Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to the Coronavirus
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Benzodiazepine Addiction Symptoms, Signs & Effects

Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry offers effective, comprehensive treatment for individuals struggling with benzo addiction. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of benzo addiction.

What is Benzodiazepine Addiction

Learn More About Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines, also called benzos, are a type of medication that is used to help relieve anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures, and promote muscle relaxation. These psychoactive drugs work by acting upon the central nervous system of the body (CNS) by enhancing the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for reducing the activity of neurons that cause stress and anxiety. While these medications are prescribed by physicians for legitimate medical conditions, unfortunately they are one of the most commonly abused drugs. When an individual takes benzos without a prescription, for their sedative or intoxicating effects, this is when it becomes abuse. Used on a short-term basis benzos are generally safe and extremely effective, but long-term use can lead to tolerance and dependence.  Withdrawal from benzodiazepine abuse can be very dangerous and in some cases fatal therefore medical treatment is necessary in most cases.

Statistics

Statistics of Benzodiazepine Addiction

In the United States at any given time, 11 to 15% of the adult population has taken a benzodiazepine one or more times during the year prior, while only 1 to 2% have taken benzos daily for longer than 12 months. As benzodiazepine abuse seldom occurs alone, approximately 80% of those who abuse benzos use another substance (most commonly opioids) as well.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Benzodiazepine Addiction

While certain people may have a tendency toward addiction, there is no single cause or risk factor that determines if a person will become addicted to a drug like benzodiazepines. The most commonly understood causes and risk factors for addiction to benzodiazepines includes:

Genetic: Researchers have long-established that addiction has a genetic component. People who have a first-degree relative, like a parent or sibling, who has struggled with some form of addiction are more likely than those without a similar history to develop an addiction to certain substances, including benzodiazepines.

Physical: It appears as though there is a link between repeated use of an addictive substance and the ways in which the human brain experiences pleasure. Many addictive substances act on the pleasure center of the brain, and with frequent use, these drugs can actually alter the structure and function of the brain. After prolonged abuse physical dependence will develop and the brain will no longer be able to properly function without the drug.

Environmental: Certain environmental triggers and stressors are related to the development of addiction. High levels of stress, multiple family tragedies, and growing up around drug abuse are some of the greatest risk factors for abuse and addiction of drugs.

Risk Factors:

  • Being female – this risk factor may, in fact, be correlated to the knowledge that females are 37% as likely to seek treatment and obtain prescriptions for benzodiazepines than males
  • Lower socioeconomic status
  • Peer group who uses drugs
  • Experimenting with drugs or alcohol at younger ages
  • Unemployment
  • Being abused as a child
  • History of trauma

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction

When not used as prescribed by a physician benzodiazepine abuse can display a number of different signs and symptoms depending on the length of abuse and the amount abused. The most common symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse include:

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Drug-seeking behaviors
  • Doctor shopping, or visiting a number of doctors to obtain more prescriptions
  • Benzodiazepines taken in larger doses than intended; for longer time than intended
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Increasing desire to be left alone
  • Inability to meet expectations and responsibilities at work, school, or home

Physical Symptoms:

  • Increased respiratory infections
  • Physical dependence
  • Double vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vertigo
  • Headaches
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Memory impairment
  • Anterograde amnesia
  • Increased confusion
  • Slowed thinking
  • Slowed reaction time

Psychosocial Symptoms:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Irritability and hostility
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

Effects

Effects of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Despite the many therapeutic uses for benzodiazepines, if abused these medication can lead to a number of negative life consequences. The most frequent long-term effects of chronic benzodiazepine abuse can include:

  • Inability to hold down a job
  • Homelessness
  • Lack of interpersonal relationships
  • Mounting legal problems and/or incarceration
  • Worsening mental and physical health
  • Increased drug-seeking behaviors often to stave off withdrawal symptoms
  • Self-harm
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders of Benzodiazepine Addiction

It is not uncommon for benzodiazepine abuse to occur with additional mental health disorders. Some of the most commonly seen co-occurring disorders include the following:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Other substance abuse
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Physical dependence upon benzodiazepines can lead to a very serious condition called benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Benzodiazepine withdrawal should always be guided by trained medical and psychiatric staff in order to reduce side effects and obtain the care needed to address psychological addiction.

Benzo withdrawal symptoms are typically observed four hours following the last dose and can persist for days to weeks. Symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:

  • Flu-like aches and pains
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal ideations and behaviors

At prescribed doses, benzodiazepines are great drugs for alleviating symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. However, if taken in combination with other drugs or at higher doses than prescribed, benzodiazepines can be very dangerous. Symptoms of benzodiazepine overdose can include:

  • Drowsiness and sedation
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Poor judgment and decision making abilities
  • Slurred speech
  • Decreased coordination
  • Coma
  • Death from respiratory depression and arrest

I knew my son had an issue when I found out that he was hoarding benzos from people he stole from. After going through treatment at OHP, he has more control over his life and is looking into finding a job now!

– Abigail R.