Benzodiazepines (benzos) and opiates are the most frequently prescribed medications in the country, and they are also among the most commonly abused drugs. Both have the ability to reduce pain and anxiety in those who suffer from acute or chronic illnesses, and each have a high potential of abuse, misuse, and overdose when they’re taken recreationally and in small doses.
While opiates and benzos function differently, they both have similar effects in depressing the nervous system. Combined, these drugs enhance one another’s individual effects, leading to a potential loss of consciousness and fatal respiratory depression.
Understanding what benzos and opiates are and how they’re deadly together is key to finding the right rehabilitation treatment.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzos are a class of prescription medications that can slow or depress the central nervous system, and are often used to treat anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia; they’re also referred as sedatives and tranquilizers. They also increase gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a nerve-calming neurotransmitter, which controls muscle tension and can induce a sleep-like state. These medications slow brain activity, producing a calming effect. Medications such as Xanax and Valium are the most commonly prescribed benzos. People often use benzos to enhance the effects of using opiates.
Benzos can also cause short-term memory loss and the user may end up taking more without knowing it, and the effects of benzos are similar to the effects of drinking alcohol, including poor judgment, slurred speech, confusion, and altered vision. An overdose on benzos alone can cause more severe symptoms, including slowed breathing, nausea and vomiting, and even coma.
What Are Opiates?
Opiates are a synthetic medication that can be used to alleviate pain. Some of the most common opiates include heroin, Vicodin, codeine, and morphine. They work by binding with opioid receptors to alter the threshold for pain. A common side effect is the relaxation of smooth muscle tissue and drowsiness, but opiates are often abused and taken for the sense of euphoria they provide since they affect areas of the brain that can regulate emotion. In the past, opiates have been prescribed as a pain reliever and can be effective in treating pain, but they still have a dark side.
Mixing Benzos And Opiates
Benzos and opiates together can be extremely harmful because of their effect on the body. While opiates produce the feeling of pleasure, benzos slow you down into a calming effect. When taken together, these effects are amplified in addition to the increased risk of some serious side effects, including heart failure, addiction, coma, and possibly death. Heavy users are unaware of their surroundings and exercise poor judgment, which can put them in dangerous situations that can harm themselves or those around them.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines or opiates, it is important to address the problem and seek help immediately. Sadly, most overdoses are accidental and preventable, since many who combine the two drugs overestimate their tolerance, or underestimate the dosage and strength. The sooner you can get help, the less likely you’ll visit the emergency room.
Contact us at Drugrehab.org today. With the right treatment and proper supervision from a medical professional, we can help you find the right treatment program that best fits your needs, including counseling and therapy. Our professionals are available right now by phone or email to help you find the first step to a healthier life.