What are Benzodiazepine and What Do They Do?

Benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug, pharmacologically used to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawals and seizures. This is due to its sedative, sleep inducing and anti-anxiety and muscle relaxant effects. When used under professional medical care, benzodiazepines are safe and effective on a short term basis.

Bezodiazepine drug names include Zopiclone, Oxazepam, Alprazolam, Chlordiazepoxide, Clorazepate, Diazepam, Temazepam and many others. Some of Benzodiazepine common brand names include Xanax, Lexotan, Dormex, Librium, Paxam, Valium, Rohypnol, Serax and Zopitan.

Drug effects

Short term side effects can include; impaired motor coordination, drowsiness, lethargy and fatigue, impaired thinking and memory, confusion, depression, altered vision, slurred speech, stuttering vertigo, tremors, respiratory depression, nausea, constipation, dry mouth abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite and vomiting. When taken in high doses they can induce severe drowsiness, slowed reflexes, mood swings, hostile and aggressive behaviour and euphoria. Long term use of benzodiazepine may result in impaired thinking memory and judgment, disorientation, confusion, slurred speech, muscle weakness and lack of coordination.

Dependence

Dependence on and tolerance of benzodiazepines is built up fast. This may result in dose increase and withdrawal symptoms after as little as three weeks of continuous use. When used without medical supervision and for an excessive amount of time they may induce anxiety, insomnia, anorexia, headaches and weakness. The symptoms of withdrawal are difficult to manage but professional help and treatment is available.

Psychological and Physical

Dependence on benzodiazepines can be psychological or physical. Psychological addiction occurs when a person feels like they need the drug to be able to cope with daily life ans stressful situations. They may feel they need the drug to relieve depression or panic attacks. Physical dependence tales place when users wish to experience intoxication or euphoria, they want to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment

There are various ways of treating dependency on benzodiazepines. Addiction treatment centres in the UK offer detox programmes and help such as 12 step treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy and addiction counselling in order to tackle psychological dependency.