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Benzos on the Brain

Benzodiazepines are a common group of medications used to treat anxiety, sleep problems, and other mental health issues. Widely known benzodiazepines include Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan, along with their generic counterparts. While much of the focus in the news has been surrounding opioid addiction, benzodiazepines also present a high risk of addiction and other health problems. In fact, according to a recent study, use of benzodiazepines may be associated with development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The biggest issue with this class of medication, commonly referred to as “benzos”, is that it is highly addictive. As with many other addictive substances, the user often needs higher and higher doses to achieve the original results. Taking benzos for sleep or anxiety will likely be quite helpful in the short term, but those who have taken this type of medication for years may notice a decrease in benefits with the same dose. Not only that, but if the individual chooses to discontinue the prescription it is highly likely that their symptoms will return, often worse than they were to begin with.

Given the addictive properties of benzos, it is no surprise that synthetic versions are being manufactured and sold on the internet. While all of this is happening, the rate of prescriptions for benzos has increased, and the possibility of addiction and harmful side effects has been drowned out by the focus on the opioid crisis. Taken as prescribed, benzos can be quite handy in treating anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep disorders. However, the temptation to misuse needs to be confronted, and those who use benzos need to be educated about the possible dangers of long-term use.

There are probably some people reading this and saying, “But I need my Xanax!”. The caution here is to ensure that addiction and/or other health issues do not present themselves with long-term use. It is important to note that there are other medications that can be used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders if you are concerned about the use of benzos. Not only that, but therapeutic techniques may also be employed to develop natural skills to improve anxiety levels and sleep. If you or someone you love has a problem with benzodiazepines, or you just want more information, reach out to Main St. Psychiatry today for support.

Original material found at: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/26/602213172/benzodiazepines-america-s-other-prescription-drug-problem