Anxiety is the number one most common mental health illness that plagues American’s every year, and it is estimated that the disorder plagues 40 million people. While the disorder is highly treatable, only an estimated 36.9 percent of those affected receive the help they need. Those who live with anxiety are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those not suffering from anxiety disorders. Everyone deals with anxiety at some point, and it is expected in life. The butterflies we feel before a test, the stress before a first date, this is natural in life, but for some, it extends further than that and can take control of their whole life.
For someone dealing with an anxiety disorder, it involves more than temporary worry or fear. The anxiety does not go away and over time can get much worse. This is what drugs such as Oxazepam were designed for and in many cases, have delivered lives back in ways they once thought impossible. Anxiety can disrupt daily routines such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are many different types including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and many other phobia-related disorders.
The individuals who live with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) will show excessive signs of anxiety and worry most days for a minimum of six months. Panic attacks can disrupt simple parts of life that we take for granted such as personal health, the ability to work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances and take away someone’s ability to live their lives. Being paralyzed by anxiety is something that we cannot empathize with unless it has happened to us. It is not a surprise that when someone finds a solution in the form of a pill that they can end up abusing it.
Taking drugs like Oxazepam for anxiety problems can be a slippery slope and a one-way ticket on the road to addiction. Benzodiazepines are one of the more dangerous prescription drugs, and medical professionals have even hinted at a possibility we go through a benzo epidemic similar to what we are dealing with currently from opioid abuse. With such dangers involved, is using a drug like Oxazepam worth the adverse side effects that could be included? Continue reading to learn more about Oxazepam and if the benefits outweigh the risks.
What is Oxazepam
Oxazepam is a potent benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. It does this by interacting with the natural chemicals in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid, or GABA. It works similarly to other benzos in that it attaches to GABA receptors to regular excitability in the brain and calms you down when you need to sleep, or when someone is going through a panic attack. Those who deal with anxiety and sleep disorders may have a problem in their neurochemistry that makes excitability challenging to control.
Oxazepam works by attaching to a different binding site on the GABA receptor and increasing the efficacy of the chemical.
When the drug is used for too long or excessively, the brain has the potential to acclimate to the unknown compound, causing it to rely on the medication rather than producing its natural effects.
Due to the potential of adverse effects, the drug is recommended only for short-term use. Using benzos longer than two to four weeks can increase the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.
What are the Signs of Oxazepam Addiction
There is a common misconception that drugs prescribed by doctors are much safer, but the attitude behind this must change. It is just not true, and there are many risk factors when it comes to Oxazepam. The use of benzos can lead to addiction, withdrawal, and overdose that leads to death. A substance use disorder that involves Oxazepam, though, usually comes with warning signs and symptoms that are distinguishable when these signs are known.
The first stage of a substance use disorder involving Oxazepam is a growing tolerance. A tolerance occurs as the brain begins to adjust to a substance and attempts to balance the brain chemistry. The nervous system may even start to counteract the drug. This will feel like the standard dose is starting to get weaker, and you may need to increase it to achieve the initial effects. By doing so, this can lead to physical dependence.
Dependence occurs when the brain is not only used to the drug, but it starts relying on it for normal functions. Sudden cessation or cutting back at this point could lead to withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Memory issues
- Delirium Tremens
Withdrawal symptoms associated with Oxazepam can be deadly if they are left untreated. If you or a loved one has become dependent on benzos and you want to quit, you must first speak to a medical professional to weigh your options.
The final stage of a substance use disorder is an addiction. Addiction is characterized as the compulsive use of a drug despite severe consequences even when they are directly related. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that is difficult to stop on your own but can be treated with the right therapies.
What is Involved in Oxazepam Addiction Treatment
Substance abuse treatment is designed to treat all areas of what causes addiction. This means changing behaviors through therapy, getting to the root of why you started, and how to heal all facets of your life. Once someone has reached this point in their lives, they need as much help as they can get. They require customized care that is tailored to their specific needs. Addiction is dangerous to treat on your own, and a benzo addiction means you must begin at the most intensive portion of care.
Addiction treatment will begin in a medical detoxification center that is designed to help the former user get off the drug safely. The environment provides 24-hour supervision meant to mitigate any risks involved with detoxing from benzos. This is one of the most critical steps in the continuum of care for someone getting off benzos. The side effects of withdrawal from Oxazepam can be severe and include seizures or delirium tremens. You may be given medications by the addiction specialists to alleviate symptoms and make the process more tolerable.
When you are admitted to detox, the team will have assessed you to see if there are underlying medical conditions. They could give a dual-diagnosis at this time, but they will begin determining the next level of care best suited to your current needs. The evaluation could mean a few different outcomes.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, you could be placed in a residential treatment facility that has you living on-site for up to 90 days. In the event the team sees you as a lower risk, you could end up in an outpatient facility that allows you to go home upon completion of therapies. No matter where the team decides to place you, there will be many types of therapy that take place. These will include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
The therapies are all designed to get to the root of the addiction and help you better understand why you began using in the first place. The purpose is for long-term sobriety and develops new behaviors.
Oxazepam Abuse Statistics
- In 2013, 13.5 million benzodiazepine prescriptions were filled, a 67% increase from 1996
- Overdose death rates are 10 times higher when both opioids and benzodiazepines are involved.
- 30% of opioid overdoses also involved benzodiazepines