Written By: Fiona Stockard
Benzo Addiction Facts and Statistics
Facts about benzo addiction are often untrue, or at the very least, heavily skewed. The prescription and sale of benzodiazepines worldwide is estimated to make upwards of twenty billion dollars annually. Simply put, the medical establishment has a vested interest in hiding the truth about benzo addiction facts and benzo addiction statistics.
Discover the truth about benzo addiction!
Benzo Addiction Facts
Find six benzo addiction facts below:
• The sale of tranquilizers (including both benzo and non-benzo drugs) trailed off in the 80’s and 90’s, as a result of the popularity of SSRI’s (drugs like Paxil and Zoloft). However, benzo sales returned full force in the early 2000’s. This was due, in large part, to the marketing of benzo’s as wonder drugs, useful for treating more than anxiety and panic disorders.
• In the US, benzo sales are estimated at upwards of one billion dollars annually.
• Shrinking and swelling of the brain have been reported in short and long-term benzo patients. Quick onset benzo’s, such as Ativan and Xanax, produce damage faster. However, longer duration benzo’s, like Valium and Klonopin, also produce significant damage.
• Benzo addiction creates potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms, sometimes in as little as two to three weeks. Common benzo withdrawal symptoms include: severe depression, suicidal ideation, and seizure.
• Once physical dependence on benzo’s occurs, it can take anywhere from six to eighteen months to achieve full body and mind recovery. This includes recovery from withdrawal symptoms, from mental health issues surrounding benzo addiction, and from acute benzo brain damage.
• The adverse effects of benzo addiction, including those mentioned above, have been known for well over two decades. Still, there’s been remarkably little done to address their over prescription.
Benzo Addiction Statistics
Find seven benzo addiction statistics below:
• In 2002, US doctors prescribed 69 million benzo’s. In 2007, they prescribed 83 million. That’s a jump of almost 20 million prescriptions in only five years!
• According to a study performed by SAMHSA, benzo’s account for 35% of all drug-related ER visits. This makes benzo’s the most frequently abused class of prescription drugs in the US.
• In 2002, the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported there were over 100,000 ER visits because of benzo’s.
• In fact, between 2004 and 2006, the number of ER visits due to benzo’s increased by 36%.
• By 2006, the number of annually reported ER visits due to benzo abuse was over 195,000.
• It’s estimated that 60% of those prescribed benzo’s become physically dependent on them.
• TEDS (the Treatment Episode Data Set) reported that 12.9% of individuals admitted to US treatment center listed benzo’s as their drug-of-choice.
What Do These Benzo Addiction Facts and Statistics Mean For You?
The above statistics and facts about benzo addiction show a few major trends.
First and foremost, they show the true scope of benzo addiction. This isn’t a problem isolated to those traditionally thought of as addicts. No, the rampant over prescription of benzo’s is everyone’s problem.
Second, these facts about benzo addiction show the serious side effects associated with benzo use. Note I said use, not abuse. Short-term, as prescribed, benzo use can produce deadly withdrawal symptoms.
These facts and statistics show that, finally, benzo addiction may be getting the recognition it deserves. Knowledge is power. The more people know about benzo addition, the more powerful they are to fight it!