Flunitrazepam Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, Withdrawal Risks & Treatment
Flunitrazepam is a benzodiazepine commonly known on the streets as “roofies” and sold under the brand name Rohypnol. Flunitrazepam carries a high risk for addiction, and can be deadly when combined with substances such as alcohol and heroin.
Understanding Flunitrazepam Abuse
Flunitrazepam is banned from the U.S., and only prescribed in Western Europe and Latin America to treat health conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Flunitrazepam, also known as a club and date rape drug, is fast-acting and up to 10 times stronger than diazepam. The drug produces effects including muscle relaxation, drowsiness, and memory loss.
Flunitrazepam is often sold on the streets at different potency levels. Those who use flunitrazepam experience an intense high, along with feelings of extreme relaxation, reduced anxiety, and slowed reflexes. These effects make the drug highly prone to abuse, especially when users turn to flunitrazepam to escape or self-medicate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Many who use flunitrazepam can quickly develop a tolerance to the drug due to its high potency level and fast-acting effects. Those who develop a tolerance to flunitrazepam require higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to achieve the same high. This can lead to physical dependence and psychological addiction, which can be effectively treated at drug rehab centers.
Signs and Symptoms of Flunitrazepam Abuse
Flunitrazepam abuse can be relatively easy to spot due to the effects this deadly benzodiazepine has on the body and brain. Those who abuse this drug may neglect important life responsibilities to dedicate more time in their lives to using flunitrazepam, obtaining flunitrazepam, and recovering from flunitrazepam use.
Common signs and symptoms of flunitrazepam abuse are:
- Extreme relaxation
- Extreme sleepiness
- Blurred vision
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Loss of inhibitions
- Loss of consciousness
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Lying and secretive behavior
- Loss of relationships, jobs, and finances
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when quitting
- Experiencing cravings
- Using flunitrazepam despite existing health problems
- Developing a tolerance to flunitrazepam
Dangers & Risk Factors Associated with Flunitrazepam Abuse
One of the most dangerous effects of flunitrazepam is amnesia, which is why the drug is commonly known as the date rape drug. Those who use flunitrazepam experience memory loss and loss of inhibitions, and often cannot recall moments from the night before. This increases a person’s risk for physical assault and death, especially when combined with the drug’s powerful sedative effects.
Flunitrazepam also poses many other health risks when abused or used long-term. When combined with other illicit substances such as methamphetamine, heroin, and LSD, the risk for overdose, coma, and death increases.
Serious health risks associated with flunitrazepam abuse are:
- Impairment in balance
- Respiratory depression
- Hypotonia (reduced muscle strength)
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Cognitive impairment
Impairment in balance increases the risk for accidents, while respiratory depression can lead to loss of consciousness, coma, or death. Another serious risk associated with flunitrazepam abuse is the risk for addiction. Addiction can interfere with your health, happiness, and overall livelihood, and be difficult to overcome without getting help and treatment at a local addiction treatment center.
Who’s At Risk of Flunitrazepam Abuse & Addiction?
Anyone who uses flunitrazepam is at risk for abuse and addiction due to the drug’s fast-acting effects and its ability to trigger tolerance. Those who become tolerant to flunitrazepam often become physically dependent on the drug, and experience difficulty with quitting on behalf of strong cravings and severe withdrawal symptoms. You may be at especially high risk for flunitrazepam abuse and addiction if you also abuse alcohol and other substances.
Those at risk for flunitrazepam addiction may meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Having a personal history of drug abuse or addiction
- Having a family history of drug abuse or addiction
- Suffering from one or more mental health disorders (anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD)
- Having a history of trauma or abuse
- Being surrounded by negative influences at home
- Suffering chronic stress
- Having problems with career, education, or family
- Abusing large doses of flunitrazepam for a long period of time
Flunitrazepam abuse can lead to full-blown addiction when you become physically dependent on the drug and need high doses in order to feel normal. You may also become mentally addicted to flunitrazepam when you use the drug to self-medicate for co-occurring psychological disorders such as depression or OCD.
Flunitrazepam addiction can lead to problems with your career, finances, and education. Addiction can also lead to loss of relationships, and problems at home with your family. Since flunitrazepam is an illicit substance in the U.S., using the drug can lead to problems with the law and incarceration.
Fortunately, flunitrazepam addiction treatment can help you quit using this illicit party drug so you can achieve a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle free of drug use. Addiction treatment helps you overcome the physiological and psychological aspects of flunitrazepam addiction so you can stay clean for life after completing treatment.
Am I Addicted to Flunitrazepam?
When you’re caught up in addiction, you may not know you have a problem with addiction until it’s too late. Signs you may be addicted to flunitrazepam include cravings and withdrawal symptoms upon quitting, and neglecting important life responsibilities in favor of flunitrazepam use.
If you use flunitrazepam and suspect you might have a problem with addiction, ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you should get help.
- Do I experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms when not using flunitrazepam?
- Have I been gradually increasing my doses of flunitrazepam?
- Have I been using flunitrazepam more frequently than in the past?
- Do I make excuses to use flunitrazepam?
- Do I use alcohol and other substances with flunitrazepam?
- Is flunitrazepam use interfering with my career, family, and education?
- Have I tried quitting flunitrazepam in the past?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from flunitrazepam abuse or addiction. Your next step is to speak with an addiction treatment counselor about your options for nearby drug rehab centers that can help.
Flunitrazepam Addiction Treatment Options
Flunitrazepam addiction is usually treated using detoxification, counseling, and aftercare. Detoxification helps you safely withdraw from flunitrazepam, while counseling helps you identify and manage behaviors that led to addiction in the first place. Aftercare programs help you stay clean in the months and years following treatment using 12-step support groups, counseling, and ongoing addiction education.
The best drug rehab centers will customize addiction treatments just for you based on your personal addiction level, history with addiction, and unique recovery needs. If you’re struggling with a years-long addiction to flunitrazepam, you may undergo several weeks of individual and group counseling to overcome psychological addiction to this drug. If you’re addicted to alcohol or other drugs in addition to flunitrazepam, your detox and withdrawal process may involve using a combination of medications or other therapies that address these addictions.
Detoxification is often the first stage of flunitrazepam addiction treatment. Detox helps you overcome physical dependency on this drug so you no longer experience physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Medically supervised detox is considered one of the safest detox methods used to treat flunitrazepam addiction at most drug rehab centers.
Medical detox helps you safely and comfortably withdraw from flunitrazepam using medications that reduce or eliminate certain withdrawal symptoms. During medical detox, you or your loved one will be monitored by medical staff 24/7 to ensure you experience minimal health risks associated with withdrawal. For instance, you may be prescribed other less addictive benzodiazepines to minimize withdrawal symptoms, and lower the risk for deadly side effects such as seizures.
Flunitrazepam withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Tingling in extremities
- Heart failure
Detox from flunitrazepam usually takes a minimum of four days, and can last up to a week or more depending on the severity of your addiction. Some rehab centers offer therapies that complement the detox process and boost your immunity so you can recover more safely and quickly. Exercise, nutrition therapy, and yoga are examples of therapies that boost your overall health, and help you overcome physical dependency on flunitrazepam even sooner.
Recovering from flunitrazepam addiction at a drug rehab center is one of the safest and most effective ways to fully overcome addiction for good. Going to rehab allows you to overcome addiction as a whole, and establish a new, daily routine packed with healthy lifestyle activities. Your stay at rehab can last anywhere between 30 days and several months, depending on how long it takes you to complete flunitrazepam addiction treatment.
After completing flunitrazepam detox, your treatment will consist mainly of counseling sessions aimed at helping you overcome mental root causes of addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management therapy, and 12-step support groups like Narcotics Anonymous are designed to help you achieve lifelong sobriety. Behavioral counseling is often available to help you overcome co-occurring mental disorders that exist along with addiction, such as bipolar disorder and PTSD.
Rehabilitation can take place in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Inpatient drug rehab allows you to live at the facility for the duration of treatment, and offers a safe haven in which to recover away from drugs, alcohol, and negative influences. Inpatient drug rehab may be ideal for you if you’re suffering a severe and/or long-term addiction to flunitrazepam, and need help setting a new routine that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.
Outpatient drug rehab allows you to live at home for the duration of treatment, and visit the rehab clinic several times per week for treatment. Outpatient drug rehab may be ideal for you if you suffer a mild addiction to flunitrazepam, are also balancing work, school, and family, and have a strong network of supportive loved ones devoted to guiding you through recovery.