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Is Your Alcoholic Spouse Taking Benzodiazepines?

Posted May 16 2010 10:41am

Is your alcoholic husband or alcoholic wife taking Xanax or Klonopin? Both these medications are in class of drugs known as the benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs) and they are addicting. If combined with alcohol, the effects of these drugs intensify and someone can have a fatal overdose.

Common drugs in this class are Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, and Ativan. They are anti-anxiety drugs. As a psychiatrist that specializes in addiction, I will not prescribe these addicting drugs to anyone with an alcohol problem for 3 major reasons:

  • Your alcoholic spouse will abuse the drug by increasing the dose prescribed at their own discretion.
  • This class of drugs is a known trigger to the brain for triggering an alcoholic relapse.
  • At high enough doses in combination with alcohol, your alcoholic husband or alcoholic wife could die of an overdose.

Many patients I treat have gotten these medications from other doctors by not telling them they are an alcoholic. This is very common. Many doctors give 3-6 refills and don’t monitor their patients closely.I find this inexcusable.

A person with an anxiety disorder and no substance abuse RARELY abuses the benzodiazepines. However, anxiety disorders are quite common in alcoholism and alcoholics AMOST ALWAYS abuse these medications. If your alcoholic spouse is suffering from anxiety and is self-medicating with alcohol and benzodiazepines, there are many non- addicting medications that are equally effective and a much better choice in this situation.

The newer anti-depressants are very effective for anxiety, are not addicting, and therefore are excellent choices for treating anxiety in someone with an alcohol problem. If your alcoholic wife or alcoholic husband is getting benzodiazepines from their doctor, you should call their doctor and let them know you have an alcoholic spouse and encourage the doctor to refer them to a psychiatrist knowledgeable about addiction.

(If you want additional help turning your marriage around click here to register for my free report on, “The 5 Most Effective Ways To Turn Your Marriage Around To Your Alcoholic Spouse. It may save your family’s life. The information in this report gives you very simple strategies that could very well save your marriage).

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