According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6.2 million people in the United States misuse prescription sedatives. Each year, sedative addiction causes overdoses because of how addictive they are and how quickly they work on the body and brain.
By turning to a sedative addiction treatment program like the ones we offer at Harmony Healing Center, you or a loved one can get the help you need to start your path toward recovery.
What Are Sedatives?
Sedatives are chemicals that slow down the central nervous system, resulting in the brain and body functioning at much slower rates. Sedatives also affect motor skills.
Sedative drugs are naturally addictive, and people tend to build a tolerance to them rapidly. They work by altering the chemical makeup of the brain, increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which results in slowing down brain activity and leading to a more relaxed state.
Most commonly, doctors prescribe sedatives to help treat:
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Seizure disorders
- Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
There are a few different types of most commonly prescribed sedatives.
Benzodiazepines are one of these kinds of sedatives. They can help treat anxiety and seizures. They can come in pill or tablet form. Some examples of benzodiazepines include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Diazepam (Valium)
Barbiturates are another type of sedative that doctors prescribe to treat insomnia, epilepsy, and anxiety. Examples of barbiturates include:
- Amobarbital (Amytal Sodium)
- Phenobarbital (Luminal)
- Butalbital (Fiorinal)
- Pentobarbital (Nembutal)
Hypnotics, also called Z-drugs or nonbenzodiazepine sleep medications, are similar to benzodiazepines. Doctors prescribe them to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Examples of hypnotics include:
- Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
- Zaleplon (Sonata)
- Zolpidem (Ambien)
Alcohol is also considered to be a sedative because of the similar effects it has on the body and brain.
Symptoms of Sedative Addiction
When you build a physical and psychological dependence on sedatives, there are some common symptoms. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), these can involve a number of physical symptoms, including:
- Slurred or slowed speech
- Impaired motor functions
- Excessive sweating
- Muscles shaking
- Poor impulse control
- Unusual behavior
- Weight gain
- Aggression and increased irritability
- Loss of sexual desire
- Poor concentration
- Poor memory
How intense the symptoms of sedative addiction are will depend on many factors, including the type of drug, dosage, and frequency.
There are long-term symptoms of sedative addiction, too. These include depression, thoughts of suicide, chronic fatigue, and anxiety.
Symptoms of Sedative Overdose
Because of how quickly the body builds up dependence and tolerance for central nervous system depressants, overdoses can happen.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzodiazepine overdose can have symptoms like:
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Confusion and agitation
- Mood swings
- Loss of muscle control
- Physical weakness
- Depressed breathing
Abusing barbiturates can lead to overdose, as well, with symptoms that include:
- Clammy skin
- Shallow breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Weak pulse
- Rapid pulse
- Respiratory failure
- Loss of consciousness
Overdosing on other central nervous system depressants like sedative hypnotics can have symptoms like:
- Depressed breathing
- Involuntary motion of the eyes
Addiction treatment is essential to avoid the continued abuse of sedatives and to lower the risk of overdosing.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Sedative Addiction
When you stop using sedatives, you can start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These can be highly unpleasant and even dangerous, with the severity of the symptoms depending on the frequency of the substance abuse, the type of drug, and the dosage.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, some sedative withdrawal symptoms include:
- Night terrors
- Decreased appetite
- High fever
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Abnormal blood pressure
- Mood swings
Because withdrawal symptoms can be so dangerous, it is essential to have professionals helping you to avoid medical complications.
Sedative Addiction Treatment
At Harmony Healing Center, we offer treatment plans for sedative addiction. We provide medical detox, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization, and more to help you stop abusing sedatives.
To help you start your recovery efforts, we can provide medical detox to remove all traces of the drug from your body. At Harmony Healing Center, we can offer medications to help you with the worst of the withdrawal symptoms so that you are comfortable.
We will evaluate your mental and physical health to be able to offer the right detox medication. Our compassionate professional team can stabilize you and prepare you for substance abuse treatment.
Partial Hospitalization Program
Our partial hospitalization program (PHP) can help people with a sedative addiction and any co-occurring disorders. We offer this program as a higher level of outpatient care for people who do not need inpatient treatment but who require more support than that offered in a typical outpatient program.
Our PHP offers a variety of therapies to help those who abuse sedatives. We know that each person requires an individualized treatment plan, and we do our best to provide this type of support. At Harmony Healing Center, our partial hospitalization program can include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Support groups
- Medication management
- Relapse prevention services
We offer dialectical behavioral therapy, among other options, to help each patient learn healthy coping skills.
The maximum hours for our PHP are 50, while the average is 20.
Intensive Outpatient Program
For those dealing with sedative addiction who need more structured support than general outpatient services with less supervision than a PHP, we offer our intensive outpatient program. It involves rehab work while still offering responsibility and flexibility.
Our intensive outpatient program includes:
- Behavioral therapy sessions
- Group and individual therapy sessions
- Case management
- Life skills training
- Support group meetings
- Mental health and medical services
- Educational groups
- Access to 24/7 crisis management
We also offer additional services for those battling a substance use disorder, including nutritional consultations, physiotherapy, vocational training, anger management programs, and much more.
Get on the Path to Recovery
If you need addiction treatment to start recovering from sedative addiction, you can turn to Harmony Healing Center. We offer help for those struggling with sedative use, creating an individualized treatment plan that can offer the guidance you need. Learn more about the options we offer by calling today.