Friday, January 24, 2020

Benzodiazepines are Prescribed at Alarming Rates

Each day in America, some 130 people lose their lives to an overdose. As most of our readers know, the United States has long been amid an opioid scourge. While opioids are the driving force of fatal overdoses, other drugs are playing a significant role too.

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that there were about 13,000 deaths involving methamphetamine nationwide in 2018. What's more, meth-related overdoses surpassed prescription painkillers since late last year.

While stimulant use is a growing concern in the U.S., and Congressional lawmakers are taking steps to tackle the problem, there is another drug that is stealing the lives of Americans. Prescription sedatives such as benzodiazepines or "benzos" are often involved in overdose deaths. 

Benzodiazepines are a class of central nervous system depressants. Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (Lorazepam), and Klonopin (clonazepam) are all part of this family of highly addictive drugs. The medications listed above are the most commonly prescribed, but there are many others as well.

Benzos are dangerous when used alone, and regular use and abuse leads to addiction. When too many of these types of drugs are taken, an overdose can result. However, when opioids and benzodiazepines are used in conjunction, the risk of overdose increases significantly.

While there are some indications that doctors are now less willing to prescribe opioids than before, the same is not the case for drugs like Xanax and Klonopin. Alarming new data shows a dramatic rise in benzodiazepine prescriptions in recent years.

A Multifaceted Overdose Epidemic

The CDC has released data on benzodiazepine prescriptions that are cause for significant concern. Researchers found that between 2014 and 2016, doctors prescribed these hazardous drugs at about 65.9 million office-based doctor visits, CNN reports. That figure breaks down to 27 annual visits per 100 adults.

When benzodiazepines are taken as prescribed, they can alleviate people's anxiety and help people who struggle with sleeping. However, when this class of drug is misused or mixed with alcohol or opioids, then overdose risk increases exponentially.

The study found that one-third of doctor's visits where benzos were prescribed also involved an overlapping opioid prescription from 2014 to 2016, according to the article. Many patients are not aware that an admixture of both drugs can lead to an overdose.

As mentioned above, benzodiazepine abuse is hazardous on its own. They are incredibly addictive, and detoxification often requires medical supervision. Unlike opioid withdrawal, benzos detoxification can be fatal; heavy users can experience seizures that can be deadly.

"This is a really undercovered story," said Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and Esther Ting Memorial Professor at Stanford University. "I think of it as the hidden element of our overdose epidemic that does need attention."

Other study findings include that women sought benzodiazepine prescriptions more than men, and a primary care provider wrote almost half of all prescriptions, the article reports. The researchers also found that the number of doctor visits for benzos increased with age.

"The most alarming finding in this study are the numbers about the elderly, this is the population that face the most danger from the drugs," said Dr. Joanna Starrels, an associate professor in the department of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Post-Treatment Support for Benzodiazepine Addiction

If you recently completed an addiction treatment program for a sedative or opioid use disorder, then you can significantly benefit from a structured sober living. At HAUS Recovery, we can help you strengthen your program and mitigate the risk of

Friday, January 10, 2020

Addiction Recovery: Progress, Not Perfection

recovery progress
At HAUS Recovery, we believe that progress is a pillar of addiction recovery. Those who succeed in achieving long-term sobriety are the men and women who are willing to do whatever it takes for continued self-growth. Working a program is a life-long process, which means a daily commitment to enhancing and strengthening your program.

The longer you are in recovery, the more you will see your life improve in a myriad of ways. From reuniting with family to finishing your education and landing a good job, anything is possible for men and women who stay on the path.

Naturally, working a daily, year-round program of recovery requires tremendous effort. One can never become complacent or rest on their laurels, regardless of the amount of clean and sober time you have.

Early recovery is when your program is at the most significant risk of coming apart. The brain is still healing, and it takes time to learn effective ways of coping with the stressors of life. It’s vital that you stick as close to the circle of recovery as best you can, and avoid people, places, and things that can compromise your hard work.

If you are on the verge of leaving rehab, then we strongly advise you to reach out for post-treatment support services in the form of sober living. Those who opt for continued structured support following treatment set themselves up for achieving continued progress.

Prioritizing Progress in Addiction Recovery

Progress in recovery can be measured in several ways, and you mustn’t stress over how quickly you reach milestones. In the first year of recovery, setting and meeting objectives is made more accessible by living in the company of people working toward similar goals.

Those who opt for sober living after treatment benefit enormously from having a strong support network close by as they make the transition from rehab to everyday life. It’s equivalent to walking into a dark lake slowly versus diving headfirst; you do not know what lies beneath the surface.

Being able to access emotional support and having role models to look to will help you make progress. The people you live with will also aid you in problem-solving should issues arise. Residing in sober living will help you practice honesty, which is essential to achieving long-term recovery. 

Years of and drug and alcohol misuse and abuse leave the mind and body malnourished. In treatment, you probably learned how to adopt more healthy eating habits and about the benefits of exercise. Once in sober living, your mentors will encourage you to stay on the path of a healthy life. Nourishing the body will help your mind heal from the ravages of addiction, which will help you make better decisions because you think more clearly.

In recovery, it’s about progress, not perfection. Attending meetings, volunteering your time, working with others, doing the steps with a sponsor, eating right, and exercising will all position you for making progress in recovery. All of the above will help you keep your mind off the past and stay focused on the present so that you can have a bright and productive future in recovery.

Santa Monica Structured Sober Living

Those who seek the assistance of HAUS Recovery will have access to all the helpful things mentioned above. You will receive emotional support and guidance from your peers and staff; our chef prepares fresh and delicious organic meals, a complimentary gym membership, and more are available to residents.

At HAUS, you will grow in strength as you form healthy relationships with men and women who share similar paths and collective goals for the future. Having a fellowship will also help you gauge your progress; it’s not always easy to tell when you are improving, your peers can share valuable insights and instruct you in many ways.

Please contact us today to learn how HAUS can help you continue making progress in recovery. 888-551-4715