Some people become addicted to sedatives without even realizing it. Abuse quickly turns into an addiction, without people even realizing it.
Addiction & Sedatives
Dependency can turn into addiction when people start taking more than prescribed to achieve an effect. Increased tolerance to a sedative or the need to take more to experience its normal effects are signs of dependence. Those who are prescribed sedatives can become addicted to their prescriptions before they even recognize dependence.
Many people start out taking a sedative as prescribed by a doctor. Unfortunately, their tolerance builds and they become addicted. They then begin to take other drugs in combination, which compounds their risks of side effects or overdose.
Sedatives: Signs of Addiction
Sedative use becomes an addiction when you cannot stop taking them. If you constantly crave more despite taking a regular dose, you may be building an addiction to them. You may also experience withdrawal symptoms which are troubling signs.
Withdrawal symptoms are negative physical and mental symptoms people experience when they stop taking a drug. If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking sedatives, you are likely already dependent or addicted to sedatives.
Sedatives: common withdrawal symptoms from these drugs include:
- Depression symptoms
Other signs you may be addicted to sedatives include the inability to meet your responsibilities and the loss of friendships or relationships due to sedative use.
If you are addicted, it is a top priority that you be careful. Sedative withdrawal symptoms are of the most severe kind and can cause seizures and other life-threatening side effects.
Health Effects Of Sedative Addiction
Sedative addiction comes with its own list of potential health concerns. Many people report increased depression and anxiety. They find they cannot function without it. Short-term effects of sedative use include:
- Stomach pain
- Impaired attention
Long-term sedative use can also result in memory problems, liver dysfunction (and failure), as well as feelings of hopelessness. Many people suffer from further mental illness due to struggling with a substance abuse problem combined with a mental health diagnosis. These two problems only feed one another and perpetuate negative results.
Sedative overdose is also a concern. As an individual’s tolerance to sedatives grows, they need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect. This can increase the risk of overdose. Combining drugs like alcohol or opiates with sedatives also plays a role in increasing dangers.
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Dangers of Stopping Sedatives
Stopping these drugs should be treated with the utmost caution. Mild symptoms can include insomnia, restlessness, sweating, and chills, along with a list of other mental and physical side effects. Withdrawal symptoms from sedatives are considered to be on par with alcohol in terms of danger to the individual.
The dangers associated with stopping require a medical environment for detox. A medically supervised environment and medication-assisted detox make coming off sedatives more comfortable and safer.
Treat Sedative Addiction at The Recovery Team
Sedative addiction is a serious problem that only becomes more difficult to handle as the addiction progresses. Mental illnesses become exacerbated when stopping, and continued use wreaks havoc on the body. The withdrawal symptoms include seizures which can be extremely dangerous.
For treatment, individualized treatment according to evidence-based practices helps in times of personal and medical emergencies associated with sedative addiction.
At our recovery center, rehab center, and treatment facilities—you’ll find the personal drug rehab treatment plans you need to overcome addiction to sedatives through individual therapy, group sessions, and many levels of care:
- Inpatient Residential
- Partial Hospitalization
- Intensive Outpatient
- Ongoing Outpatient
- Transitional Living
If you or a loved one is struggling with a sedative addiction, we are here to help. We have a comprehensive treatment program that is focused on each patient’s unique needs.