Benzodiazepines, also known as Benzos, are psychoactive drugs used to treat many different conditions including anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, and even alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines include drugs such as Niravam, Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Halcion, Restoril, Tranxene, and Alprazolam. They work by making the nerves in the brain less sensitive to stimulation, creating a calming effect.
More About The Effects of Benzodiazepines
This drug works in the brain by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. This is a neurotransmitter that the brain’s nerves use to send messages to one another. Gamma-aminobutyric acid lessens the activity of nerves in the brain. When you add a benzodiazepine to the mix, the effect of GABA is heightened and reduces brain activity even more.
When benzodiazepines were first introduced to the medical community, they were meant to be a replacement for the addictive and dangerous barbiturates because they are similarly effective. However, due to their sedative properties, benzos also have a very high potential for abuse and addiction and treatment admissions involving benzo abuse have skyrocketed since their release.
What Are Benzodiazepines Used For?
Benzodiazepines are used for reducing anxiety and panic disorders because of their sedative properties. It reduces the central nervous system function like heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing, which all increase during the period of stress. As a result, drowsiness is one of the main side effects of benzodiazepine use and abuse.
Benzodiazepines Often Cause Drowsiness and Sleepiness
Benzodiazepines have even been known to be used as a sedative/hypnotic for sleep. Short-acting benzodiazepines are often used for combating insomnia because they produce drowsiness and sleep. Hypnotic benzodiazepines shorten the time it takes someone to fall asleep and prolong the sleep period. The benzos that were originally approved for insomnia include Restoril or Halcion but are not used as frequently anymore due to the availability of nonbenzodiazepines like Lunesta, Ambien, or Sonata. Benzodiazepines have a very high likelihood for abuse and addiction so the nonbenzodiazepine options are a safer choice.
Due to benzos’ interaction with the central nervous system, not only does it cause drowsiness, but it also interferes with a person’s memory and cognition when taken regularly or for long periods.
When abused, benzos also produce several other side effects as well. Some of then include:
- Physical weakness
- Mental confusion
- Vision problems
- Slowed reaction time
- Slurred speech
- Impaired motor coordination
- An increased need for sleep
Benzodiazepines should never be taken or prescribed long term because they change the way the brain functions, also known as dependence. Benzo dependence is a very serious long-term effect of regular benzo use and can cause harmful withdrawal symptoms. After someone has become dependent on this drug, and the drug is removed from the body, the brain will severely struggle to restore its normal balance.
This results in a very uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal process. Withdrawal symptoms can occur after as little as 1 month of use. If you or someone you love has a problem with benzodiazepine addiction and are ready to get sober the best way to start is by participating in a medically assisted detox.
Professional Help With Benzo Addiction
We offer many different treatment programs that provide therapeutic education and guidance for each individual to help them safely reintegrate into society. Addiction isn’t an easy thing to face. Luckily you do not have to face it on your own. Our admissions counselors and professionals are available around the clock. We are ready to help you or a loved one overcome the disease of addiction. Now is the time to change your life. Let Recreate Life Counseling help you do it.