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Why Are Benzos Dangerous?

Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as benzos, are common prescription medications used to treat anxiety and insomnia. However, despite their many medical benefits, benzos can be highly dangerous when abused. 

In this article, we will examine why benzos can be so risky, and we’ll look at the physical and psychological effects that misuse of benzos can have on a person’s health.

What Are Benzos?

Benzodiazepines, also known as “benzos”, are a class of psychoactive drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. They are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world, and include medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. While benzos can be effective at treating anxiety and insomnia, they are also highly addictive and can cause serious side effects.

Benzos work by binding to GABA receptors in the brain, which increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA. This results in a calming effect on the nervous system. However, because benzos also affect other neurotransmitters and brain regions, they can cause a wide range of side effects, including drowsiness, confusion, and impaired memory and coordination.

Long-term use of benzos can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. When someone stops taking benzos after long-term use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and most concerningly, seizures. 

These seizures can be life threatening. If you are considering getting off any benzodiazepines after taking them for some time you should always contact a medical professional or a treatment center, so any withdrawal symptoms can be effectively and safely managed.  

The Different Types Of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are often used for the treatment of anxiety disorders, seizure disorders, and sleep disorders. They are also sometimes used to treat muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.

There are four different types of benzodiazepines: short-acting, intermediate-acting, long-acting, and ultra-short-acting. 

Short-acting benzodiazepines have a rapid onset of action and a short duration of action. Intermediate-acting benzodiazepines have an intermediate onset of action and a longer duration of action. Long-acting benzodiazepines have a slow onset of action and a long duration of action. Ultra-short-acting benzodiazepines have an extremely rapid onset of action and a very short duration of action.

The different types of benzodiazepines vary in their potency, how long they stay in your system, and their side effect profile. Benzodiazepines can also cause depression, irritability, aggression, and paranoia.

Xanax, Valium, and Ativan are the most common types of benzodiazepines. 

Why Are Benzodiazepines Dangerous?

Hand with substance and drugs -

There are a number of reasons why benzos are considered dangerous. First, they are highly addictive and can lead to dependence. People who take them for extended periods of time may find it difficult to stop taking them without experiencing potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. 

Second, they can be deadly when mixed with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol. When taken together, these substances can slow down the respiratory system to the point where breathing stops completely. This can lead to coma or death. 

Third, benzos can be overdosed on themselves, and overdose is a real risk. They can slow the nervous system down enough to cause death.  

Finally, benzos can have dangerous side effects, even when taken as directed. These include drowsiness, confusion, and impaired coordination. Taking a benzo while driving or operating heavy machinery can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

You should always take any benzodiazepines as directed by a doctor. 

Symptoms Of Benzo Use And Abuse

Common symptoms of benzo use include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slow reaction time
  • Poor judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Nervousness

Other symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse and addiction include symptoms of other addictions, like withdrawal from home and family, loss of interest in activities, poor performance at work or school, and doctor shopping. 

If you think someone you know might be abusing benzodiazepines, it might be time to speak with a doctor or treatment center. 

Treatment For Benzo Addiction

A variety of treatment options are available for those addicted to benzos. Treatment typically begins with detoxification, during which the person gradually stops taking the drug. Inpatient treatment, where the person stays at a facility for a period of time, is always recommended. 

Because Benzodiazepine withdrawal can include life threatening seizures, detoxification should always be performed under the care of a doctor. This will make the process safe, as well as more comfortable for the person withdrawing.  

Behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment for addiction. This can help the person learn new coping skills and ways to deal with stress and triggers that may lead to relapse. Medication may also be used to help manage symptoms of withdrawal and cravings.

There are a number of alternatives to benzos that can be used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. These alternatives include herbal remedies such as valerian and chamomile, as well as acupuncture and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation.

Get Help For A Benzo Addiction Today

Benzos can be dangerous if used improperly. Too much of a benzo dose can lead to overdose, and long-term abuse may cause physical dependence and addiction. These drugs are only safe when prescribed by a doctor and taken as directed. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with benzo use, it’s important to seek help immediately from a medical professional or from a treatment center like ours for the best possible outcome.If you or someone you know might have a benzo addiction, please give us a call at (615) 326-6449 and we can help you safely detox and stay off drugs forever.

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