With the rise of prescription painkiller overdoses and deaths in the last 20 years, it’s hard to differentiate just what types of drugs have the potential for abuse. At the top of the laundry list of potentials lie benzodiazepines. But what is it about this category of drugs that makes them so dangerous, and are they truly that beneficial?
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines have been prescribed for decades to treat sleep, anxiety and seizure disorders. But like any drug, the potential for chemical dependency, overdose and death are still very real. They were originally introduced 60 years ago as a ‘safer’ alternative to barbiturates to treat these types of disorders.
Some typical commercial benzodiazepines, or ‘benzos’ are Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan and Restoril. All of these are used to treat a wide variety of illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, obsessive compulsive disorder or phobias.
What Are Side Effects of Benzodiazepines?
Though the promise of relief from these various disorders is wonderful for some, this perceived panacea does not come without it’s slew of side effects. Benzodiazepines are notorious for not only for the complications that come with the drugs themselves but also the way in which they can be exponentially more dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol. In fact, 95% of all US hospital admissions for benzodiazepine abuse reported abusing additional substances.
Immediately side effects of benzodiazepines can include nausea, confusion, euphoria, vertigo, memory loss, depression and irregular heartbeat. Because some of these side effects can be sought by those who wish to abuse the drug, the potential for misuse with benzodiazepines is high.
Time Heals All
Remember, anxiety is not an illness. It is a normal human reaction to potentially dangerous or challenging situations. Though benzodiazepines can have legitimate use in general medicine, when they are prescribed for anxiety on a routine basis they are essentially drugs.
If you or someone you know is addicted to benzodiazepines, know that there is a way out. Remember that a lot of the disorders benzodiazepines aim to thwart have more natural and holistic remedies that can be explored before these dangerous drugs are prescribed. The perceived necessity for drugs such as Xanax and Klonopin can lead to very destructive and dangerous abusive behavior, especially for those prone to addiction and drug abuse.