If you aren’t one of the 50 million to 70 million people in the United States who has a sleep disorder, consider yourself lucky. Even if you don’t have one, there have been nights when it’s tougher than others to achieve a good night’s rest. And when that happens, you know how tough the following day after a restless night can be. Everyone can understand the importance of a good night’s rest, even if you don’t have a sleep disorder. Rest not only dictates how you may feel the following day, but it helps prevent disease and promote positive mental health.
Another common disorder that plagues Americans is anxiety. It is the most common mental illness affecting 40 million adults in the United States on an annual basis. Fear can be crippling at times, stealing a person’s ability to live their life freely. With a rise in these disorders, there has been an increase in the number of prescriptions given out each year.
To assist struggling Americans with these ailments, doctors and scientists alike have created medications that help with sleep and anxiety. Barbiturates were developed early on as a hypnotic drug, but it was soon discovered how addictive those drugs were. There was a scramble to create something offering the same medical properties but not as addictive. In the 1960s, benzodiazepines’ popularity grew as they were seen as a substitute for the now less popular barbiturates. However, benzodiazepines soon came to share the same undesirable qualities as barbiturates.
Estazolam is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, seizures, and sleep disorders. This powerful drug holds the risk of addiction and chemical dependence, but in some cases, the benefits outweigh the risks. The U.S. brand name for it is Prosom. This particular substance is used for its anticonvulsant and anxiolytic properties. Less commonly, it is also used as a muscle relaxant. In a broader perspective, it is classified as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that shares its traits with barbiturates, alcohol, and other hypnotic drugs. These drugs all work by relaxing you cognitively and physically.
The primary concern with depressants is that they cause side effects such as dependence, tolerance, depression, and ultimately addiction. For the previous reasons, estazolam is often prescribed for the short-term unless a doctor suggests otherwise. Benzos are not recommended for use that extends longer than four weeks at a time because of their addictive qualities.
Estazolam has a medium onset of action, which makes it beneficial as a sleep aid; however, this is one of the most addictive kinds of benzodiazepines. These qualities make the drug more desirable as a one to abused recreationally. In high doses, estazolam offers an intoxicating effect similar to alcohol. The effects related to consumption include relaxation, dizziness, euphoria, loss of coordination, loss of balance, poor motor function, and sleepiness.
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Estazolam addiction can be detected easily. Many signs can point to a developing addiction for people who use estazolam. Drug use can be hidden for a short time, but in the long run, it’ll become more prominent as the drug consumes the user’s life. If you suspect an addiction is growing, consider these signs:
The first sign of substance use disorder is a tolerance. This means you require a higher dose of the medication than when you first began using for the same effects. As tolerance grows, you will become dependent on estazolam to feel normal. If you stop or slow your use and feel uncomfortable symptoms, this is a sign of dependence. Your nervous system has grown accustomed to the drug and ceased production of the natural chemicals in the brain.
The stage following dependence is addiction. This can be characterized as the continued use of a drug despite the consequences. For example, if you were to start a fight while under the influence of estazolam that resulted in an arrest, but you continue to use after the fact, this is a sign of addiction.
Estazolam addiction is not one to take lightly as it can lead to fatal consequences. Fortunately, addiction is a treatable disease. With the advances of modern medicine, treatment has become a seamless transition back into sobriety. The most reliable and effective methods of treatment are evidence-based therapies through accredited facilities. Since estazolam is a benzodiazepine, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, and entering into a medical detoxification center is the recommended course of action.
Medical detox is the first, and most intensive step in the continuum of care. Once you enter detox, you will embark on a three- to seven-day journey of purging the illicit substances from your body. You will be surrounded by professionally trained medical staff members who offer 24-hour, seven-day-a-week supervision. You will be treated with medications to reduce the symptoms of your estazolam withdrawal. The medical staff will determine if you have underlying medical conditions to see how they contribute to your addiction.
Once you complete detox, you and the medical staff will work together to determine the best course of action for you. If you have a severe addiction, you may be placed into a residential treatment center. This can range from 30 days to 90 days depending on what is the best fit. If the team determines that your addiction is mild and you can return home, they likely will recommend that you be placed into an outpatient program. You will be required to attend therapy several times throughout the week for three hours to four hours per day, and you’ll also be subject to mandatory drug screenings.
Whether you opt for an inpatient or outpatient placement, you also will be offered therapies designed to get to the root of your addiction. Several behavioral therapies will help you understand your triggers, how to cope, learn new life skills, and transition back into life.
It is easy to mistake a prescription drug for being harmless, but there are specific criteria you must meet to take this drug. Even those who take the drug the way it was intended can become subject to dependence and addiction. When estazolam is abused, it can slow down your reflexes and impair your judgment just as what happens when someone drinks too much alcohol.
Mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol, opioids, or other substances can lead to overdose. While it may cause a more intense effect, it can slow your breathing down to the point of suffocation. This can lead to coma, brain damage, and ultimately death. Benzos have the added risk of being lethal during withdrawal. The way it affects GABA enhances the dangers. When production is GABA is slowed, cessation of the drug causes the brain to work in hyperdrive. The overproduction of GABA can result in seizures or delirium tremens (DTs) that can be fatal. You must take care of your addiction in a manner that is not detrimental to your health.
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What Is Addiction? (n.d.). from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
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The State of SleepHealth in America. (n.d.). from https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/
Drugs.com. Estazolam. (September 18, 2019) Cerner Multum. from https://www.drugs.com/mtm/estazolam.html
NIDA. (2019, November 19). The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction. 6. Defintion of tolerance. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/neurobiology-drug-addiction
National Alliance on Mental Illness. The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists . Benzodiazepine-Associated Risks. Drug Abuse. (February 2019) Martin, S. PharmD from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Benzodiazepine-Associated-Risks