List of Benzodiazepines Types Side Effects Addiction Withdrawal

List of Benzodiazepines Types Side Effects Addiction Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are medications that depress the nerves in the brain and cause sedation.

Seizures, anxiety, and other conditions may result from excessive nerve activity in the brain. These drugs enhance the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that reduces brain activity.

Adults use benzodiazepines to treat various conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Panic disorders
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Sleeplessness
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Status epilepticus (a life-threatening brain disorder)
  • Premenstrual syndrome

Other Uses

Benzodiazepines may be used for:

  • Sedation during surgery
  • Treating various anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, when antidepressants aren’t effective.

Benzodiazepines are habit-forming and can lead to addiction. Long-term use can also result in tolerance, requiring higher doses for effectiveness. These drugs are abused for their mind-altering effects.

Side Effects

Common side effects include lightheadedness, drowsiness, confusion, sedation, memory impairment, improper body balance, changes in appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation, weight gain, dry mouth, reduced libido, and fatigue.

Serious side effects include respiratory depression, dependence, withdrawal symptoms, jaundice, seizures, suicide, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, fainting, akathisia, and increased heart rate.

Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

Combining alcohol with benzodiazepines is very dangerous. It’s not safe to drink alcohol or take other CNS depressants simultaneously as they interact with benzodiazepines causing additional depression and respiratory depression.

Respiratory depression can be life-threatening. Pain medications, sedatives, and other substances that cause sedation increase the risk of respiratory depression when taken with benzodiazepines.

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Addiction

Benzodiazepines are habit-forming and can lead to addiction, especially in individuals with a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Tolerance can develop, requiring higher doses. While effective for conditions like anxiety and insomnia, caution must be exercised to prevent addiction.

Street names for benzodiazepines include "Benzos" and "Downers." Addiction to these drugs can cause a range of adverse effects.

Signs and symptoms of addiction include problems sleeping, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, goosebumps, uncontrollable leg movements, bone and muscle pain.

Recovery from benzodiazepine addiction is challenging as these drugs alter brain chemistry. Seek professional help from a drug addiction treatment center for a taper schedule to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Signs of overdose include clammy skin, dilated pupils, rapid and weak pulse, coma, shallow breathing, and death.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can cause concentration problems, sleep disturbances, irritability, increased anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremors, dry heaving, palpitations, headache, muscle pain, and perceptual changes. Severe withdrawal can be fatal.

Benzodiazepines are classified as Schedule IV drugs by the DEA, indicating a low potential for dependence compared to other powerful drugs.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Benzodiazepines are classified as pregnancy category D by the FDA, indicating potential fetal harm. These drugs enter breast milk, causing lethargy and weight loss in newborns. Avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Summary

Benzodiazepines are man-made drugs used to treat anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks, seizures, muscle spasms, and insomnia. Examples include lorazepam, alprazolam, and diazepam.

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