Benzodiazepines are medications that are usually prescribed to patients who suffer from anxiety. However, they can be used to treat other conditions, such as insomnia and seizures. These medications work by depressing the activity of the nerves inside of the central nervous system. The effects of benzodiazepine can last anywhere from six to 24 hours. Xanax, Valium and Ativan are examples of some of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines are among the oldest anti-anxiety drugs. In fact, these medications have been around since the 1960s.
How is This Medication Taken?
Physicians recommend a dosage based on the patient’s health and the condition that is being treated. A benzodiazepine can be taken with or without food. However, if this drug causes an upset stomach, then people are encouraged to take it with milk or food. If this medication is prescribed to treat insomnia, then doctors typically recommend taking 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed. A physician may gradually decrease the dosage if one has been taking it for an extended period of time. Physicians may also adjust the dosage if a patient starts to develop side effects to this medication.
What Are Some of the Possible Side Effects of Benzodiazepines?
Some of the most common side effects of benzodiazepines include things like confusion, sedation, vomiting, nausea, dry mouth, decreased libido and fatigue. It is also important to note that benzodiazepines may interact with certain medications, such as antiacids, antidepressants and narcotics. That is why people are advised to inform their doctor of any medications that they are taking. Women who are pregnant or nursing will also need to inform their doctors.
Furthermore, a small percentage of people may experience an allergic reaction to this medication. Breathing problems, itching, swelling and hives are some of the possible signs of an allergic reaction. People who suspect they are having an allergic reaction should seek medical help as soon as possible.
Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction
It is important to note that it is very easy to become dependent on benzodiazepines. The longer a person takes a benzodiazepine, the more likely he or she is to become dependent on it. In fact, studies have shown that a person’s risk of becoming addicted to a benzodiazepine increases even if he or she only takes the medication for four weeks.
People who take this medication for an extended period of time are likely to develop a tolerance to it. This means the benzodiazepine may become less effective over time. One will have to increase the dosage in order to experience the same effects. That is why people who take benzodiazepines for an extended period of time are more likely to develop an addiction to it.
People who abuse benzodiazepines are also at an increased risk of becoming addicted to it. Any time a person takes this medication in a way that is not intended by a physician he or she is abusing it. Some of the signs of benzodiazepine abuse include blurred vision, slurred speech, lack of coordination and breathing problems.
In many cases, people who abuse benzodiazepines experience worsening anxiety. A benzodiazepine addiction can be very dangerous. People who abuse benzodiazepines can increase their chances of developing dementia by up to 50 percent. It is estimated that nearly 350,000 emergency room visits in 2010 were linked to benzodiazepine addiction and abuse.
Furthermore, a benzodiazepine overdose can result in death. It is estimated that benzodiazepine overdose caused nearly 6,500 deaths in 2010. Even though benzodiazepine addiction is dangerous, people who withdraw from this medication may experience serious side effects. Some of those side effects include insomnia, depression and anxiety. People may also experience musculoskeletal and neurological problems.
Even though benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications, the number of prescriptions written for these drugs have decreased within the past few years. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe this medication because of the risk of abuse and addiction.
Benzodiazepine addiction has increased drastically within the past few years. The number of people admitted to a drug treatment center for a benzodiazepine addiction increased by 79 percent from 1992 to 2002.
Why Inpatient Rehab is the Best Choice for Benzodiazepine Addiction?
Benzodiazepine addiction is nearly impossible to break without medical help. If you or one of your loved ones is battling benzodiazepine addiction you should consider enrolling in inpatient rehab. One of the benefits of being in inpatient rehab is that the addicted person will get the constant support and supervision that he or she needs.
The skilled and compassionate professionals at a inpatient rehab will help a person develop the skills and confidence he or she needs to live a drug-free life.
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