How Benzodiazepines Work On The Brain
Many people have been prescribed benzodiazepine’s at some point in their lifetime, and addiction to this class of drugs is common. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs used for treating anxiety and other psychological disorders. The exact mechanism of how this class of drugs works is not known, but it seems to work by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain, the chemicals released by nerves in the brain in order to communicate with other nearby nerves. Scientists believe that benzodiazepines work to reduce the activity of these nerves that cause anxiety and other psychological disorders in the brain and spinal cord, specifically enhancing the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is responsible for reducing the activity of these nerves in the brain.
Benzodiazepines Are Prescribed To Treat:
- anxiety and panic disorder, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- seizures (convulsions)
- insomnia or trouble sleeping.
- general anesthesia
- sedation prior to surgery or diagnostic procedures
- muscle relaxation
- alcohol withdrawal and drug associated agitation
- nausea and vomiting
Benzodiazepines Approved For Use In The United States
- alprazolam (Xanax)
- chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- clorazepate (Tranxene)
- diazepam (Valium)
- estazolam (Prosom)
- flurazepam (Dalmane)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- midazolam (Versed)
- oxazepam (Serax)
- temazepam (Restoril)
- triazolam (Halcion)
- quazepam (Doral)
Xanax, was the 13th most prescribed medication in the country in 2012.
The Addiction To These Drugs
Misuse of these drugs can lead to psychological and physical dependency. It takes more and more to work, making the drug seeker go to extreme measures to get more. This addiction can lead to doctor shopping, buying the drug illegally on the street and crimes to support the habit. These drugs are not prescribed for long term use because of the high probability of addiction.
Many patients are admitted to Rehabilitation Hospitals for inpatient rehab for addiction to benzodiazepines. There are also outpatient programs to treat patients who cannot stay long term in an inpatient program. Results vary from person to person on the long term recovery from the addiction to this class of drugs.
Many people will not kick the habit on their own from benzo abuse because of the severe withdrawal symptoms they will suffer. Inpatient and outpatient rehab hospitals can aide in the withdrawal symptoms, giving the addict the best chance for recovery. The symptoms vary from person to person, based on length of abuse and one’s own chemical make up in the brain. Family history can even play a role in addiction.
Withdrawel Symptoms such as:
- Uncomfortable return of psychological symptoms
Quitting a benzo “cold turkey” can be more than uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. It is recommended to use a medical detox within a professional drug rehab program. A medical detox typically uses a tapering method, and with professional care, the withdrawal symptoms can be less severe. If you feel like you have an addiction to benzo’s or any other drug, contact a drug rehab facility, or your physician, before you stop taking any medication.