Oxazepam Addiction

Anxiety is a common problem in the United States, withmillions of people living with some type of anxiety disorder every year. Anxiety can hang over you like a dark cloud, interrupting your life at inopportune times. There are a variety of medications used to treat anxiety disorders by helping you to calm down and relax when you are feeling symptoms like worry, panic, and general uneasiness. Benzodiazepines are medications that are used to help people with anxiety and sleep disorders find rest and relaxation.

There are dozens of drugs in the benzodiazepine class of drug.

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While they all work in similar ways, there are some differences between specific drugs. Oxazepam is a benzo that is primarily used for the treatment of anxiety, but it also has some benefits for sleep disorders and even the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

However, like most benzos, oxazepam can cause dependence and addiction in people that use it for too long or who otherwise abuse it. Oxazepam addiction is a serious disease that’s characterized by the compulsive and problematic use of the drug. Plus, long-term use and dependence on benzos can actually worsen symptoms of anxiety and sleeplessness.

If you have been prescribed benzodiazepines like oxazepam, learn more about the signs of addiction and what you can do if you’ve developed a dependence.

Need help with Oxazepam addiction? Request a call today from our treatment specialists!

Need help with Oxazepam addiction? Request a call today from our treatment specialists!

What Is Oxazepam?

Oxazepam is a benzodiazepine that’s sold in the U.S. under the brand name Serax. It’s also under the larger category of central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which is a group of chemical substances that suppress your nervous system, decrease excitability, and cause you to relax.

Oxazepam is a unique benzo in a way that makes it more useful as an anxiety medication than a treatment for insomnia. It has a slow onset of action and may take longer than other benzos to start working after your initial dose. Generally, people with insomnia take longer to get to sleep and require quick acting medication to help them fall asleep faster. However, some sleep disorders cause people to wake up frequently in the middle of the night. In those cases, oxazepam may help people stay asleep longer.

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The drug is also intermediate acting which means that its duration of action is longer than some but shorter than others. It has a half-life of five to 15 hours and may remain active in your system for a few hours. Again, this can help people who wake up in the middle of the night but may not be the first choice for serious sleep disorders.

However, these unique qualities may make it more useful as an anti-anxiety drug. It allows you to ease symptoms of anxiety, without a long period of intoxicating side effects. Oxazepam can cause dizziness and drowsiness that makes driving dangerous, but the effects will wear off more quickly than other alternatives.

Like most depressants, oxazepam works by increasing the efficiency of GABA, a neurochemical that’s designed to regulate the excitability of your nervous system, allowing you to relax when it’s time to rest.

Unfortunately, the drug can be habit forming, cause you to become reliant on the drug. After becoming dependent, you will feel uncomfortable symptoms when you try to quit.

The drug also carries the risk of overdose, especially if it’s mixed with opioids, alcohol, or other CNS depressants.

What Are the Signs of Oxazepam Addiction?

Oxazepam addiction is often initiated by a pattern of abuse, though it can still occur with normal therapeutic use if you use the drug for too many weeks in a row. Benzodiazepine abuse can sometimes be hidden for a short time, but, like most drug abuse, it’s difficult to hide indefinitely. Signs of oxazepam abuse includes:

  • Lying about drug use
  • Losing control of drug use
  • Strange sleep patterns
  • Alcohol-like intoxication
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Suffering work or school performance
  • Trying and failing to quit
  • Hiding drugs around the house

After a period of using or abusing oxazepam, you might notice that your tolerance for the drug is growing. This will feel like your normal doses are becoming less effective, and you need to use heavier doses to achieve the same effect. As your tolerance grows, you may start to develop a dependence on oxazepam that you notice when you start to feel uncomfortable symptoms when you cut back or quit.

It’s important to note that the even normal therapeutic use of benzodiazepines has a chance of causing dependence, especially in older people. If you or someone you know is struggling with dependence, it’s important to call a medical professional as soon as possible.

What Is Involved in Oxazepam Addiction Treatment?

Since oxazepam addiction can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms when you try to detox, it’s important to consult with a doctor before attempting to quit.Medical detoxis the safest way to go through withdrawal symptoms while avoiding serious complications. In medical detox, you will be treating with 24-hour care from medical professionals and medication to manage symptoms and avoid complications.

If you still have pressing medical or psychological needs after detox, you may be connected to a residential treatment program. Also called, inpatient treatment, residential care is 24 hours of medical monitoring to ensure your continued safety and recovery.

Typically, the majority of your treatment for oxazepam addiction will be in either intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment. In thislevel of care, you will be treated with a variety of therapies that are tailored for your needs. Behavioral therapies are the most common; they can help you address underlying issues and learn how to avoid relapse.

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How Dangerous Is Oxazepam?

It’s often assumed that the chemical substances that have common medical uses are generally safe to use, even in excess. However, oxazepam can be dangerous when overused or abused. Using the drug for too long (typically longer than four weeks) can lead to dependence. You may develop a dependence more quickly if you abuse the drug by taking high doses, taking doses in close succession, or mixing the drug with other depressants. Abuse can also cause a phenomenon calledrebounding, which is when growing tolerance and dependence make anxiety or sleep disorder symptoms return or worsen.

Abuse can also lead to overdose. Though oxazepam is generally less toxic than other benzodiazepine options, abuse, and recreational use can lead to dangerous side effects, particularly if you mix it with other drugs. Opioids, alcohol, and other depressants can compound the effects of oxazepam, leading to life-threatening symptoms, including:

  • Respiratory depression (slowed or stopped breathing)
  • Extreme sleepiness or somnolence
  • Cardiovascular toxicity
  • Lung toxicity
  • Coma

If you try to quit abruptly after becoming dependent on oxazepam, you can experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Depressants are unique in the way they can cause you to have an overactive nervous system during withdrawal that leads to seizures, insomnia, and panic. In some cases, withdrawal can cause a condition called Delirium tremens which can be deadly without medical treatment. If you have started to see signs of dependence or withdrawal, speak to a medical professional before trying to quit cold turkey.

Oxazepam Abuse Statistics

  • In 2013, 5.6 percent of U.S. adults filled prescriptions for benzodiazepines like oxazepam.
  • 30 percent of opioid overdoses also involved benzodiazepines.
  • In 2015, 23 percent of all fatal overdose cases involved benzodiazepines.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

Oxazepam addiction is a chronic disease that can have lasting consequences, but there are treatment options available.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder involving a benzodiazepine like oxazepam, call the addiction treatment specialists at Pathway to Hope at (844) 311-5781. Learning more about the therapies and treatment options that are available to you could be the first step on the road to recovery.