Substance Abuse – Sedatives, Hypnotics, Anxiolytics | Pacific Solstice


Sedative-Related Disorders, Hypnotic-Related Disorders or Anxiolytic-Related Disorders


At Pacific Solstice, Orange County’s Premier Addiction Outpatient Rehab, we know that many people who suffer from Sedative, Hypnotic and Anxiolytic- Related Disorders did not set out to be addicted or abuse these drugs, but rather used these medication to manage sleep and anxiety related issues, as well as the effects of other substances (i.e. alleviate the unwanted symptoms of cocaine). This drug classification includes all prescription sleeping medication and almost all prescription anti-anxiety medications. This includes benzodiazepines (benzos), benzodiazepine-like substances (zaleplon, zolpidem), carbamates, barbituates, and barbiturate-like substances. Whether you started abusing these drugs in your teen years or early 20s or developed a need of these drugs after a doctor prescribed you these drugs, please know at Pacific Solstice, our outpatient treatment can help you or your loved one get your life back. Lastly, please note that as well educated and trained mental health and substance abuse clinicians, we borrow our information and research from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-V) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to define the different types and descriptions of OUD.

Benzodiazepines can provide effective treatment for anxiety and sleep conditions; however, benzodiazepines can be abused and this abuse can lead to dependency, injury and even death. “The misuse of benzodiazepines along with other prescription drugs is fueling the rise of treatment admissions,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “Prescription drug misuse is dangerous and can even be deadly.”


According to the DSM-V, there are 11 symptoms of Sedative-, Hypnotic-, or Anxiolytic-Related Disorders and in order for a person to be diagnosed with this disorder, he or she must have two of the following symptoms in the past 12 months.

  • Larger amounts of the drug (i.e. benzodiazepine) are used over a longer period of time than the individual originally intended. (“I can’t believe I have to get another ‘script’ already.”)
  • Although there is a desire to control the use of the drug, efforts usually prove to be unsuccessful and do not last. (“I am only going to take four benzos today.”)
  • More and more of the user’s waking hours are either used to get high or recover from its effects. (“I have to find yet another doctor who will prescribes me more benzos.”)
  • A person experiences an intense need to use. (“If I don’t get more, I am going to be sick.”)
  • The drug use interferes in a person’s ability to function at home and in work. (“I fell asleep and forgot.”)
  • Someone continues to use even though their using has caused personal problems, such as marital problems, conflicts with children or parents, and peer problems. (Your partner says, “It is either me or those damn pills!”)
  • Activities in the workplace, at home or with friends are missed as a result of using. (“I was so out of it, I just forgot.”)
  • Using causes an individual to be in harm’s way. (“What happened? I fell asleep.”)
  • A person continues to use even though they have physical or psychological issues with using. A person needs more and more of the drug to get high or a person appears less high when using the same amount of the drug that previously caused them to be high. (“I need more…”)
  • There are symptoms of withdrawal, such as autonomic hyperactivity (sweating/pulse higher than 100bpm), hand tremor, insomnia, nausea/vomiting, hallucinations, psychomotor agitation, anxiety and grand male seizures. (“I have to get more benzos before I am sick!”)

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