Benzodiazepine drugs, or benzos, as they are commonly known, are a family of drugs which are used as tranquilizers. There are fifteen drugs in this family, including drugs like Xanax, Vicodin, and Valium and they are all prescription drugs used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety and panic attacks. These drugs generally target the pain receptors and dull the central nervous system, hence reducing brain activity. However, all these drugs have the potential to be abused and are highly addictive. This family of drugs is one of the most highly prescribed medications in the United States. Abuse for this drug begins when people obtain these drugs without prescription and take them simply for sedating effects.
Factorial count represents that 2000 different Benzodiazepines have been produced but approximately only 15 are FDA approved in the United States currently. Their classification is done on the base of the intensity of their effect.
When used properly and within medication, benzodiazepines are used to treat sleep problems, anxiety, stress-induced problems and seizures. However, even when they are used to the medication prescribed, they have an addictive effect and the user develops dependency and tolerance. Most of the abusers of these drugs are patients who can no longer go on without the drug or college student who take the drugs to deal with the pressure of studying.
A user of benzos is likely to be drowsy or fatigued all the time. They may lack coordination and be prone to violence; Hyperactivity, depression and paranoia are all common traits of benzodiazepine addicts. Since most of these drugs repress the nervous system and dull the brain, addicts are likely to suffer from memory loss and amnesia. Abusers have a high risk of heart disease and strokes as the slower metabolism leads to less oxygen reaching the brain than is required. If benzodiazepine drugs are overdosed, or taken with other drugs, they can lead to coma and even death.
The abuse of this drug is partially linked to toxic effects that are produced and to their widespread availability as well. They are observed to be chronically abused or commonly seen in hospital emergency departments, overdose taken either intentionally or accidentally. Serious illness or death is rarely caused as a result of only benzodiazepine overdose, however if frequently used with alcohol or other medications they can be dangerous and even lethal.
Discussion on the causes of benzodiazepine overdose have suggested that a number of people have a genetic tendency of becoming addicted to drugs but little doubt also relates to environmental factors as an underlying cause of abuse. Some of the common environmental factors which may play a significant role are low socioeconomic status, unemployment and peer pressure.
These drugs impair thinking process and effect judgment of the user. Hence, the user is prone to make rash decisions which often lead to consequences that lead the user behind bars. Women who employ these drugs during pregnancy subject their babies to abnormalities such as deformation, lack of proper body structure and problems in the mental health of the child.
All the drugs in the tranquilizer category work by slowing down the brain. Once the addict stops using the drug suddenly, the rebound can be quite dangerous and result in seizures. Benzodiazepines are supposed to reduce anxiety and tension. However, leaving these drugs causes severe anxiety attacks and agitation. The user suffers from panic attacks, irritability, restlessness, and insomnia. In addition, some people distort their version of reality. They suffer from paranoia, hallucinations, and even suicidal tendencies.
Recovering from benzodiazepine addiction is not easy. However, it is possible to attain lasting sobriety via rehabilitation and therapy. The first step is to reduce addiction, and this can be attained via medical detoxification. Once the addiction is worn off, the user can attend therapy sessions to avoid relapse and consult private psychiatrists to help them reinvent their life.