Sleep is the most restorative function in human life. With a good night’s rest comes an abundance of health benefits, like improved immune function, enhanced mood, productivity, and the reduced risk of serious health complications. Yet, roughly 60 million Americans have insomnia. They have trouble falling and staying asleep. A lack of sufficient rest increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Other negative effects include a lack of productivity and alertness, which can result in diminished work or school performance and vehicular accidents.
For many, the most expedient solution to sleeplessness is medication. One of the most popularly prescribed sleep pills is the potent sedative-hypnotic Estazolam. Part of the benzodiazepines (“benzos”) class of drugs, estazolam induces feelings of calm and relaxation. It is intended as a short-term solution to insomnia. The problem is that users can develop a dependency on the drug. They may exceed the prescribed dosage or simply enjoy the euphoric effects that come from higher doses.
When users become dependent or start to abuse it recreationally, it increases their risk of incurring anxiety, sleep disorders, and seizures. When estazolam is consumed with alcohol, opioid medications or other central nervous system depressants, the outcome can be fatal.
What is Estazolam?
Estazolam has anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, and hypnotic properties. It is also used as a muscle relaxant. The drug is broadly classified as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. When estazolam is ingested, it acts on the brain by increasing the activity of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). This chemical inhibits brain activity and induces drowsiness and calm. This action is what helps sedate those afflicted with anxiety and sleepiness.
When used long-term, even under a doctor’s orders, a person can develop a tolerance and crave higher doses to get the desired effects. When taken recreationally and in large doses, users experience feelings similar to that of alcohol. Recreational users may also take the pill in unorthodox ways like crushing and snorting it. Side effects from estazolam include grogginess, slowed or uncoordinated movements, dizziness, drowsiness, changes in behavior, aggression, agitation, dry mouth, constipation, weakness, and muscle stiffness. When that dependency progresses to addiction, the journey toward recovery can become arduous and life-threatening.
What are the Signs of Addiction?
If you or a loved one has an estazolam addiction, there are signs and symptoms to watch for. While addiction to benzodiazepines can occur when taken as prescribed, it is far more common to happen with recreational use. Substance misuse can remain hidden for a spell, but the signs of addiction manifest over time.
If you suspect an addiction in yourself, a family member, or friend, look for the following signals:
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Strange sleep patterns
- Diminished performance at work or school
- Loss of coordination
- Lying about drug use
When you develop a tolerance to benzodiazepines, you will feel compelled to take larger doses. The hope is to recapture the feeling a previous dosage provided. That’s when dependency sets in, and attempts to stop taking estazolam proves futile. Your nervous system has come to rely on the drug because the brain no longer produces its natural chemicals.
After dependency comes addiction. This stage is marked by continued use of estazolam in the face of real-life consequences. One sure sign of addiction is persistent use of the drug after it has put you or someone else’s life in danger. If you hurt yourself or someone else in a car accident because of it, yet you continue to use, that is a surefire sign you are addicted.
Another aspect of addiction is that you are willing to compromise relationships with friends and family or perform poorly at work or school because of the drug. This is when medical recovery services become essential for you to kick your habit and reclaim the peace and normalcy that come with sobriety.
What is Involved in Addiction Treatment?
Once you have made that difficult yet necessary step of acknowledging your addiction, the first phase in 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 typically occur after a benzodiazepine addiction.
Licensed professionals and addiction specialists will assess vitals and manage any health complications that occur. You may also receive medications to address your withdrawal symptoms. At this stage, the medical staff may also decide to gradually reduce your dosage of estazolam and switch you over to another benzodiazepine to ease your detoxification.
Clinicians will then help you determine the next step toward your recovery. Because addiction often requires long-term, personal care, it is imperative that you undergo comprehensive therapy. If your addiction is severe, it is recommended that you enter a residential treatment program. In this program, you will live at our facility and have access to counseling and therapy, which helps you identify the root causes of your addiction.
You will be in a safe environment that is monitored for 24 hours. You will also learn cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that will help you identify the negative, false, and distorted thinking behind your dependency. Most importantly, you will also gain the coping skills to correct those patterns. Residential treatment ranges from 30 days to 90 days.
If your addiction is considered mild, a medical team may recommend outpatient treatment. At this phase, you will be allowed to return home and attend therapy several times a week for three to four hours a day and participate in mandatory drug screenings.
Whether you go the inpatient or outpatient route, you will receive the therapy and necessary strategies that will help you remain sober, ultimately affording you a smooth transition back into normal life.
How Dangerous is Estazolam?
Even though estazolam is a prescribed medication, it is by no means harmless. To obtain the medication, you must meet a rigorous set of criteria. What’s more, taking the drug as prescribed can still lead to dependency and addiction. When estazolam is abused, it produces effects similar to alcohol intoxication. After taking estazolam, it is possible to partake in an activity that you may not know you are doing because you are not fully awake when doing it. It is also possible that you may not remember what you did the next morning. 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
Mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol, opioids, or other drugs will not only lead to overdose, it can kill you. Polydrug use where estazolam is abused with other substances can slow down your breathing considerably. This can lead to coma, brain damage, and death. Benzo withdrawal after extended use can also be fatal.
- In 2015, Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies like estazolam.
- There were 10,684 overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines in 2016, an eightfold increase from 2002.
- Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults filling benzodiazepine prescriptions increased 67%, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million.