Bromazepam Addiction Explained
When people talk about drug addiction, they are often referring to the abuse of illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. However, some of the most problematic substances of abuse are legal drugs used medicinally – including bromazepam, responsible for a growing number of cases of addiction worldwide.
What is Bromazepam?
Bromazepam – sold worldwide under numerous brand names (see below) – is a tranquiliser in the benzodiazepine class of drugs, with the chemical formula C14H10BrN3O. A class-C controlled substance in the UK (illegal to possess without a prescription), bromazepam is available in tablet form for oral consumption.
Like other benzodiazepines, bromazepam is known to be habit-forming, and withdrawal from benzodiazepine dependence can be very dangerous – indeed, sometimes fatal. Nevertheless, bromazepam is frequently consumed recreationally for the pleasant sedative “high” it produces.
Brand names for bromazepam
Some of the names under which bromazepam is provided worldwide (and which therefore may find its way illicitly into the UK, via the dark web) include Lectopam, Lexotan, Lexilium, Lexaurin Brazepam, Rekotnil, Bromaze, Somalium, Lexatin, and Lexotanil.
How addictive is this benzodiazepine-derivative drug?
All benzodiazepines have the potential to be habit-forming, and bromazepam is no exception – indeed, various studies suggest that bromazepam is actually more addictive than most benzodiazepines, because of its rapid onset and shorter-lived effects (meaning that individual users may opt for bromazepam over other benzodiazepines in order to feel the effects quicker, but need to consume them more frequently because the effects do not last as long).Bromazepam’s addictive qualities are such that even if taken in accordance with a doctor’s instructions it is possible to develop dependence and addiction.
What is Bromazepam Used For?
Compared with some benzodiazepines, bromazepam’s medical uses are relatively limited. It is very commonly prescribed to treat anxiety (and related disorders); less frequently, it is used as a pre-medication ahead of minor surgery.
Why People Get Addicted to Bromazepam
Addiction as a psychological phenomenon is still not fully understood in terms of the factors which cause its manifestation in specific individuals – in other words, although we know a great deal about how addiction develops in the brain, and what happens after it does so, we are still uncertain as to why one person may go on to develop an addiction whilst another, in very similar circumstances, will not. However, one certainty is that bromazepam addiction can only develop as a result of the repeated consumption of bromazepam over a length of time – and therefore anyone taking bromazepam repeatedly places themselves at risk of developing an addiction.
Neuropsychology of Bromazepam Addiction
Addiction is a disorder of the brain’s reward system, by which the repeated engagement in rewarding behaviour (in this case, consuming bromazepam and experiencing its effects) becomes a compulsion, and the behaviour in question is engaged in regardless of the awareness of any negative consequences of doing so. Addiction is often related to (and confused with), but distinct from, physical dependence (see below).
Deadly Bromazepam Drug Interactions
Like other benzodiazepines, taking bromazepam along with opioids, alcohol and/or any other central nervous system depressants can enhance the sedative effects of both substances, which can lead to impaired motor coordination, increase sedation, suppress breathing and other potentially lethal adverse effects. Bromazepam specifically is known to have dangerous interactions with cimetidine, fluvoxamine and propranolol.
Bromazepam Tolerance, Dependence and Withdrawal
When someone takes bromazepam over a period of time, the system develops a tolerance to it: in other words, it adjusts to a certain level of bromazepam and requires higher levels than that adjustment for bromazepam to have the same effects as it previously had. Similarly, when a person system becomes accustomed to that elevated level of bromazepam, it becomes reliant upon the presence of bromazepam to function normally; this is known as dependence.
When someone with a dependence to bromazepam stops taking the drug, the system is unable to function normally in a series of abnormal symptoms may manifest, collectively known as withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant – and in the case of bromazepam and other benzodiazepines, even fatal – and will last for at least as long (and sometimes much longer) as it takes the individual’s system to readjust to the new absence of bromazepam.
Bromazepam Abuse Signs and Symptoms
Addiction and substance abuse are associated with a great deal of stigma, and many people who are addicted to bromazepam will make great efforts to conceal their condition; as a result, bromazepam abuse and addiction may not be immediately evident. However, some relatively common signs of bromazepam addiction may be observed, including the following:
- Poor coordination
- Excessive sweating
- Issues with balance
- Lethargy and drowsiness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Visual problems
- Slowed or shallow breathing
- Reduced inhibitions
- Poor judgment
- Mood swings
- Issues with memory
- Dementia-like symptoms
- Delirium tremens (also with physical symptoms)
Health Risks from Bromazepam Addiction
As with any addiction, an addiction to bromazepam poses numerous risks to the physical and mental health of the user, including the risk of fatal overdose.
- Blurred vision
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Memory issues
- Mental confusion
- Mood swings
- Motor coordination impairment
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Shallow breathing
- Slowed reflexes
- Slurred speech
- Problems with memory
- Interference with learning ability
- Problems with sensory perceptions
- Reduction in processing speed
Because of bromazepam’s relatively limited medical uses, it is less likely than many other benzodiazepines to be a factor in dual diagnosis (where a substance abuse issue occurs alongside another mental health disorder). However, that does not mean it is entirely absent from such cases: for example, individuals with various mental health issues may use bromazepam recreationally and develop addictions.
Dual diagnosis often makes treating an addiction vastly more complicated, and specialist care is usually required.
Speak with an addiction specialist for more information if you are concerned you or a loved one may be affected by dual diagnosis including a bromazepam addiction.
Risk Factors for Bromazepam Addiction
As noted above, the phenomenon of addiction has not been fully explained by medical science in terms of the factors which drive its development in individual cases. However, it is known that both the environment and genetics play roles, and that anybody who takes bromazepam for more than a few weeks risks developing both physical dependence and addiction.
It is well established that anyone with a family history of either substance abuse and addiction, or mental health issues, is much more likely than the average to develop a bromazepam addiction.
Numerous environmental risk factors for bromazepam abuse have been established, including experiencing traumatic and/or challenging situations; associating with a peer group consisting of people abusing bromazepam; and taking bromazepam in higher doses and/or for longer than recommended.
Bromazepam Overdose Explained
Bromazepam is frequently identified as being a factor in drug overdoses – indeed bromazepam is the most common benzodiazepine involved in intentional drug overdoses in numerous countries including France. Common symptoms of bromazepam overdose include slurred speech, impaired balance, ataxia, respiratory depression and coma; if you observe any of these symptoms in someone you know to have consumed bromazepam, contact the emergency services immediately.
What to Do if You Need Help Quitting
Any addiction can be a terrible burden to carry, and bromazepam addiction is no exception. If you have tried and failed to stop taking bromazepam, contact your GP and/or an addiction specialist to discuss what help you might be able to access.
As mentioned above, when someone who has developed a dependence to bromazepam stops taking the drug, withdrawal syndrome may manifest. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is one of the most dangerous forms of withdrawal syndrome, and should never be attempted without the correct medical supervision.
Symptoms of withdrawal
Some of the most common symptoms of bromazepam withdrawal include:
- Poor coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Slowed breathing
- Slow reflexes
- Slurred speech
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Duration of Withdrawal
Usually, withdrawal from bromazepam dependence lasts between two and four weeks, with acute withdrawal commencing approximately three days after the last dose and typically lasting for around a week. This is, though, only a rough guide and some cases last significantly longer, while some individuals will develop protracted withdrawal syndrome (also known as post-acute withdrawal) with symptoms which may last months or even years.
Teen Bromazepam Abuse and Addiction
Benzodiazepines are commonly abused by young people because of the ease with which they may be accessed, and their low cost on the street. If a young person close to you is abusing or addicted to bromazepam, contact an addiction specialist about how to approach the matter: do not act without advice, as you may exacerbate the situation.
Cost of Bromazepam Addiction to Families
Any addiction can be devastating to a family, whose members have to observe their loved one struggling with the burden of addiction, and may have to cope with deceitful and manipulative behaviour. Bromazepam is a factor in numerous family breakdowns; if you are concerned that a family member may be addicted to bromazepam, contact an addiction specialist.
How can I tell if a friend or family member has a bromazepam addiction?
As noted above, it may be very difficult to identify an addiction in someone who is striving to conceal it. If you suspect someone close to you has a bromazepam addiction, do not confront them straightaway as you may alienate them and/or make the situation worse. Speak with an addiction specialist about how to approach them – and always ensure that you prioritise your own safety and that of others.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If you feel that your consumption of bromazepam has become unhealthy, for any reason, and especially if you have experienced any symptoms of overdose or withdrawal, contact your GP or the emergency services immediately.
Bromazepam Addiction Treatment
A great many facilities now operate around the UK treating bromazepam addiction. Addiction treatment usually consists of two phases: detoxification/withdrawal (with the assistance of medical professionals, and potentially aided by medication); and therapy.
Bromazepam Abuse Detox
Detoxification is the first phase of addiction treatment, as it is imperative to cleanse the addict’s system of substances of abuse. Because of the dangers associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal, bromazepam addicts going into treatment must have medical assistance when going through detoxification. How long detox lasts varies from one case to another, but most treatment facilities will wait until detox is complete before moving a patient onto the next phase of treatment (therapy).
Possible complications in bromazepam treatment
Because of the aforementioned danger posed by withdrawal from benzodiazepines, and because of the impact of long-term substance abuse, it is imperative that you are completely open and honest with any doctors who may treat you about your substance abuse and your medical history. Concealing any details could lead to incorrect medical treatment including dangerous prescriptions.
Bromazepam Relapse Prevention
Although avoiding relapse is vital to the recovery from lorazepam addiction, if you do relapse it does not mean that you will inevitably slide back into addiction. You must stay positive: fighting against relapse is an ongoing process, and you can learn tools and psychological defence mechanisms from therapy (including that provided in rehab). Participation in self-help groups, and ongoing counselling, can also help a great deal. Talk about relapse prevention strategies with an addiction specialist if you are concerned that you may be likely to relapse.
Bromazepam Addiction Statistics
- Over 40% of people taking bromazepam for more than a month and a half will develop an addiction to the drug.
- Over a quarter of a million people in the UK have currently been taking benzodiazepines for longer than instructed by their doctors.
- Benzodiazepine abuse is responsible for over 400 deaths each year in England and Wales alone.
- Every year, over 12 million prescriptions are written in the UK for benzodiazepines.
- Almost 8% of Britons have abused benzodiazepines at one point or another.
Ready To Get Help?
Bromazepam addiction can have catastrophic impacts on your life which may be permanent. Your relationships with others, your professional and academic prospects, and your financial viability may all be irreparably damaged. However, only you can make the decision to seek treatment: if you are not ready to do so, any treatment provided to you is unlikely to be successful.
Get help today
If you are ready to reach out for help, a range of facilities across the UK now provide high-quality treatment to addicts of all kinds. Speak with your GP and/or an addiction specialist today about the kind of treatment that might be appropriate for your bromazepam addiction.
Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery
Addiction can make you feel like you’ve lost control of your life – but you can take back that control by seeking help for your condition. Call your GP and/or an addiction specialist and take the first steps on the road back to a better life.
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