The benzo shortage is nothing new. Popular benzodiazepines have seen an increase in demand but a shortage in supply for the last three years. So, why is there concern over the current shortage? The answer: COVID-19. The pandemic’s spike in anxiety and panic disorders has also increased the demand for benzos from pharmaceutical companies who cannot keep up.
While benzo abuse and benzo addiction are also on the rise, these types of medications are critical for treating anxiety-related mental health issues. Without them, people with anxiety disorders are at a higher risk of suicide, behavioral problems, and addiction to drugs or alcohol. Addiction treatment centers in Maryland are likely to see an increase in individuals who require professional care.
What Are Benzos and Why Are They Important?
Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription drugs that relax the central nervous system by stimulating neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The increase in GABA activity causes the nervous system and brain to slow down. This has a relaxing effect on the body, easing the symptoms of anxiety disorder.
Doctors prescribe benzos for all types of conditions, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic attacks
- Muscle spasms
Benzo addiction treatment is also effective in reducing the symptoms of addiction withdrawal. Drug and alcohol detox centers regularly include benzos or similar medication-assisted treatment in their rehab programs.
What Are the Possible Consequences of a Benzo Shortage?
The current pandemic has led many people to seek treatment for mental health disorders for the first time. As a result, the benzo shortage has affected the supply of drugs like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan. What are the dangers of the growing benzo shortage? Some may include:
- Higher Rates of Suicide: One of the treatment specialists’ most significant concerns is higher suicide rates caused by untreated anxiety and panic disorders. A person who suffers from severe anxiety may also have depression and insomnia, leading to an unstable condition. If they cannot get their treatment, they may turn to self-harm or suicide.
- Buying Benzos Illegally: Someone desperate for their medication may turn to alternative sources to get it. This means asking family or friends if they know somebody who is selling it. However, street versions of benzos or related drugs are not regulated, making them unsafe to use. The risk of benzo abuse or benzo addiction is higher if the dosages are higher or if hallucinogenic ingredients have been added to the drugs.
- Drug or Alcohol Addiction: When left untreated, a mental health issue can be difficult for a person to manage. To cope with their condition, they may turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. This can lead to an addiction, which only triggers the symptoms of mental disorder. A person who has an addiction may need treatment such as dual diagnosis as a part of a substance abuse treatment program.
- Increase in Drug Prices: If benzo addiction treatment continues to become less available as the demand increases, medication prices will naturally increase. This will make it difficult for many people to afford their prescriptions. It can also lead to increased costs in other areas of behavioral health treatment.
Get Help for Addiction at Amatus Recovery Centers
Do you need help with anxiety, panic disorders, or addiction? If so, contact Amatus Recovery Centers at 833.631.0525. Let our treatment specialists diagnose your condition and help you get the treatment you need. We provide comprehensive addiction treatment therapies for all types of mental disorders and addiction. Don’t let the benzo shortage keep you from getting quality care. Call us today and let us help you get on the road to recovery.