What Does an Addiction to Alcohol and Benzos Look Like?

What Does an Addiction to Alcohol and Benzos Look Like?

Alcohol has been a part of human society for thousands of years, as has alcohol abuse and addiction. Drinking releases dopamine into the brain, which gives people a sense of euphoria and comfort that reduces both physical and emotional pain. However, the body develops a tolerance for alcohol, which means that it takes larger and larger quantities for users to feel the desired effects. Ultimately, someone who drinks more than a couple of drinks per day or engages in periodic binge drinking will need alcohol in order function. He no longer feels the euphoria, only the onset of withdrawal symptoms (pain, flu-like symptoms, convulsions and tremors) if he stops drinking. Many alcoholics use additional medications to intensify the high they seek from alcohol or to fend off withdrawal symptoms when they cannot.

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are psychotropic drugs that were developed in the 1950s to treat insomnia, muscle spasms, seizures and anxiety disorders. These sedatives can be extremely effective when used exactly as prescribed for a short amount of time. Most users experience a mildly euphoric high when they first use benzos, but they develop a tolerance quickly that makes it incredibly difficult to get drunk on the same amount in the future. However, many people crave the high from drugs, so they take larger, more frequent doses of the drug. Ultimately, no amount of drugs will give people the high they seek, so they may turn to other substances, including alcohol, to achieve it.

Benzodiazepines significantly intensify the sedative and euphoric effects of alcohol. In fact, combining these two substances can be deadly. Both substances slow neurological activity, but, when taken together, they can slow heart rate, respiration and brain activity to the point of death. However, in most cases, they simply provide the addict with exactly the kind of high she seeks. Many addicts, without even knowing it, develop an addiction to both alcohol and benzodiazepines much faster than they would have become dependent upon either substance individually.

Symptoms of Benzo and Alcohol Addiction

The following symptoms of polysubstance dependence are common for  alcohol and benzodiazepine addicts:

  • Regular or constant thinking about securing and using these substances
  • Intentionally taking benzos while drinking to boost the buzz
  • Trying to stop using either or both substances but failing
  • The onset of physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms when not using
  • Personality changes
  • Defensiveness when approached or challenged about your substance abuse
  • Continued use despite negative relational, financial, legal or physical consequences
  • Increasing tolerance requiring larger or more frequent doses
  • Automatically associating substance abuse with “having a good time”
  • Onset of anxiety, panic or other emotional distress even while using the substances
  • Symptoms of physiological distress (skin, organs, pain and etc.)
  • Justifying your substance abuse or blaming others for your actions

The vast majority of people who struggle with benzodiazepine addiction also suffer from dependence on at least one other substance. Virtually all addicts of this type suffer from at least one co-occurring or underlying psychological disorder.

Recovery from Benzo and Alcohol Dependence

Overcoming benzodiazepine and alcohol addiction requires comprehensive physiological and psychological treatment for all of the various and complicated issues. Specialized treatment programs offer this kind of holistic therapy, but the following tools are some of the most common therapies for this type of addiction:

  • A careful and thorough diagnosis of all aspects of the patient’s mental and physical health
  • Personal counseling (of various types) that identifies and addresses the underlying emotional issues that drive the substance abuse
  • Education that informs and inspires addicts to understand what happens in the brain and body due to drug abuse
  • Support group gatherings for peer counseling and dynamics
  • Introduction to healthy and effective new emotional skills
  • Family and relationship counseling when appropriate
  • Art, athletic, adventure and other alternative therapies designed to provoke feelings of pleasure, increased self-esteem and emotional awareness
  • Relaxation skills (prayer, meditation or yoga)
  • Alternative healing techniques when appropriate (massage, acupuncture and etc.)
  • 12-step therapy
  • Preparation for life after rehab (aftercare)

These programs are offered in a wide range of settings, from urban areas to country retreats. They are respectful, comfortable and nurturing environments that help you find the physical and emotional healing that you need and deserve.

24 Hour Help for Benzodiazepine and Alcohol Dependence

If you would like more information about the nature of addiction to alcohol and benzos, then please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by with free, confidential advice about the most successful benzo-alcohol treatment programs in the world. Our staff can even help with insurance questions, financial assistance and other logistical support. There are no strings attached, because we are here for you. Addiction will destroy your life and cause deep pain for your loved ones. It leaves you miserable, alone and in constant trouble. Life is too short to spend another day trapped by this deadly disease, so let us help you find the freedom you crave. Call now for instant, professional support.