What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, also called Benzos, are a class of medications that affect the nervous system. They use a variety of medical conditions, such as anxiety, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines work by blocking the excessive activity of nerves in the brain and central nervous system. When appropriately prescribed, the uses of benzodiazepines are beneficial in helping:

  • For better sleep
  • Induce relaxation and loss of memory of medical procedures
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Treat or prevent seizures
  • Alcohol withdrawal treatment
  • Muscle relaxant

About 82% of benzo-related treatment admissions, another drug is the primary substance of abuse. Benzodiazepines are often secondary to opioids, alcohol, and marijuana.

What are the side effects of Benzodiazepines?

When taking sedatives of any kind, the central nervous system activity becomes slowed. Overdosing can cause serious health concerns such as unconsciousness, coma, and death. Small doses relieve tension, whereas large doses increase the risk of physical side effects, including:

  • Staggering
  • Impaired perception of time and space
  • Blurred vision
  • Reduced sensitivity to pain
  • Slow reflexes and breathing
  • Impaired thinking
  • Slurred speech

Other mental side effects include:

  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Chronic intoxication: headache, impaired vision, slurred speech
  • Impairment of liver function

What is the treatment of benzodiazepine overuse?

In most cases, treatment through a combination of procedures specific to the individual. Treatment may include an evaluation of the health and medical records of the individual. Detoxification is essential under the supervision of medical professionals to control the withdrawal period. Additionally, getting mental health support improves treatment, as most cases of overuse have an underlying mental health concern. Detox allows the individual to clear the use of the drug safely and comfortably.

What is the outlook?

Benzodiazepine abuse is commonly seen as associated with another drug addiction. Therefore, a treatment plan is designed to address both or multiple drug cases of abuse. The first steps consist of a gradual reduction of the drug to prevent withdrawal and seizure symptoms. With the right program, support system, and psychiatric team, long-term recovery is attainable.

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