Benzodiazepines Pose Health Risks
Millions of individuals across the nation struggle with anxiety and stress which can take a toll on their everyday life, from effective job performance to inability to fullfill life obligations. Many of these sufferers are prescribed prescription anti-anxiety medication in order to help ease their symptoms so that they can better manage their anxiety. The problem is that these strong prescription drugs can be very habit-forming and even addictive which ultimately causes adverse health effects.
There is no doubt that an individual is prone to anxiety attacks, medication can help. It is when these potent medications are abused and misused that they become a problem. Unfortunately, while doctor-prescribed drugs may help relieve stress and anxiety, there are long-term repercussions and concerning side effects with prolonged use.
Risks of Benzodiazepines
Recent research that has been conducted on benzodiazepines has suggested that the drug loses its therapeutic effects after the six-month mark. Patients will begin to feel less of teh drugs effects, therefore, require a higher dose. This puts them at an increased risk of becoming dependent on the drug as the body will begin to rely on a steady flow of ‘benzo’s’ in order to stay stable. Some of the risks associated with short-term and long-term use of benzodiazepines are:
- Cognitive impairment
- Sleep disturbances
- Suppressed immune system
There are several different types of benzodiazepines available, each one differing in their potency, the rate at which they are absorbed by the body, and their function. Some of the most commonly prescribed brands of benzo’s are:
Misuse of Anxiety Medication
Unfortunately, far too many individuals who are prescribed prescription benzo’s end up abusing them in order to better feel its effects. This can include crushing and snorting the pills which can give a ‘high’ as well as increasing dose amounts regardless of the recommended dosage printed on the label. Recent SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) research has discovered that an increasing number of younger individuals (beginning at age 12) are being prescribed these strong medications in order to ease their anxiety. In the developing brain of a teen, the drugs can severely impact the mind.
The negative effects of the drug become amplified when alcohol is mixed in. The interaction that alcohol and benzo’s can have are extremely dangerous and can land an individual in the ER. It’s important that you never mix alcohol with prescription medication, as well as illicit drugs, as the outcome is one that can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, it’s important that they get the necessary help immediately as their condition can worsen with time.
Doctors need to become more aware of the rate at which they are prescribing these medications as they hold a very high dependency rate, especially in those who are predisposed to the disease of addiction. Suggested more holistic means of treatment such as therapy and counseling should be suggested prior to prescribing medications right off the bat.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.