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Benzodiazepines and Your Health

What are Benzodiazepines?

To begin with, Benzodiazepines is the less known medical term, but they are commonly known as “Benzos”. Benzos are a type of medical tranquilizer. Benzos are psychoactive drugs. Prescription Benzos are used to treat a wide range of  disorders, such as: anxiety, seizures, insomnia, psychological, and neurological disorders. Moreover, due to their tranquilizing effects on the neurons that trigger stress and anxiety.

What do Benzos do?

Benzodiazepines are drugs that produce a central nervous system or CNS depression. No need to worry, we won’t give you a chemistry lesson about a seven-member diazepine ring or that it possess a phenyl ring. Instead we will speak about the effects of benzos to the body. As we have already mentioned, they produce CNS depression by inhibiting neurotransmitters in the brain and gamma aminobutyric acid therefore decreasing brain activity. The duration of the effects of Benzos can last between 6 to up to 24 hours. Some benzos have active metabolites that prolong these effects. Physcial symptoms include: 

  • Increased reaction time
  • Motor incoordination 
  • Antegrade amnesia 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Restlessness 
  • Delirium 
  • Aggression 
  • Depresssion 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Paranoia

Most Common Benzodiazepines:

The five most commonly prescribed Benzos in the illicit market as well as in the legal prescription market include: Alzoprazolam (e.g., Xanax), Loraxepam (e.g., Ativan), clonazepam (e.g., Klonopin), diazepam (e.g., Valium) and temazepam (e.g., Restoril). In addition as a side fact: 

  • Halcion: is one of the fastest acting benzodiazepines, but the body processes it faster than others.

Overdoses:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) more than 30% of overdoses involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines. There is a risk of dependence or abuse, especially amongst those who have a prior history of multi-substance abuse. It is rare to fatally overdose on benzos alone. Unless they are combined with other CNS depressant substances, such as alcohol or opioids. In comparison to large overdoses on Barbiturates, which are fatal. Take for example, with cocaine users, to relieve the stimulant effects of cocaine they would take benzos.

Dependence and Addiction:

However, just like with any long term use of a substance, the longer you take it, you develop a tolerance for it. Which in turn requires you to take larger doses to achieve any desired effects. There are also physical and psychological dependencies when taking this substance under a physician’s care or illicitly. There is a rapid problem with people abusing benzos for the euphoric effect they create in the body. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported in 2016 that there were 14 deaths associated with benzos. Our clinic specializes in medicated detox treatments. To learn more about this treatment, click here.

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