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Anti-Anxiety Drug Addiction

What Is It?

Anti-anxiety medications work to stop anxiety. They do this by increasing the amount of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. The chemicals include serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals are related to feelings of happiness, calm and pleasure. By increasing the concentration of chemicals, mood can improve and anxiety can be controlled. While this does not address the root causes of anxiety, it does provide temporary relief. This class of drugs is commonly abused.


The most common types of anti-anxiety drugs are a group of sedatives called benzodiazepines. These include alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan). These prescription drugs are typically prescribed for very short periods of time to treat anxiety. Longer-term use can be habit-forming and comes with a number of side effects. 

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Help Me Stop’s prescription drug addiction treatment programmes are provided at approximately one-tenth of the cost of traditional residential treatment programmes. Our tailored programmes fit your job and can be tailored to suit other needs such as work and being with your family and loved ones. It should, however, be noted we do not do detoxes, although we can signpost to appropriate providers of these pending our assessment of you and your situation.


Benzodiazepines bind with receptors in the brand called GABA receptors. This slows down brain function to more normal levels which can relieve stress and anxiety. When abused these drugs can produce a euphoric high or a feeling like being drunk. This can be very dangerous because misusing benzos can lead to seizures or a coma. Because the drugs affect brain function, they can slow down a user’s breathing or heart rate to the point where they die. 

Symptoms Of Abuse

  • Weakness
  • Feeling tired or sleepy
  • Blurred vision
  • Blackouts 
  • Increased tolerance to anti-anxiety medication
  • Mood swings
  • Poor coordination
  • Visiting several doctors to get more pills
  • Mixing medications
  • Bad judgement

Symptoms Of Withdrawal

When someone becomes dependent on anti-anxiety medications, there is actually a change in their brains chemistry. The drugs can build up in a users body. Many addicts will also mix their medication with alcohol to increase the effects. When someone becomes addicted to benzos and then decides to quit, they can experience severe and even deadly withdrawal symptoms. Suddenly the chemicals a users brain has come to rely on are gone and it struggles to maintain basic body functions. Withdrawal can include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia 
  • Depression
  • Racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory failure
  • Confusion
  • Stomach pain 
  • Shaking

Getting Help

Anti-anxiety medication abuse can become a problem for anyone. Often it starts from a prescription for a legitimate anxiety disorder and slowly grows before the user understand they have a problem. At Help Me Stop, we have experience dealing with anti-anxiety drug addiction. Our counsellors can help you break your physical addiction and address the underlying causes of your issues. With their help, you can get your life back while improving your health and wellbeing. Call us today to learn more.