Tranquilizers refer to a unique class of drugs that reduce your brain activity, making you feel calm and relaxed. They are mainly used to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders. Physicians also use tranquilizers as general anesthetics during surgeries. In some cases, these drugs can also be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms in clients battling alcohol addiction.
Tranquilizers are also called sleeping pills, relaxants, sedatives, or downers. The street name for tranquilizers are benzos or tranx. Tranquilizers induce a state of calmness by altering the normal functioning of the central nervous system. They modify neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), making them overwork. The GABA neurotransmitter helps in maintaining the normal functioning of the brain.
Categories of Tranquilizers
The term tranquilizer is a broad term that can be divided into two main categories: minor and major tranquilizers. The minor tranquilizers are categorized as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are primarily used when treating alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasms, and anxiety disorders. Examples of benzodiazepines include Valium and Xanax.
Major tranquilizers are also known as antipsychotics or barbiturates and are often used in psychiatric hospitals to treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia. The main difference between these two categories is that minor tranquilizers can produce excitement and calm, unlike major tranquilizers. Examples of major tranquilizers include Navane, Prolixin, and Mellaril.
The abuse of psychotherapeutic drugs has been on the rise. Research shows that more than 120 million people are using these drugs in the United States. Sadly, it is only 20 million of these people who have a prescription for these drugs.
Everyone can be at risk of tranquilizer addiction. Research shows that more than half of the United States population is currently using prescription medications, including sedatives and tranquilizers. Statistics also show that about one out of four people had a prescription for tranquilizer drugs, but they still abused them by taking them in excess.
A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has revealed that tranquilizers have contributed to one-third of the total drug-related cases in the United States. These statistics show that there is a severe tranquilizer epidemic in the United States. Similarly, the results of the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that about 2.4% of the total population (6.4 million) abused tranquilizers.
The sale and production of tranquilizers are highly controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration since they can cause addiction. The production and use of these drugs out of the set regulations is a punishable federal offense.
What Are the Causes of Tranquilizer Addiction?
There are various factors that can cause tranquilizer abuse. These drugs slow down the brain’s normal functioning, and those prescribed to use them may desire to use them more often. Individuals using these drugs can develop tolerance towards them after increased doses and continuous use. This can also prompt them to use the drugs more often, even when they don’t have a prescription.
Most people use tranquilizers when they want to escape from physical and emotional pain temporarily. The repeated use of these drugs for recreational purposes can trap an individual in an addiction. You should seek medical help to prevent the adverse effects of tranquilizer addiction.
History of trauma and addiction can also be a significant cause of addiction to an individual. Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder are at high risk of abusing tranquilizers since they can repeatedly use the drugs to relieve anxiety. An individual with a history of using alcohol or other drugs is also at risk of abusing tranquilizers.
Individuals suffering from mental health conditions are prone to abuse tranquilizers to relieve pain or stress. Environmental factors such as peer pressure can also lead to addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Tranquilizer Addiction
There are various signs and symptoms of tranquilizer addiction that you should look out for in an individual or loved one, including:
- Confusion and memory loss
- Increased heartbeat
- Depressed breathing
- Lack of concentration
- Loss of coordination
Effects of Tranquilizers
There are various ways in which tranquilizer abuse can affect your life. Tranquilizer addiction can affect you physically, psychologically, and socially. Abuse of tranquilizers can have detrimental effects on your body since it affects your normal mechanisms. Furthermore, tranquilizer addiction can be costly since it also affects other aspects of your life, such as your career and financial duties.
Physical Side Effects
The following are the various physical effects of tranquilizer addiction:
- Cardiac arrest
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Gastrointestinal distress
Mental Side Effects
Tranquilizer addiction affects the mental wellbeing of an individual. Various psychological effects include:
- Paranoia attacks
- Mood disorders
- Personality change
Social Side Effects
Repeated use of tranquilizers can affect your social life. Individuals who abuse tranquilizers may experience challenges socializing. The following are some social effects that you should look out for if you believe that your friend or loved one is abusing drugs:
- Isolation from friends and family
- Poor relationship with friends or relatives
Treatment for Tranquilizer Addiction
The treatment options for tranquilizers may be challenging compared to other drugs. This is because the immediate cessation of tranquilizers such as benzodiazepines can result in seizures and other life-threatening complications. Therefore, we recommend reducing the dose gradually as the client progresses with treatment.
The treatment duration of the client is dependant on how he or she tolerates the initial doses. Most studies have not specified the withdrawal period of a client. However, experts recommend a withdrawal period of at least 12 weeks so that the client can successfully abstain from tranquilizers.
This can complicate the issues more since most rehab programs take less time. This complication may prompt tranquilizer addicts to go for self-detoxification, which takes less time, or opt for maintenance therapy. The most efficient and effective treatment for tranquilizer addiction, however, is medical detox followed by rehabilitation.
A successful rehab process begins with medical detox. A drug detox process depends on how the client reacts to medications. The objective of the detox program is to remove the tranquilizers from the body and prevent symptoms and cravings for the drugs. This is provided for the client in a safe environment.
Medical detox entails the use of prescribed medications, which is done under trained medical personnel supervision. At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer a wide variety of detox medications to clients that require medical interventions. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Certain withdrawal symptoms may occur during a medical detox. These symptoms include:
Tranquilizer Addiction Rehabilitation
Upon successfully completing detox, the client then enters into a rehabilitation program. Rehab helps the client to understand why tranquilizers are harmful to their health. The client can enter into outpatient or inpatient rehab programs. Experts recommend inpatient rehab programs because the client resides at the hospital throughout the process. At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer an inpatient drug program for both women and men who are addicted to tranquilizers. We provide 24-hour support that will ensure that you remain sober.
Types of Therapy Available
Clients in treatment for tranquilizer abuse are encouraged participate in therapies such as family, alternate, individual, and group therapy during this time. At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer the following types of therapy:
- Individual therapy entails working closely with a therapist. This allows you to learn about tranquilizers and their effects.
- Group therapy is different from individual therapy since you interact with other people who are battling addiction. This helps you to learn more from them as they learn from you. Alternate therapy entails the use of arts or music to help you heal.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based clinical modality employed to help clients identify the emotional triggers for their negative behavior and teach them to develop positive responses to those triggers.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a skill-building psychotherapy that focuses on the development of mindfulness and the regulation of stress response, as it impacts behavior. We introduce coping mechanisms allowing clients to adopt this way of “re-thinking” their stress response and learn to manage the compulsory thoughts that fuel their substance use.
- Trauma Therapy is a type of therapy that can give you new ways to cope with the stress you continue to experience from past traumas.
- Grief/Loss Therapy is an effective clinical intervention that is informed by cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal work with a client. It is utilized when a client has had a prolonged and all-consuming relationship with his or her grief.
Granite Recovery Centers
At Granite Recovery Centers, we approach outpatient drug treatment with a lot of expertise and insight. The program uses the R.E.S.T model, which is a comprehensive curriculum that is based on the 12-steps approach. The program also provides group workshops and therapy.
Do you have an addiction to tranquilizers? Contact us today and let us help you in your journey to sobriety. Our compassionate and caring team is eager to help you. We take a customized approach to substance use disorder treatment and have a program that will fit your needs. While dealing with an addiction is difficult, there is hope. You can learn to live free of alcohol and drugs and get on the path to a healthier, happier life.