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 Pacific Grove Hospital 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 Pacific Grove Hospital.

  • 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

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Pacific Grove Hospital is a nationally recognized 68-bed acute psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment center offering inpatient & outpatient services for psychiatric illnesses, addictions & co-occurring disorders.

Understanding Benzo Addiction

Learn about benzos and substance abuse

Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety agents widely prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and seizure management. These controlled medications include clonazepam, Xanax, Ativan, and Valium and act upon the benzodiazepine receptors located throughout the central nervous system of the body. When used, benzos lower anxiety levels, increase relaxation of the muscles, and produce sedation. Benzodiazepines generally deliver their effects very quickly, which makes them ideal for people suffering from anxiety disorders as they can be taken when anxiety peaks or a panic attack begins. Most people who are prescribed benzodiazepines by their doctor do not go on to abuse these medications, however certain people do end up becoming addicted to the rapid onset and feelings of relaxation caused by benzos, especially when combined with other drugs.

Benzodiazepine abuse is a form of prescription drug abuse; the usage of benzos in a recreational fashion rather than to treat the disorders they were intended to help is illegal and, unfortunately, common. Many who abuse benzodiazepines also engage in abuse of different drugs. Some use benzos to augment an existing high from drugs like heroin, methamphetamines, or alcohol. Benzodiazepines are a relatively safe drug used on their own to treat certain disorders, however, when mixed with drugs and alcohol, benzo abuse can quickly lead to overdose and death.

Statistics

Benzo addiction statistics

In the United States, at any given time, 11% to 15% of the adult population has taken  benzodiazepine one or more times during the year prior and about 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 benzo addiction

Addiction to benzos is not likely the result of a single risk factor, but rather a combination of numerous risk factors working together. The most common causes and risk factors for benzodiazepine abuse include:

Genetic: It has been long-established that addiction is related to genetics; individuals who have a first-degree relative who has struggled with addiction are more likely to develop an addiction to certain substances, including benzodiazepines.

Physical: People who are struggling with certain types of mental and health-related disorders such as anxiety disorders, are more likely to develop an addiction to certain substances as a way of controlling the unpleasant symptoms of their disorder. Over time, the person comes to rely on these substance as a means to get through the day.

Environmental: It is extremely likely that many environmental factors lead to the development of abuse and addiction. The most common environmental influences for benzo abuse and addiction include low socioeconomic status, beginning to abuse drugs or alcohol at a younger age, and having friends or family who abuse benzos.

Risk Factors:

  • Being female – this may be related to the fact that women are 37% more likely to be prescribed benzodiazepines than men
  • Elderly age – many physicians improperly prescribe benzos to elderly people who are struggling with late life depression symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of benzo addiction

The symptoms and signs of benzo abuse and addiction vary among people based upon genetic makeup, length of abuse, frequency of use, dosage administered, as well as addiction to other types of substances. 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
  • No longer engaging in previously enjoyed activities
  • 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
  • Diplopia
  • Ataxia
  • Motor incoordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vertigo
  • Headaches
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns

Cognitive Symptoms:

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

Psychosocial Symptoms:

  • Worsening mental health state
  • Increased anxiety
  • Paradoxical excitement
  • Irritability or hostility
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

Effects

Effects of benzo addiction

Long-term usage of benzodiazepines can lead to a multitude of unpleasant consequences and effects which can be affected by abuse of other substances, length of time abused, frequency of use, and individual genetic makeup. The most common effects of untreated benzodiazepine abuse include:

  • Loss of job
  • Financial difficulties
  • Homelessness
  • Legal problems
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Addiction to benzodiazepines
  • Abuse of other substances
  • Deterioration of mental and physical health
  • Physical and psychological dependence
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal and overdose

Physical dependence upon benzos can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms; either if the drug is abruptly stopped or if there is a long period of time between doses. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be dangerous and should always be performed under the guidance of trained medical professionals who can help a person safely detox and receive care for their psychological addiction. Withdrawal symptoms usually are noted within four hours after the last dose and may last days or weeks.

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome

  • Flu-like aches and pains
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Restlessness
  • Derealization
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Status epileptics
  • Suicidal ideations

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Overdose:

When taken with other drugs or at higher doses than prescribed, benzodiazepines can be very dangerous. In some cases it can lead to a benzodiazepine overdose, which is a medical emergency. Some symptoms of an overdose may include:

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

Co-Occurring Disorders

Benzo addiction and co-occurring disorders

It is rare that benzodiazepine abuse occurs without the presence of another mental health disorder. The most common co-occurring, comorbid mental health disorders include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • OCD
  • ADHD
  • PTSD
  • Other substance abuse and addiction

Unsure of the help you need?

My son was admitted here and through the care, compassion & medical treatment he has been clean & sober. Because of this facility, he is alive and very happy. We are all grateful that he went to Pacific Grove Hospital.

– Cindy A.
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