When benzodiazepines are used, they affect the patient by giving the body a calming or drowsy effect through the release of GABA. One of the most dangerous issues associated with benzodiazepines concerns the rapid rate in which tolerance is developed.
After taking a specified dose for a short period of time, the effect that it has begins to diminish, causing the patient to need higher doses to combat the anxiety disorder.
This can also lead to cravings for the drug within the body. Using benzodiazepines causes the brain to flood with dopamine, and, due to the positive feelings associated with this, causes the brain to associate usage with a reward. When discontinuing the use of benzodiazepines, it is necessary for the patient to do so with a set plan in order.
Stopping the use of the drug suddenly can lead to a number of adverse effects, including withdrawal symptoms or death.
While benzodiazepines have become a major problem throughout the United States, many healthcare professionals are speaking out against using them, particularly without exhausting other, safer methods. Once other options, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, have been proven to be unsuccessful, benzodiazepines may become a viable option.
If benzodiazepines are chosen as the best option for treating a patient’s anxiety, proper education regarding the dangers of the drug should be available. Education, along with a short-term treatment plan, can be instrumental in avoiding addiction, dependence, and other risk factors.
Although education regarding the dangers of benzodiazepines has become more prevalent in recent years, this has not impeded usage, as the rate continues to rise.
While many healthcare professionals agree that the misuse of benzodiazepines is not overly common, the rising rate of use, as well as the rapid onset of tolerance, make a serious issue. Dr. Lawrence Weinstein of American Centers, believes that addiction can become a factor in a matter of months.
Along with the dangers of addiction associated with benzodiazepines, are a number of side effects that range in severity. Issues such as headache, dizziness, cognitive impairment, and memory loss are not uncommon. Recent studies have even begun linking consistent use of the drug with dementia.
Death from taking benzodiazepines is rare when taken as a singular substance, but when accompanied by alcohol, or other highly addictive drugs, the risk increases significantly. Despite the fact that benzodiazepines are generally prescribed to treat anxiety, persistent use can also exacerbate the existing disorder, creating the need for continued use.
When benzodiazepines are prescribed, it is imperative that they are kept in a safe place. The availability of the drug in homes across the United States has significantly increased the practice of recreational use, particularly amongst young people.
Learn more about American Addiction Addiction: