What is a Benzodiazepine?
A benzodiazepine is a psychoactive sedative used in medicine to treat a variety of disorders. Generally approved for short-term use, benzodiazepines are used in severe cases, mostly due to its addictive qualities.
Benzodiazepines are classified as immediate-acting, short-acting, and long-acting. Short and immediate-acting benzodiazepines are often used in the treatment of seizures and insomnia, while the long-acting are reserved for anxiety disorders.
For Which Conditions Are Benzodiazepine Used?
Here are some medical conditions in which this drug can be prescribed:
The FDA has not approved benzodiazepines in long term use of any disorder, as its addictive potential is too high, and the withdrawal symptoms are too harsh. A list of common benzodiazepines is:
- Lorazepam: Short-acting benzodiazepine
- Alprazolam: Immediate-acting benzodiazepine
- Chlordiazepoxide: Long-acting benzodiazepine
- Clonazepam: Short-acting benzodiazepine
- Diazepam: Immediate-acting benzodiazepine
Benzodiazepines have a high risk of causing a dependency to develop. Addiction is classified by both a psychological and physical dependency upon a drug. Although dependency may develop amongst prescribed users, addiction generally only develops amongst recreational users.
The most common abusers of benzodiazepines are those who also abuse other drugs. Poly-substance abusers are in great danger while using benzodiazepines, as the depression of the nervous system may be fatal in combination with other drugs.
Symptoms Of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Abuse of benzodiazepine becomes evident from several psychological and physical symptoms. By noticing the signs and taking online drug addiction tests timely can save a person from lots of trouble. These symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- State of coma
- Breathing problem
- Impaired mental state
- Slurred speech
You need to contact a specialist or go to a nearby treatment center if any severe symptom emerges.
Side-Effects Of Benzodiazepine
Benzodiazepines can cause many negative side effects, especially after prolonged use. The long term effects of benzodiazepines may be irreversible in some cases. Studies have showed users experience following side-effects after benzodiazepine abuse:
- Memory impairment
- Decreased cognitive function
- Loss of sex drive for years
As a person develops a psychological dependency upon the euphoria and sedation created by benzodiazepines, tolerance builds, and a physical dependency takes shape. A physical dependency is the body’s reaction to having a constant intake of benzodiazepines. The lack of benzodiazepines in the brain can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, and death if untreated.
If an addict does not get this drug or treatment gets stopped due to any reason, the patient may display withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines may include:
More severe withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Panic attacks
- Respiratory depression
- Severe depression and suicidal thoughts
- Convulsions and delirium tremens.
Dangers Of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Benzodiazepine withdrawal is very similar in appearance to alcohol withdrawal. Both substances affect the GABA receptors. Like alcohol, benzodiazepine withdrawal may be fatal if not treated appropriately.
The first step towards a sober lifestyle is admitting yourself to a medical detox facility. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be life-threatening and psychologically and physically painful. At a detox facility, doctors may prescribe a longer acting benzodiazepine such as Librium or Valium in order to ease withdrawal symptoms. The doctors are trained to make the withdrawal process as painless as it can be.
Detox is a great way to rid your body of substances, but further treatment is generally required if the individual wishes to remain sober. Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers offer:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Twelve step recovery program
These programs help the recovering addict in the right direction. Transitional living houses have also proved to be helpful, as most addicts require continual progress in order to maintain their sobriety.