Experts estimate that as many as 18 percent of Americans have misused medications such as benzodiazepines at some point in their lives. You may have suspected for some time that your loved one is abusing Xanax or other benzodiazepines, but how can you know for sure? Use the following signs of benzodiazepine abuse to decide whether or not your loved one has a problem. If they do, the next step is helping them find a drug and alcohol detox center to get them clean.
1. Your Loved One Goes to a Provider That Sells Prescriptions
Many people fuel their benzodiazepine abuse habit with prescriptions from their medical doctor. While benzos do have legitimate medical uses, when a person takes more than prescribed, it is abuse. To get more than the recommended dose, your loved one might go to a doctor that will sell them a prescription illegally.
2. Your Loved One Gets Multiple Prescriptions
They might also shop around to various doctors to get multiple prescriptions at once. People who do this and get the same prescription from two different pharmacies within a seven-day period are 5.2 times more likely to take a higher dose of benzos than other users.
3. Your Loved One Is Showing Side Effects
Drugs like Xanax do have side effects even when used normally. However, for someone abusing the drug, these side effects can be more pronounced. Be on the lookout for:
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Changes in weight.
- Being overly tired.
- Joint pain.
4. Your Loved One Has Withdrawal Symptoms
Suppose your loved one takes benzos at a certain time very day. If they are dependent and they skip a dose, they will start showing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Tremors of the hand.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Psychomotor agitation.
- Grand mal seizures.
- Trouble sleeping.
Your loved one might mention these symptoms and how taking a dose of benzos makes them go away.
5. Your Loved One Is Taking Other Drugs
Studies show that many people who abuse benzodiazepines also abuse other drugs. For example, 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids were also linked to benzodiazepine use. Other research shows that 54.2 of those who use benzodiazepines report also using opioids, while 24.7 report also using alcohol.
6. Your Loved One Is Having Problems at Work or School
When someone abuses benzos, it becomes extremely hard to focus well at work or school. Their performance might begin to slip, and they could miss an important deadline for an assignment. They might get reprimanded by their boss or teacher for their behavior and lack of motivation and concentration.
7. Your Loved One Has Given Up Their Hobbies
Did you loved one used to love playing sports or going out to happy hour, but has since cut back on these recreational pursuits? If so, this is a major sign of benzo abuse. Rather than spend time with others and have fun, they’d prefer to stay at home and concentrate on the effects of their drug use.
If your loved one has any of these signs, it’s best to have a talk with them about their benzodiazepine or Xanax use. Bring up the idea of drug detox to help them get free from the drug’s influence, then recommend drug rehab to help them with the other aspects of their addiction. In a drug and alcohol rehab, your loved one can receive therapy and medication to help them alter the behaviors that led to their initial benzo abuse.