Benzodiazepines act on slowing down the activity of the brain neurotransmitters, produce sedation, muscle relaxation and lower anxiety level. This drug is used for treatment of following medical conditions:
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic disorders
- Nervous tension
- Acute stress
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Muscle relaxation
- Depression associated with anxiety
Side Effects of Benzodiazepines
People abuse benzodiazepines because of the initial euphoric feeling and feeling of drowsiness. Another reason is that they are widely available. Many take benzodiazepines in combination with alcohol which can be particularly dangerous. They are very addictive drugs because people easily develop tolerance and have to increase dosages.
Prolonged abuse of benzodiazepines changes chemistry of the brain which is presented by feeling of fearlessness. This may result in injuries and accidents since abuser recklessly expose him or herself to dangerous situation.
Benzodiazepines addiction may cause depression, suicidal ideas and loss of interest in everyday activities. Individual often wants to hurt him or herself and commit suicide because of feeling of worthlessness and misery.
The addict may show increased level of hyperactivity because of which he or she may become hostile and agitated. Due to hyperactivity the addict becomes susceptible to injuries, accidents and even violence. Benzodiazepine abuser can become irritable, aggressive and impulsive.
Hallucinations are another possible side effect of benzodiazepines where the addict may hear or see imaginary things.
Benzodiazepines abuse can lead to loss of balance and coordination, fainting and dizziness.
Seizures can occur due to muscle twitching which can lead to difficulty talking, mental confusion and fainting.
Benzodiazepines abuse can affect liver function and lead to jaundice as well as urinary tract and result in anuria (non passage of urine).
Benzodiazepine dependency affects muscles causing twitching, pain, cramps and stiffness.
Gastrointestinal side effects are also present and include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The addict may suffer from decreased appetite that can result in weight loss.
Mental side effects of benzodiazepines include person’s inability to concentrate and perform daily tasks. The addict also suffers from slurred speech and mental confusion.
Benzodiazepines are sometimes used as a “date rape” drug since they significantly impair victim’s ability to resist or even want to resist assault. Benzodiazepines are usually added to alcohol beverages.
In conclusion, sudden discontinuing benzodiazepines can result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, the amount of medicine and frequency of taking the medicine must be decreased over time. This addiction can be treated in various rehabilitation centers and through program of detoxification.