Approximately 60 million Americans struggle to get a good night’s sleep. They have trouble falling and staying asleep. Many will turn to sleep medicines to alleviate their insomnia. While a potent sedative-hypnotic such as estazolam can be an effective solution, it is only intended for short-term use.
Still, many people rely on the drug as a remedy for their sleeplessness, seduced by the feelings of calm and relaxation it induces. Others take higher doses to experience the rush of euphoria.
Whatever the case, estazolam dependency can quickly evolve into addiction, which involves a litany of troubling symptoms and side effects. Prolonged use of estazolam carries an increased risk of anxiety, sleep disorders, and seizures. Older adults take estazolam for sleep disorders or anxiety, so they’re especially prone to addiction.
The practice of using estazolam with other substances (such as alcohol, opioids, or other benzodiazepines) can prove to be fatal.
What Is Estazolam?
Estazolam was developed in the 1970s by Upjohn, a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm. It has anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, and hypnotic properties, and it’s also used as a muscle relaxant.
Classified as a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant, estazolam acts on the brain by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This chemical inhibits brain activity and induces drowsiness and calm, which sedates people afflicted with anxiety and insomnia.
When used over a long period of time, a person can develop a tolerance, so they may take higher doses to experience the desired effects. When taken recreationally and in large doses, users experience feelings similar to alcohol. When that dependency morphs into addiction, a user will start displaying discernible signs and symptoms.
What Are The Signs Of Estazolam Addiction?
While addiction to benzodiazepines can occur when the drug is taken as prescribed, it happens far more often when the drug is recreationally abused. Recreational users tend to crush and snort estazolam to experience a faster, more intense high.
The Symptoms Of Addiction Manifest Themselves Over Time. If You Suspect An Addiction In Yourself Or A Loved One, Look For The Following Signs:
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Strange sleep patterns
- Diminished performance at work or school
- Loss of coordination
- Lies about drug use
When you develop a tolerance to any benzo, you’ll feel compelled to take larger doses. The hope is that you’ll recapture the feeling a previous dosage provided. At this point, your body will rely on the drug because the brain no longer produces the natural chemicals.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.”
One surefire sign of addiction is continuing to use a drug after you hurt yourself or someone else in a car accident. Another symptom of addiction is the willingness to compromise relationships with friends and family members to use the drug.
At the onset of addiction, it’s absolutely necessary for you to seek professional treatment. If you fail to do so or attempt to quit “cold turkey” on your own, you can greatly diminish your chances of survival.
What’s Involved In Addiction Treatment For Estazolam?
Once you’ve taken the necessary step of acknowledging your addiction, the first phase on the continuum of care is medical detoxification. A detox will safely remove the estazolam and other toxins from your body. This process will keep you secure from the uncomfortable, debilitating, and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms that occur after developing a benzodiazepine addiction.
Licensed clinicians will assess your vital signs and manage any health complications that occur. You may also receive medications to address any withdrawal symptoms. In order to ease your detoxification, the medical staff may gradually reduce your dosage of estazolam and switch you over to another benzodiazepine. Then an addiction specialist will assess your needs and draw up a treatment plan.
Because addiction requires long-term personal care, it’s imperative that you undergo comprehensive therapy in a residential treatment program as your next step. In this program, you’ll live at our facility and have access to counseling, which will help you identify the root causes of your addiction. Residential treatment typically lasts 30 to 60 days. Some studies show that the longer someone is in residential treatment, the greater their chances of achieving sustained recovery.
Medical professionals will continually monitor your health 24/7 throughout your stay. You could be in detox for three to seven days, depending on the severity of your addiction and other medical problems that may be present. During your stay, you’ll become prepared for the level of care you’ll complete after detox.
The Most Commonly Used Therapy Models We Offer Include:
- Group therapy sessions provide you the support you need during your recovery journey.
- You’ll receive individual therapy to address the emotional issues that contribute to addiction.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) offers treatment that addresses the negative thoughts and actions associated with addiction. At this stage, you’ll learn practical strategies and skills to combat old habits.
- With dialectical behavioral, you’ll learn about the triggers that lead to substance abuse.
- In motivational interviewing, you’ll identify key issues, learn how to think positively and start embracing changes that can improve your life.
- You’ll learn how to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life.
- Since addiction is often described as a family disease, family therapy will help you heal some of those wounds.
- To ensure your post-treatment success, you’ll go through aftercare planning, which helps prevent relapse.
How Dangerous Is Estazolam?
Even though estazolam is a prescribed medication, it’s certainly not harmless. To obtain the medication, you must meet a rigorous set of criteria. You can develop an addiction even if you take the drug as prescribed.
After taking estazolam, it’s possible to sleep-walk and do other activities without remembering them. If you take estazolam with alcohol or other medicines, you could engage in activities that can put you in potentially compromising, life-threatening situations.
Reported Activities Include:
- Making and eating food
- Talking on the phone
- Having sex
Estazolam Also Has An Alarming Number Of Side Effects, Including:
- Slowed or uncoordinated movements
- Changes in behavior
- Dry mouth
- Muscle stiffness
In addition, mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol, opioids, or other drugs can lead to a fatal overdose. Using estazolam with these substances can considerably slow down your breathing, which can cause coma, brain damage, and death.
Estazolam isn’t just dangerous during an overdose, however. It may also be dangerous during withdrawal symptoms. If you’ve been using the drug for a long time, you may start to develop a chemical dependency. This means, your brain will have begun to adapt to the drug by changing your brain chemistry to counterbalance it with Estazolam. It might start to decrease your own natural inhibitory chemicals and increase excitatory chemicals to counteract the drug.
When you stop taking Estazolam, you might start to feel the effects of a chemical imbalance as your nervous system becomes overactive. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including insomnia, paranoia, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and headaches. However, it can also cause deadly symptoms, especially if you stop using abruptly. Quitting cold turkey can cause seizures and a dangerous condition called delirium tremens that’s characterized by sudden panic attacks, confusion, terror, sweating, chest pains, coma, and death.
Dangerous Estazolam withdrawal symptoms are more likely if you’ve been through depressant withdrawal before. If you’ve gone through withdrawal because of alcohol, other benzos, or barbiturates at least one other time, you may be more likely to experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms because of something called kindling.
Kindling is a neurological phenomenon where changes are made in the brain after a period of depressant withdrawal. These changes make subsequent withdrawal more intense, leading to seizures and delirium tremens.
If you start to experience Estazolam withdrawal symptoms, speak to a medical professional. Avoid quitting cold turkey until you’ve spoken to a professional.
Estazolam Abuse Statistics
- One in four Americans experiences acute insomnia every year.
- In 2016, 10,684 overdose deaths involved benzodiazepines, which was an 8-fold increase from the deaths in 2002.
- In 2013, 13.5 million adults filled benzodiazepine prescriptions, which was a 67 percent increase from the prescriptions in 1996.