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What Are Benzodiazepines?
These are a large class of psychoactive drugs which are generally prescribed for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety disorders, and several other conditions. They are very addictive and are strong central nervous system depressants. They give users feelings of relaxation and sedation and if abused, are very dangerous. There is an increase in benzodiazepine addiction as a result of these feelings of relaxation derived from it.
Benzodiazepines are prescribed by 20 countries with the U.S. being one, with 15 types of the drug being prescribed by the U.S. They use short-acting ones to sedate patients or help them fall asleep before surgery. They include Halcion, Versed, Restoril and ProSom. Anxiety is treated by longer-lasting benzodiazepines such as Librium, Ativan, Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.
Types of Benzodiazepines
- Bromazepam – A benzodiazepine used to alleviate anxiety prior to surgery and to treat anxiety issues in the short run.
- Alprazolam – Alprazolam which is commonly known as Xanax (brand name) is the most common benzodiazepine prescribed in the U.S. This drug is approved by the FDA for treating panic disorders and anxiety.
- Brotizolam – This drug is very potent with hypnotic and anticonvulsant properties. It starts acting rapidly and is mostly used for the treatment of severe insomnia. Canada, Britain or the United States have not yet approved this drug.
- Clorazepate – A hypnotic, sedative drug which is used in treating severe insomnia and anxiety disorders.
- Chlordiazepoxide – A substance used for managing alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
- Flunitrazepam – Flunitrazepam commonly known as Rohypnol (brand name) is for treating severe chronic insomnia in the short-term. Unfortunately, it’s also popular for its improper use as a date rape drug as it causes amnesia.
- Clonazepam – Clonazepam commonly known as Klonopin (brand name) is a very strong hypnotic, anticonvulsant sedative. It acts long-term and its half-life is between 20-50 hours. FDA has approved it for treating epilepsy and panic disorders.
- Diazepam – Diazepam commonly known as Valium (brand name) is used in treating alcohol withdrawal, panic attacks, insomnia, and seizures. It’s a sedative which acts fast.
- Lorazepam – Lorazepam commonly known as Ativan, is a very strong drug which has sedative and muscle relaxation properties. It is used to treat severe anxiety in the short-term.
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How Do They Work in the Brain?
Benzodiazepines work in the brain similar to alcohol. The transmission of the neurotransmitter GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) is enhanced by them and the activity of nerves in the brain and spinal cord is controlled by this neurotransmitter. GABA’s function is to slow and calm things down. GABA levels in the brain are increased by benzodiazepines thereby decreasing activity in the spinal cord and brain and increasing feelings of relaxation and calmness.
Their immediate soothing effects start wearing off with time as is the case with other narcotics and some persons take more than the amount prescribed to get the same effect which they had before. Patients develop a tolerance in such instances and this puts them at a great risk of overdose and other medical issues.
These drugs are usually meant to be used in the short-term because of their intense effects and are very addictive when taken according to prescription. It is unfortunate that a lot of persons prescribed start taking more than prescribed which usually leads to physical dependence on the drug. Benzodiazepine addiction is usually the result and this may remain untreated.
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Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction
Benzodiazepines being powerful depressants tend to have a huge effect on someone’s physical appearance and behavior. Symptoms of abuse are highly dependent on the quantities of drugs the addict uses, the frequency of use, and the length of use. Benzodiazepine addiction and abuse have symptoms such as:
- Unusual sleeping habits
- Doctor shopping – visiting many doctors to get more prescriptions
- Isolating from family and friends
- Lack of coordination
- Double vision
- Dramatic weight loss
- Slurred speech
- Change in personality
- Hindered reaction time
- Symptoms of Amnesia
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Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Painful physical and psychological side effects from withdrawal will be exhibited by persons suffering from benzodiazepine addiction if usage is abruptly stopped. If not well treated, benzodiazepine withdrawal’s side effects may be life-threatening as is the case with alcohol. Medical attention should be sought immediately by you or a loved one if signs of withdrawal are evident. Benzodiazepine withdrawal has the following signs:
- Severe anxiety
- Shakiness or tremors
- Major depression
- Nausea and vomiting
Medical Effects of Long-Term Abuse
Benzodiazepine addiction has long-term effects which can be troubling in all areas of one’s life. Rebound anxiety may be experienced by many persons abusing these drugs, where the use of the drug will result in an opposite effect and lead to high anxiety levels. Chronic benzodiazepine abuse causes other problems such as:
- Sexual problems
- Permanent brain damage
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Memory problems
Contact us via the number 1-866-677-0090 now if you know anyone who is a victim of drug or alcohol abuse and needs benzodiazepine addiction treatment. Our knowledgeable and reliable staff will get to you promptly. Visit Our Homepage.
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