DUAL DIAGNOSIS

Benzo Relapse

Table of Contents

Understanding Benzo Relapse and Overcoming It

Benzo relapse refers to the recurrence of benzodiazepine addiction and its associated destructive behaviors after a period of abstinence or successful treatment. It is a critical issue that requires attention and understanding to provide adequate support for individuals struggling with Benzo addiction. Addressing Benzo addiction and relapse is of utmost importance due to its severe consequences on an individual’s physical and mental well-being. It affects not only the person struggling with addiction but also their relationships, work, and overall quality of life. By exploring the factors contributing to Benzo relapse and implementing relapse prevention strategies, individuals can regain control of their lives and find lasting recovery.

Understanding Benzodiazepines (Benzo)

Benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos, are a class of prescription medications primarily used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. They work by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that reduces brain activity, leading to relaxation and sedation.

Commonly prescribed benzos include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)

 

While Benzos can temporarily relieve anxiety and other conditions, their prolonged misuse can lead to severe risks and consequences. Potential effects and risks associated with benzos include:

  • Sedation and drowsiness
  • Physical and psychological dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation
  • Memory and cognitive impairments
  • Increased risk of accidents and falls
  • Respiratory depression, when combined with other substances like alcohol

 

Understanding the nature and effects of benzodiazepines is crucial in comprehending the challenges faced during benzo addiction and relapse and in formulating effective prevention and treatment strategies.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Relapse

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Benzo relapse is crucial in early intervention and preventing the escalation of addiction. Relapse can manifest through various physical, psychological, and behavioral indicators. By being aware of these signs, individuals and their support networks can take prompt action and provide the necessary assistance.

Another study in the National Library of Medicine (NIH) revealed that at least 50% of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) also struggle with either alcohol use disorder (AUD) or drug use disorder (DUD). Moreover, these substance use disorders (SUD) co-occurrence has been linked to increased severity of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in those with BPD.

These findings underscore the critical need for targeted interventions and support systems to address the complex challenges those struggling with BPD and addiction face. By providing tailored treatments and addressing the co-occurring disorders simultaneously, it is possible to improve the chances of successful recovery and help individuals navigate the complexities of BPD and addiction to achieve a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Physical and Psychological Indicators of Relapse

Resumption of drug use: One of the most evident signs of Benzo relapse is the return to using the drug after a period of abstinence or successful recovery.

Physical discomfort and withdrawal symptoms: Individuals experiencing relapse may exhibit physical discomforts such as tremors, sweating, increased heart rate, and gastrointestinal distress. These symptoms can indicate the body’s reaction to the absence or decreased dosage of benzodiazepines.

Cravings: Strong and persistent cravings for benzos are common during relapse. The overwhelming desire to use the drug again becomes a focal point for individuals struggling with addiction.

Anxiety and depression: The reappearance or intensification of anxiety and depressive symptoms can be indicators of Benzo relapse. These mental health conditions often co-occur with addiction and can worsen during periods of relapse.

Mood swings and irritability: Sudden and extreme shifts in mood and heightened irritability can be observed in individuals experiencing Benzo relapse. These emotional changes are closely tied to the impact of benzodiazepines on the brain’s neurotransmitter balance.

Behavioral Changes and Warning Signs

Social withdrawal: Individuals in relapse may begin isolating themselves from their support system, avoiding social activities, and distancing themselves from friends and family.

Neglecting responsibilities: A significant decline in the individual’s ability to fulfill personal, professional, or academic obligations can indicate relapse. This may include missing work or school, neglecting personal hygiene, or experiencing financial difficulties.

Secrecy and deception: Engaging in secretive behaviors, such as lying about drug use or hiding evidence of substance abuse, is a common warning sign of relapse.

Loss of interest in hobbies and activities: Previously enjoyed activities may lose appeal as individuals focus more on obtaining and using benzodiazepines. Hobbies, social engagements, and other fulfilling pursuits should be addressed.

Reconnecting with old drug-using acquaintances: Relapse can involve reconnecting with individuals from the past who share a history of drug use. Such associations can trigger a return to old habits and patterns.

It is essential to remain vigilant and proactive in identifying these signs and symptoms of Benzo relapse. If observed, it is crucial to encourage the individual to seek professional help and support to prevent further deterioration and guide them back on the path to recovery.

Overcoming Setbacks and Relapse

Recovery from addiction is a complex journey, and setbacks and relapses can be a part of that process for some individuals. Understanding the nature of setbacks and relapse and developing resilience and self-forgiveness is crucial in getting back on track and continuing the path to recovery.

Understanding the Nature of Setbacks and Relapse

Recognizing that setbacks are common: Setbacks and relapses are common in recovery. Viewing them as opportunities for growth and learning rather than failures is essential.

Identifying triggers and underlying causes: Setbacks and relapses often occur due to specific triggers or underlying emotional, environmental, or social factors. Understanding these triggers can help individuals develop strategies to avoid or cope with them effectively.

Accepting the need for ongoing support: Overcoming setbacks and relapse often requires ongoing support. Accepting this need and seeking help from a therapist, support groups, or treatment programs can provide valuable guidance and encouragement.

Importance of Resilience and Self-Forgiveness

Resilience and self-forgiveness play crucial roles in overcoming challenges and achieving personal growth. Resilience empowers individuals to bounce back from setbacks, face adversity with strength, and continue moving forward in recovery. It involves developing healthy coping mechanisms, building emotional strength, and cultivating a support network.

Equally important is self-forgiveness, which involves showing compassion and understanding towards oneself. By letting go of self-blame and guilt, individuals create space for healing, growth, and the motivation to persevere despite setbacks. Embracing resilience and self-forgiveness is essential in fostering a positive mindset and maintaining the momentum toward lasting recovery.

Reclaiming Freedom: Conquering Benzo Relapse at Burning Tree Ranch

At Burning Tree Ranch, we are dedicated to helping individuals overcome Benzo relapse and regain control of their lives. Our comprehensive program is designed to address the unique challenges of Benzo addiction and provide the necessary support for lasting recovery. With a focus on resilience, self-reflection, and personal growth, our experienced team of professionals guides individuals through a tailored treatment plan that includes evidence-based therapies, relapse prevention strategies, and a supportive community.

Through a combination of individual therapy, group counseling, holistic activities, and ongoing aftercare support, we equip individuals with the tools they need to overcome Benzo relapse and build a foundation for a fulfilling and substance-free life. At Burning Tree Ranch, we are committed to helping individuals break free from the cycle of addiction and find lasting recovery.

If you or a loved one is seeking help to overcome Benzo addiction and relapse, contact Burning Tree Ranch today. Our compassionate team is ready to provide personalized guidance and support on your journey to recovery.

KRISTINA ROBERTSON, LMSW, LCDC

KRISTINA ROBERTSON

LMSW, LCDC | Counselor
Kristina Robertson serves as Counselor at Burning Tree Ranch. Holding both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Social Work, Kristina’s greatest joy is “watching our clients learn to love themselves again.” An avid equestrian, mother to twenty-one horses, and all-around animal lover, Kristina serves as a bright shining example of long-term recovery in action. Her commitment to whole person health: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual makes her an invaluable member of the Burning Tree Ranch clinical team. As a distinguished Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Zeta member, Kristina believes deeply in each client’s pursuit of becoming their best selves.

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Beth Legacki, Burning Tree Ranch Alumni