Tranquilizers are used to treat sleep disorders, and mental disorders such as anxiety and schizophrenia. Minor tranquilizers, which are a class of benzodiazepines that include Valium and Xanax, are effective for sleep disorder treatment. Major tranquilizers include powerful antipsychotics, such as Haldol and Thorazine. Barbiturates, such as Amytal and Seconal, are also used for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. Tranquilizers may be used to treat extreme forms of alcoholism, as the tranquilizer’s depressant effects mimic the effects of alcohol.
All classes and forms of these tranquilizers have proven efficacy through their ability to generate a tranquil state that replicates the initial stages of sedation. They also have a high potential for abuse, as individuals who are taking them slowly become inured to their sedative effects and require greater or more frequent doses to achieve the same sedation.
Somewhat paradoxically, when an individual becomes addicted to tranquilizers, they are likely to have an opposite effect. A tranquilizer addict can experience shakiness, rapid heartbeat and increased respiration. He may also experience memory loss and have difficulty concentrating on even simple tasks. Over a longer period of use, a person who has become addicted to tranquilizers will experience incidents of anger, aggressiveness, and severe depression. Ingestion of an extreme quantity of any tranquilizer can depress a person’s metabolism and body systems to the point of death.
Tranquilizer Addiction & Withdrawal
Withdrawal from tranquilizer addiction mirrors the physical withdrawal symptoms of other addictions. During the initial stages of tranquilizer withdrawal, an addict might suffer seizures, convulsions, chills, severe aches, nausea, sweats and hot flashes. These symptoms can last anywhere from six to thirty-six hours, and an addict who is suffering through physical withdrawal should be closely monitored by medical personnel to prevent any serious or long-term injuries. Following the initial withdrawal period, the addict will typically undergo behavioral recovery and rehab therapy to assist him in his efforts to refrain from further tranquilizer use.
Counselors and addiction recovery therapists will also generally need to address the underlying conditions that first catalyzed an individual’s use of tranquilizers. Alternative relaxation therapies may be used to treat sleep disorders. Mental or psychotic disorders will present a greater challenge. In certain limited cases, pharmacological treatments for this latter class of disorder might still be recommended after an individual has broken a tranquilizer addiction, yet counselors and therapists will need to carefully and constantly monitor the individual’s use of tranquilizers in this situation in order to prevent an addiction relapse.
Addictions to tranquilizers can occur at a psychological and physical level. If you have been taking tranquilizers for any condition for more than a few weeks, you should discuss your tranquilizer use with your physician to determine if that use should be reduced or suspended. In any case, if you believe that you would benefit from a more interventionist approach to your use of tranquilizers, please call the counselors and therapists at the Last Resort Recovery Center (near Austin, Texas) at 512-360-3600 for more information and assistance on how we can help you. We offer private and confidential consultations to help individuals with addiction problems to recover from those problems and to maintain a clear path away from tranquilizer use and addiction.