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Is Dependence on Prescription Drugs Ruining Your Life or the Life of Someone you Know?

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Long term use of benzodiazepines can create many unwanted effects including poor memory and cognition, suppression of the emotions, depression and an increase in anxiety.

Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and it is quite possible to become dependent if it is taken for more than 4 weeks, after which withdrawal symptoms at some level will be experienced if the medication ceases suddenly, these can include:

• Perceptual disturbance
• Distorted sense of movement
• De-personalisastion
• Hallucinations - visual and auditory
• Misperceptions
• Distortion of body image
• Tingling and numbness
• Altered sensation
• Sensory hypersensitivity (light, sound, taste, smell)
• Muscle twitches and jerks
• Confusion, delirium and fits can occur as a result of sudden withdrawal

There are estimates that approximately 1.5 million people in the UK are affected by addiction to benzodiazepines which include:

Ativan, Chlordiazepoxide, Diazepam, Lorazolam, Oxazepam, Mogadon Nitrazepam, Temazepam, Zopiclone and Zolpadem.

Usually people who have become dependent on benzodiazepines will have experienced some of the following:

• Benzodiazepines have been taken in prescribed ‘therapeutic' doses (usually low) for months or years
• A gradual ‘need' to take the drug in order to carry out normal day to day activities.
• Continuing to take benzodiazepines although the original reason for the prescription has disappeared
• It becomes difficult to stop taking the drug or reducing dosage because of withdrawal symptoms between doses or craving the next dose.
• If taking short-acting medication, anxiety symptoms can develop between doses or cravings for the next dose.
• It can become difficult to stop taking the drug or reducing dosage because of withdrawal symptoms between doses or cravings for the next dose.
• The GP is contacted regularly to obtain repeat prescriptions
• Anxiety is experienced if the next prescription is not readily available
• Medication may be carried around so that extra doses can be taken if anything stressful is likely to occur.
• The dosage may have increased since the original prescription
• Anxiety symptoms, panic, agoraphobia, insomnia, depression and physical symptoms can be experienced despite continuing to take benzodiazepines.

Dependence or addiction can be defined as a compulsive pattern characterised by continued craving or need to use a drug for mood alteration or psychological effect.

The socio-economic consequences of long term use can include:

• Increased risk of accident
• Fatalities
• Increase in aggression
• Risk of theft, shoplifting and other anti social behaviour
• Marital/domestic breakdown
• Job loss or prospects reduced
• The potential for dependence and/or abuse

If you feel that you or someone you know needs help to gradually reduce their use of this drug, we can offer a full advice and treatment programme which will include:

Medical assessment
Medically supervised reducing regime
Group therapy
1 - 1 counselling
Aftercare
Family Programme

Start making changes in your life today - for Benzodiazepine Help, contact The Linwood Group

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Call now on 0800 066 4173 for advice in complete confidentiality or use our online enquiry form. Alternatively if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call 01226 698 054.

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