What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription drugs that are used to treat issues like anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and many other health issues. These drugs slow down the central nervous system, slowing down heart rate and other body functions. Benzodiazepines are also known as “benzos” and can be obtained through a prescription or illegally on the streets. People often abuse benzodiazepines due to their relaxing and calming effects.
Several types of benzodiazepines are available today and they all work similarly, but some are known to treat certain issues much better than others. Some are known for having lesser side effects as well. Some of the most commonly abused benzos include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.
When abused or taken for an extended length of time, these drugs can be habit-forming. They may also produce life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Benzos are typically only prescribed for short-term use, but people who abuse their medications or purchase them illegally may take this medication for several months or years, until their addiction is out of their control.
Types of Benzodiazepine Drugs
There are many different types of benzodiazepines available. Some of the most common include:
- Triazolam: a medication more commonly recognized as Halcion that helps with insomnia and sleeping disorders.
- Alprazolam: this is commonly known as Xanax and is the most prescribed out of all benzodiazepines. It is also one of the most frequently abused. It is used for anxiety and panic disorders.
- Lorazepam: this is available as Ativan and used for sedation, seizures, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Clobazam: this drug is mostly prescribed for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and is sold under the name of Onfi.
- Clorazepate: it is used to control symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and is commonly known as Tranxene
- Temazepam: doctors often prescribe this for a very short time period; it is used in treating insomnia and is commonly known as Restoril.
- Chlordiazepoxide: this is known as Librax and helps relieve patients from anxiety.
- Diazepam: A medication that is sold under the brand name Valium and is one of the most abused benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepine Usage and Risks
Benzodiazepines are used to treat many legitimate medical conditions. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Benzodiazepines help reduce many symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. They can treat tremors, paranoia, and confusion. Benzodiazepines are given to the patient due to their sedative nature. Doctors usually prescribe long-acting benzodiazepines, such as Valium, to treat alcohol withdrawal. Patients will slowly taper off of benzodiazepines by reducing their dose until their symptoms go away.
Benzodiazepines can help reduce the symptoms of panic attacks; it does not cure them but provides the patient with some comfort. Panic disorders should also be treated with therapy because benzos may not be a suitable long-term option.
Benzodiazepines help slow down thought processes and body functions, allowing the body to relax. As a result, they are a suitable short-term treatment for insomnia.
The drug helps to ease stress and confusion. It can ease worries and a person may feel much better after taking a benzodiazepine medication.
Skeletal Muscle Tremors
These are often associated with back pain; Benzodiazepine helps the muscles to relax.
Additionally, it may also be used as a sedative during medical procedures.
Benzodiazepine Side Effects
Although benzodiazepines may make people feel calm and relaxed, they can cause side effects. Side effects may be more common in people who abuse these medications. Some of the most common Benzodiazepine side effects include
- Memory loss
- Impaired vision and coordination
If a person starts taking larger doses than prescribed or takes benzodiazepines illegally, they may develop an addiction to the drug. If it is used in copious amounts, this can result in fatality and overdose. Benzodiazepines can also cause an addict to enter a weird stage of amnesia; the person is unable to make new memories or recall recent events. Long-term usage of benzodiazepines is linked to impacting a person’s reasoning skills as well.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal and Treatment
When a person tries to control their consumption or quit taking the drug, they may face benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. It is considered best to visit a rehab center or a proper facility when trying to withdraw, as going cold turkey without supervision has many risks.
Common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms that are observed in patients include:
- Sleeping problems like insomnia
- Panic attacks
- Confusion and Anxiety
- Irregular heartbeat
- Fatigue and pain in muscles
When seeking treatment, it is best to slowly reduce the quantity of benzodiazepine consumption instead of quitting it altogether as that can be deadly. A person should always start the treatment with the directions and supervision of a trained professional. After the person goes through the detox process, they should also seek therapy.
Most outpatient treatments for this sort of addiction are usually unsuccessful as the patient is unable to control his cravings and might pressure friends and family to give them the drug. Other than that, friends and family might not be able to handle the symptoms that the person may experience.
If someone you know is suffering from benzodiazepine addiction, please ask them to seek help before it gets too late.
Our drug rehab center understands that addiction is painful and seeing your loved one suffer can take a toll on you; therefore, we are here to help you and your loved one out. We provide several addiction treatments and will cater to the needs of the patient. We believe that addiction can be cured and that recovery is possible if the patient is willing to work with us.
Feel free to give us a call or visit our center and we will ensure that you or your loved one can get the help you need.