Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that affect the central nervous system. These medications are used to treat a number of illnesses, including anxiety, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines work properly by preventing excessive nerve activity in the brain and other central nervous system regions. It should only be used temporarily because they have a high potential for addiction. Benzodiazepine dependence typically results in withdrawal symptoms, requiring careful medication administration when prescribed. These drugs are typically safe and efficient when taken for a brief period of time, but prolonged use can result in tolerance, dependence, and other negative effects.
There are different types of benzodiazepines, and they have different uses.
- alprazolam (Xanax)
- diazepam (Valium)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- midazolam (Versed)
It can be dangerous to use too many Benzodiazepines and mix them with alcohol or other substances.
What Are Benzodiazepines Used For?
Benzodiazepines are used to treat several conditions, including:
Anxiety disorders: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all included in this (PTSD).
Convulsive disorders: Benzodiazepines can aid in the treatment of seizures caused by conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy.
Sleep disorders: Sometimes it is used to treat insomnia and other sleep issues.
How do benzodiazepines work?
Benzodiazepines work in the central nervous system by selectively occupying specific protein areas in the brain known as GABA-A receptors. GABA receptors are classified into three types in the brain: GABA-A, GABA-B, and GABA-C. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain (a chemical that helps to block a nerve action). GABA helps in the regulation of movement, vision, anxiety, and a variety of other brain functions. Benzodiazepines open GABA-activated chloride channels, allowing chloride ions to enter the neuron. This action causes the neuron to become negatively charged and resistant to excitation, resulting in sedative, or anti-seizure activity seen with these drugs.
Risks related to benzodiazepine use:
Tolerance means that you need more drugs to achieve the same effect over time. Stopping benzodiazepines for a few days and then restarting at the same dose may increase your chances of overdosing. This happened because you lose your tolerance when you stop taking it, even if only for a few days. It is risky to combine benzodiazepines with other depressants such as alcohol and/or opioids. These substances have sedative properties, and combining them increases the risk of overdose. As we know that benzodiazepines are sedatives, if you overdose on benzodiazepines and opioids, you may remain unconscious for several hours even after receiving naloxone.
Long-term effects of benzodiazepines:
Using benzodiazepines on a regular basis can lead to significant health problems, including:
- impaired thinking or memory loss
- anxiety and depression
- irritability and aggression
- personality change
- weakness, lethargy, and lack of motivation
- drowsiness, sleepiness, and fatigue
- difficulty sleeping or disturbing dreams
- skin rashes and weight gain
- withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines:
Benzodiazepines can cause physical dependence whether taken with or without a prescription. You might experience withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop taking them or take a much lower dose than usual.
Symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
- muscle pain
- stomach pain
- trouble sleeping
Less common symptoms include:
- extreme anxiety
- shaking and sweating
- hallucinations and losing touch with reality
Memory problems with benzodiazepines
Memory issues can occur for some people when taking benzodiazepines. The challenges you experience while taking the medication are probably related to your ability to retain new memories. You won’t likely lose track of old memories as a result of them. If you can’t guarantee that you can rest soundly through the entire night, your doctor may not prescribe benzodiazepines to help you fall asleep. Sleeping for seven to eight hours is typically required for this. This is due to the way your mind processes memories to be stored while you sleep. Some benzodiazepines have the ability to impair this process.
Paradoxical effects of benzodiazepines:
Benzodiazepines can have unintended consequences. These are known as ‘paradoxical’ effects. They include:
- aggressive behavior
- delusions (strongly held beliefs that other people don’t share)
- feeling out of touch with reality
How to Treat Benzodiazepine Misuse:
A detox program is the most effective way to treat benzodiazepine dependence and misuse. Quitting cold turkey can cause physical and mental stress due to higher withdrawal symptoms. If you’ve been taking benzodiazepines on a regular basis for even a month, stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms. Patients may also experience a rebound effect, in which their anxiety, sleeplessness, or restlessness worsen for a few days after discontinuing the medication.
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As a result, it is best to collaborate closely with a physician, psychiatrist, or other medical providers to implement a detox program, which entails a gradual and controlled decrease in benzodiazepine use. Each person’s body reacts differently, it’s critical to tailor the detox program to the individual and closely monitor progress. Detoxification can take several days to some weeks depending on the individual and their usage.
Medical detox and Crestone wellness clinic:
Medical detox is most commonly used by those who have established a severe addictive behavior to and physical addiction to a drug. In these situations, quitting without professional help can be risky, if not dangerous. Alcohol and benzodiazepines are especially dangerous drugs to quit without medical assistance. Other drugs, such as opioids, are associated with extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that are best managed in the context of a medical detox program.
Detoxing from alcohol is affected by a variety of factors, including how long you’ve been drinking, how frequently you drink, other co-occurring disorders (such as anxiety or depression), how many times you’ve tried to quit, and others. The detox phase is essential when treating Substance abuse. It can even be dangerous or even fatal if you do not have adequate medical care. Crestonedetox care is the solution. Crestondetox can offer you 24-hour support and medical treatment to ensure that you are as safe and comfortable as possible during the detox process.