Many people come to be dependent on benzodiazpeines because a doctor prescribed and recommended them for anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, or another condition. Alas, the use of benzodiazepines often creates a new and distinct problem of psychological and physiological dependence. The phenomenon of benzodiazepine dependency is often poorly communicated by the prescribing physician, who may not be aware of the harms caused by this class of medication.
Only a minority of people suffering from a problem with benzodiazepines got into the situation via recreational or compulsive use. Thus we use the terminology “benzodiazepine dependence” or “benzodiazepine use disorder” to reflect that many people are not using benzos in an “addictive” fashion, yet cannot easily stop. But we can treat actual addiction as well.
When people try to stop using or wean off benzodiazepines, they often suffer from a variety of difficulties which may include:
- Recurrent and persistent anxiety
- Severe insomnia
- Panic attacks
- Neurologic symptoms
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood instability