Are Benzos (BZ) Good For Alcohol Addicts?

Are Benzos (BZ) Good For Alcohol Addicts?


Whether we like it or not, most alcohol addicts are required to administer BZ at some point in time during their alcohol rehab. This administration is mostly legitimate (or prescribed) and approved by a certified health professional. However, the medical community is still divided on the use of BZ on alcohol addicts to treat addiction.

What Others Say

Most “purists” believe that BZ administration to treat addiction is nothing more than using one substance to do away with another. To make matters more confusing, not too much medical research has been carried out with respect to BZ use. Most psychiatrists simply use it because they have been using it for a long time.

There have, however, been a few research papers that have had an impact on the way BZ has traditionally been administer.

Research published back in 1988 were able to prove that BZ administration is being abused by a number of alcohol addicts and using BZ is nothing more than transferring addiction from one substance onto another. However, the usefulness of BZ has not been ruled out in these research articles. The research could decisively conclude that about 1/3rd of alcohol addicts who were being administered BZ are known to have abused it. However, whether the abuse led to another addiction has not been established yet.  

A few recent studies have challenged another interesting theory: that alcohol addicts get a high from BZ administration and such a high may not be felt by non-alcohol addicts. These studies have been quite inconclusive in establishing a clear relationship between BZ abuse and BZ addiction, however, they do suggest that BZ administration can lead to dopamine secretion. Dopamine is a hormone responsible for transmitting “pleasure” signals to the brain. The extent and severity of dopamine secretion on consumption of a substance also determines whether a person becomes addicted to that substance or not.

My Personal Opinion

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So, that brings us to the original question: Do we administer BZ to alcohol addicts or not? In my personal opinion, I side with the ideology of the “purists” as opposed to the “rationalists”. I believe that administering a substance to get over addiction of another substance is nothing but mere foolery. We are cheating ourselves into believing that the patient is free from addiction; while in reality the patient may get addicted to a totally different substance altogether.

The “rationalists” however, have a different take on BZ use for treating alcohol addiction. Most doctors who prescribe BZ believe that there is no proof that alcoholics get addicted to BZ in the first place. Moreover, they argue that addiction and withdrawal symptoms of BZ are way less severe as compared to those of alcohol addiction. In my opinion, choosing the lesser of the two evils will not eliminate addiction: addiction is a psychological process and recovery from addiction should be implemented at the cognitive level only.

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