How Do I Know If Someone Is On Benzos?

Some of the most common questions people have when it comes to drug abuse are the warning signs of substance abuse and how to tell if someone is on drugs. General signs of someone being on drugs can include changes in behavior such as lying or secrecy, as well as physical symptoms, which can include things like flushing, nausea and enlarged or constricted pupils. When it comes to determining how to tell if someone is using drugs, there are also specific symptoms that may occur, depending on the type of drug. One of the most common drug classifications that is abused are benzodiazepines or benzos. This class of drugs is used for the treatment of anxiety mostly, but it can also be used to help treat panic disorders, seizures and sleep disorders such as insomnia. Less frequently, benzos may be used for sedation before surgery or certain procedures, as a muscle relaxant, to help ease people through withdrawal from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, for the treatment of nausea and vomiting, and in some cases for depression. There are many different kinds of benzodiazepines and the primary differences between these types are in how long they take to work, how long they work for and what they’re prescribed for. Some of the common benzos include Valium, Ativan, Xanax, and Klonopin, which are all brand names. Benzos are also referred to as tranquilizers, and they are among the most prescribed medicines in the U.S.

Critical to understanding the signs of someone being on benzos is also to know how this class of drugs work. Since they are considered tranquilizers or sedatives, the signs and symptoms of benzo use are different from drugs that are stimulants, such as cocaine.

With benzodiazepines, the impact of the drug is on the central nervous system. The results are sedation, relaxation of muscles and a reduction in anxiety.

While they are prescribed for the treatment of medical conditions, they are also commonly abused. Reasons for abuse include the effects they produce, as well as how available they are. One of the most common reasons people die from benzo abuse is because they take these medications in conjunction with alcohol.

Whether or not someone is abusing benzos or taking them as prescribed, side effects can include sedation of course, but also a sense of weakness and dizziness.

Other potential side effects of using benzodiazepines can include:

  • Drowsiness that is experienced throughout the day, particularly when someone first starts taking these drugs, whether as prescribed or they’re abusing them.
  • A sense of depression
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of orientation
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Irritability

Signs of excessive sedation may occur when someone takes benzodiazepines with other substances, for example, alcohol. Also, pairing them with narcotics and tranquilizers can cause the side effects to be more dramatic, and combining these drugs can be deadly.

It can be difficult to determine the warning signs of benzodiazepine abuse, particularly if someone is prescribed one of these medications. You may be concerned about a loved one, but unsure if they’re using the drugs appropriately, or developing a pattern of abuse and addiction.

One of the things that’s different about the use of benzodiazepines from many other types of drugs is that they’re often used in conjunction with other drugs to achieve a high. People can combine benzos with opioids to create a sense of euphoria, for example.

Some of the side effects of people who are on benzos, whether independently or with other substances, can include extreme confusion and slurred speech, seizures, convulsions, severe drowsiness, trouble breathing, and shakiness.

Over time people who chronically abuse benzos are at a greater risk of developing memory loss and dementia.

There can also be behavioral symptoms that indicate someone is abusing benzos. As with many drugs, if someone is a chronic user of benzodiazepines they might change their behaviors to be more accommodating to their drug use. This can include withdrawing from friends and family and losing interest in obligations including school or work. Relationships can start to suffer, and the person may become more interested in obtaining more benzos that other things in their life.

People who are abusing benzos may start to do things like doctor shopping as a means to obtain more drugs, or they may steal from friends and family.

Ultimately, benzos have the potential to create both a physical dependency and a psychological addiction.

While many people may simply start looking for the signs and symptoms of being on benzos, it can also be important to have an understanding of the withdrawal symptoms that can occur with use of these drugs.

When someone stops taking benzos all of a sudden, and they’re used to taking them, particularly for a long period of time or taking high doses, there can be side effects that occur when the drug leaves their system.

Some of the symptoms of benzo withdrawal are similar to the problems the drugs are initially prescribed for and can include anxiety, restlessness, irritability and insomnia. Other symptoms of benzo withdrawal can include nausea, sweating, depression, coordination problem and spasms.

If you recognize the signs of benzo abuse or abuse of any substance, you may be wondering what you should do next. It can be difficult, particularly if the person denies they have a substance abuse problem, but if you’ve observed the over a period of at least weeks and felt something in their behavior indicates they’re on benzos, you should talk to someone else and see if they share your perspective. You may also be able to speak with a health care provider who can provide a screening.

At that point, you can reach out to a substance abuse professional and discuss the next possible steps that could be taken, including treatment and rehab options that might be available.

Share on Social Media: