Sedative-hypnotic drugs, also known as depressants, and anxiolytic (antianxiety) drugs work to slow down brain activity. The most well-known among these are benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax. An older class of drugs known as barbiturates also falls under this general category.
Misuse or dependence on sedative medications can lead to substance use disorders and become a very dangerous problem. If you or a loved one are struggling with sedative addiction or abuse, it’s important that you know the signs, symptoms, and treatment for sedative use disorder.
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Read on to learn more about sedative use disorder and how to recognize and get treatment for this issue.
Symptoms of Sedative Use Disorder
A problematic pattern of sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use is characterized by the presentation of at least two of the following criteria within a 12-month period:
- Taking more of the medication than planned or using it for longer than originally intended.
- Trying and failing to moderate or discontinue use of sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics.
- Spending a lot of time obtaining and using the medication or recovering from its effects.
- Cravings for the medication manifesting.
- Failing to meet personal or professional role obligations due to substance use.
- Continued use of the medication even though it is causing or inflaming problems in your closest relationships.
- Giving up or reducing important activities due to substance use.
- Ongoing use of the medication in physically dangerous situations, such as driving or operating machinery.
- Continued use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem likely caused or worsened by the substance.
- Tolerance, meaning that more of the medication is required to deliver the initial effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms presenting upon discontinuation.
Criteria related to tolerance and withdrawal are not considered for individuals taking these substances under medical supervision, according to DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
Sedative Hypnotic and Anxiolytic Use Disorder
Sedative hypnotic use disorder typically develops as a result of prolonged and excessive consumption of substances within this category. Individuals may initially use these medications as prescribed for anxiety, sleep disorders, or other medical conditions. Over time, however, some people may find themselves relying on these substances beyond their intended use, either due to developing a tolerance or seeking the calming effects they provide.
The development of sedative, hypnotic, and anxiolytic use disorder is often accompanied by a range of behavioral and psychological signs. Individuals may struggle to control or reduce their substance use, leading to conflicts in various aspects of their lives. The continuous need for higher doses to achieve the desired effects, coupled with unsuccessful attempts to quit, contributes to the development and persistence of the disorder.
Addressing sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder typically involves a multifaceted approach. Treatment may begin with a comprehensive assessment by a healthcare professional to determine the severity of the disorder and any underlying mental health conditions. Behavioral therapies, counseling, and support groups are commonly employed to help people modify their patterns of substance use and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Medical supervision is crucial during the treatment process, especially when managing withdrawal symptoms. Gradual tapering of the sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic under the guidance of a healthcare provider helps minimize potential withdrawal effects. Additionally, supportive therapies that focus on stress management, anxiety reduction, and improving overall well-being play a crucial role in the recovery process.
As sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic use disorder often involves complex psychological factors, addressing the root causes is essential for long-term success. Therapeutic interventions may include CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to identify and modify dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors associated with substance use. Family therapy and support networks also contribute to a holistic approach, fostering a positive environment for recovery.
Recovery from sedative, hypnotic, and anxiolytic use disorder is an ongoing process that requires commitment and active participation. Continuous monitoring, follow-up care, and relapse prevention strategies are integral components of sustaining recovery and promoting a healthier lifestyle.
What are sedatives?
Sedatives are medications prescribed to treat central nervous system-related problems like anxiety, insomnia etc. They help relax and calm people who take them.
Which medications are considered sedatives?
Medications considered sedatives include benzodiazepines, hypnotics, and barbiturates.
How is sedative use disorder diagnosed?
Sedative use disorder is diagnosed by healthcare professionals based on criteria illustrated in the psychiatric handbook DSM-5. Reach out to an addiction counselor or therapist if you’re seeking diagnosis.
Get Treatment for Sedative Use Disorder at California Detox
If you have developed a sedative use disorder and need help recalibrating your life, California Detox in Laguna Beach offers tailored treatment programs to meet your needs.
Embark on a seamless journey to inpatient or outpatient rehab via our supervised medical detox program. Benefit from the use of medications to streamline withdrawal and alleviate cravings, providing a supportive foundation for your recovery. After detox, consider transitioning directly into our inpatient program for comprehensive residential rehabilitation.
All California Detox treatment programs prioritize individualized care, merging evidence-based interventions with holistic therapies for a comprehensive approach to sedative addiction recovery. Treatments may include:
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Individual therapy
- Psychotherapies (CBT or DBT)
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Aftercare and support
For immediate assistance and a personalized approach to sedative addiction recovery, call our admissions team at 949.694.8305.