The following are common names of drugs that are part of the benzodiazepine family:
- Diazepam (Valium)
Over the years, benzodiazepines have been used as a “cure” for people that have anxiety disorders and sleeping problems; in fact, their levels of use go up each year. Most people may think that the largest group of benzodiazepine users might be in their 20s or 30s, but research shows that the most prescribed group of people are actually seniors ages 65 and over. Prolonged use of these drugs on average is about five to ten years of use; that’s a lot of benzodiazepine build up in someone’s system. It is also important to note that persons can seize during detoxification from benzodiazepines. Proper medically assisted detox is recommended.
How do benzodiazepines work and why are they addictive?
Addiction starts when our innate reward response kicks in and we immediately stop feeling anxious or stressed. For those of us with addictive personalities, this drive to seek out this easy reward with these fast-acting drugs is one of the most difficult things to resist. The addictive brain will become dependent on this drug to loosen the body and mind, and the tolerance to benzodiazepines is an easy build up that rises higher and higher over time. Let’s think about those people that were in the five-to-ten years of use category – benzodiazepine tolerance in those people has just kept rising, and they’ve simply been prescribed higher doses. Oftentimes, these prescriptions didn’t come from just one doctor, but many, which is another sign that the drug use has become a real problem.
Effects of Benzodiazepines
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Impaired brain capacity for learning
- Long withdrawal period
- Inhibits CNS
- Affects neuroplasticity