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Prescription Pill Overdoses Increased with Benzos

Prescription Pill Overdoses - The Bergand Group

Have you ever heard of benzodiazepines? Likely not, particularly if you aren’t in the medical field. However, this “class of central nervous system depressants” includes some names that may be familiar, such as Xanax and Valium, and they are spelling out big trouble these days in terms of prescription pill overdoses.

The Continued Tragedy of Prescription Pill Overdoses

“These drugs, commonly prescribed in their generic form, are typically used to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizures.” However, the number of prescriptions that have been written for these benzodiazepines lately has gone through the roof, with three times more being written between the years 1996-2013 and four times the amount of prescription pill overdoses in this same period. “Benzos,” as they are called, are increasingly prevalent in the U.S. despite widespread misinformation about their use.

While these pills are taking for a variety of reasons, the primary ones are for easing anxiety and/or encouraging sleep. However, their effects have been moderate at best and, professionals report, they aren’t typically meant to be taking over a long period of time. In fact, over time, patients report that they do the opposite and generate more anxiety than before.

Perhaps the most dangerous fact of all, and what leads to so many of these prescription pill overdoses, is that “tolerance and dependence can develop quickly” when it comes to benzos. Those who try to cut themselves off may face intense symptoms of withdrawal which are stronger depending on how long the pills have been taken, and in what concentration. On top of that, many people are said to misuse the benzos, “taking higher-than-prescribed doses or mixing the pills with alcohol or other drugs,” and more. Clearly, this is an incredibly serious situation that hasn’t come to light as a result of all the other drug-related issues within the country at present.

One such other issue, of course, is the rampant addiction to opioids. Unfortunately, many doctors are prescribing opiates at the same time as benzodiazepines, which is a combination that health professionals have warned against. Despite that, patients often take both at the same time, and this double dosage is often what leads to these tragic prescription pill overdoses. “In 30 percent of opioid-related deaths, a combination of benzos and opioids caused the overdose.” Therefore, it can’t be ignored that these drugs are correlated in their usage, and enormous changes have to be made – and fast – to prevent more people from suffering or losing their lives. Then there is the added problem of alcohol, which, in addition to both benzos and opioids, “slow down body systems, particularly the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.”

So, who is at fault for this situation? It’s difficult to point fingers in such serious conditions, but we have to wonder why doctors, knowing the risks, would write prescriptions for both painkillers and benzos at the same time. Many might feel as if they are compelled to offer something concrete, like a prescription, for patients who demand a quick ‘solution.’ “The physician wants to help the patient but doesn’t have sufficient time to explore underlying causes, medication interactions or alternative treatments.” Unfortunately, these are only a few of the possible reasons, but something has to be done before the prescription pill overdoses continue to increase in occurrence.

If you’re looking for long-term aid for addiction to pills of any kind, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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