What is Benzodiazepines
The primary purpose of the pharmacological class known as benzodiazepines is to alleviate anxiety in both children and adults. In addition, people who suffer from illnesses like sleeplessness and panic attack disorder can also profit from them. Benzodiazepines should not be taken with alcohol, opioid medications, or any other benzodiazepine due to this possibly fatal outcome unless your doctor has determined that the advantages outweigh the dangers in your specific circumstance.
Benzodiazepines aid in treating issues like:
- Problems with sleeping (Insomnia- acute and chronic).
- Rapid-fire thoughts.
- Uncommon chattiness.
- Elevated activity.
- General anesthesia.
- Agitation brought on by alcohol withdrawal and drugs.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Panic attacks.
- Sedation is used before surgery or diagnostic tests.
- Muscle relaxation.
How Benzodiazepines Function
Gamma-aminobutyric acid sometimes referred to as benzos, downers, nerve pills, and tranks, is a neurotransmitter that benzodiazepines affect by improving your brain’s sensitivity to (GABA).
Your brain’s nerve signals become less excitable and move more slowly, calming down some physiological and emotional responses. A soothing, tranquilizing feeling is the outcome.
Benzodiazepines have characteristics that make them effective in addressing various medical issues. They also have sedative (relaxing), hypnotic (sleep-inducing), and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties. They can also operate as muscle relaxants and an anticonvulsant.
Different Types of Benzodiazepines and Why it’s Prescribed:
- Diazepam: anxiety, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasms, or certain epileptic seizures.
- Lorazepam: Anxiety.
- Alprazolam (Xanax): anxiety or panic attack disorder.
- Chlordiazepoxide: anxiety or symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
- Clonazepam: seizures or panic attack disorder.
- Temazepam: short-term treatment of insomnia (7 to 10 days).
- Triazolam: short-term treatment of insomnia (7 to 10 days).
The median half-life of short-acting medications is 1 to 12 hours. One example of a short-acting medication is triazolam.
The typical half-life of intermediate-acting medications ranges from 12 to 40 hours. Alprazolam, clonazepam, and lorazepam are a few examples.
The typical half-life of long-acting medications ranges from 40 to 250 hours. Diazepam and chlordiazepoxide are two examples.
The following are the most common adverse effects of benzodiazepines:
- Temporary tiredness is frequently felt in the first few days of treatment.
- Losing one’s bearings.
- Sleep disruption.
- Impairment of memory.
Physical dependency is a risk with all benzodiazepines. After a few months of daily therapy, abruptly ceasing therapy may result in withdrawal symptoms like irritability, sleeplessness, and a sense of losing one’s worth.
When taking benzodiazepines continuously for over a few months, abruptly ceasing treatment can result in seizures, tremors, muscle cramps, vomiting, and perspiration. The doses of benzodiazepines should be reduced gradually to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
There are two significant issues with benzodiazepine therapy:
- Misuse potential (overdosing).
- The emergence of physical dependence (addiction).
Although purposeful prescription benzodiazepine usage is infrequent in the general population, those with a history of drug abuse should be treated with greater caution because they are most likely to seek out benzodiazepines to feel “high.”
Benzodiazepines are rarely used recreationally on their own; instead, they are frequently combined with other substances to heighten their effects.
For instance, some opioids, a class of potent prescription painkillers, are mixed with benzodiazepines to increase the euphoric effects.
Due to their immediate effects, diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) are the most preferred drugs among abusers.
Most patients do not appear to experience problems with addiction, tolerance, or difficulty discontinuing the medicine when it is no longer required after using benzodiazepines for many months.
However, the likelihood of addiction, tolerance, and the onset of withdrawal symptoms with dose reduction or therapy cessation increases markedly after many months of use.
Abusers are more likely to experience adverse effects, such as:
- Slurred speech.
- Extreme drowsiness or coma.
- Slow heartbeat.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Extreme weakness.
In the long run, dementia, a brain disorder that involves a slow loss of memory and issues with language and movement functions, is more likely to harm benzodiazepine addicts.
The rapid cessation of benzodiazepine medication can cause withdrawal symptoms in certain patients.
High doses and prolonged benzodiazepine use are two factors that raise the risk and intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
Additionally, benzodiazepines with short elimination half-lives tend to cause withdrawal symptoms to start earlier.
The following are typical signs of benzodiazepine withdrawal:
- Insomnia issues.
- Tense muscles.
- Cloudy vision.
- Poor muscle coordination.
- Twitching or spasming of the muscles.
- Ringing in the ears.
A high benzodiazepine dose, protracted treatment, and concurrent use of drugs that reduce the seizure threshold all increase the chance of withdrawal seizures. Because benzodiazepine withdrawal may be fatal, prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential.
Intravenous benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), which tend to work over a longer time, are used to treat benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Overdose of benzodiazepines
When a person consumes enough benzodiazepines to cause a fatal reaction, this is referred to as an overdose.
Restlessness, tremors, overactive reflexes, quick breathing, disorientation, aggression, hallucinations, panic states, abnormally elevated fever, muscle pains, and weakness are among the symptoms that people most frequently encounter when they overdose on prescription benzodiazepines.
They might also experience circulatory failure, unusually high or low blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat that might cause a heart attack, and nerve issues that can cause a seizure.
An upset stomach can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping. In addition, an overdose may cause unconsciousness, poisoning, and convulsions.
Benzodiazepine overdose signs and symptoms could include:
- Altered state of mind.
- Difficulty walking.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Difficulty balancing.
- Unsteady speech.
- Breathing issues (primarily if another drug was used along with the benzodiazepines).
Cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management are two behavioral therapies that can be useful in assisting people in stopping the usage of prescription benzodiazepines.
Rehab facilities are extremely beneficial in the treatment of substance addiction and are of great help needed during withdrawal symptoms. In addition, psychologists can offer assistance in helping patients overcome addictions, cope with stressful situations, and manage their chronic conditions.
Talk to a mental health care professional if the behavior is causing distress and disrupting your life. Make contact with a treatment professional very away so they can explain your therapy options to you.