Benzodiazepines: The truth and nothing but the truth
Medicine has always tried to keep up with the different diseases that in some way can be associated with the current lifestyle. In the case of current times, it seems as though people that are more fast pace have a better chance at success. This might seem to be good to a certain point, but the truth is that this way of living bringsa lot more then success. Anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drugs, and insomnia are only a few states that the medical field has had to confront due to this lifestyle. The problem is that just as they have created great pills and treatments for these psychological and physical states, they have also created horrible ones. The real issue is if doctors really know when to prescribe these pills andadvise their patients of the side effects or withdrawal symptoms the might feel. Benzodiazepines is a highly prescribed drug in the psychiatric field, this pill is very addictive and after only a few doses a person can feel major withdrawal symptoms. Do the patients leave their doctors office knowing this information?
Benzodiazepines, also known as Benzos, have been around since theearly 1930’s, first discovered by Leo Sternback, but did not reach the market until 1957 as a relief to anxiety. The abuse of benzodiazepines was first recognized in the 1980’s, in which point it was the most prescribed medication in America, today they are still in the top prescribes psychiatric pills. (CESAR n.d.) Benzodiazepines are described by the Center for Substance Abuse Research (n.d.) asfollowed:
Benzodiazepines affect a key neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter has an inhibitory effect on motor neurons, thus the presence of GABA slows or stops neuronal activity. Benzodiazepines enhance the activity of GABA, effectively slowing nerve impulses throughout the body. The human nervous system has two different types ofbenzodiazepine receptors: one that causes the anti-anxiety effect, and one that elicits the sedative effect. (para. 5)
In more simple words, benzodiazepines stops nerve impulses that originally cause insomnia and anxiety. As an example, a person that suffers a stressful event such as a car accident, being fired, traffic, economical problems, and so on, but is being treated with benzodiazepines, they shouldexperience a certain calmness because the neuron activity is now being inhibited. What happens if a person decides to discontinue this medication? How will the brain and body react to so much neuron activity?
The list of withdrawal symptoms are endless. There are hundreds of internet pages that support people going through this process, and even YouTube videos personally describingtheir personal stories of the use of benzodiazepines. The well known internet book by Ashton (2002) describes in detail these symptoms and the most effective way to get off benzodiazepines in the citation that follows:
There is absolutely no doubt that anyone withdrawing from long-term benzodiazepines must reduce the dosage slowly. Abrupt or over-rapid withdrawal, especially from high dosage, cangive rise to severe symptoms (convulsions, psychotic reactions, acute anxiety states) and may increase the risk of protracted withdrawal symptoms. Slow withdrawal means tapering dosage gradually, usually over a period of some months. The aim is to obtain a smooth, steady and slow decline in blood and tissue concentrations of benzodiazepines so that the natural systems in the brain can recover theirnormal state. (para. 18)
It is very clear that these withdrawal symptoms are astonishingly similar to those of alcohol withdrawal. A prescription drug such as this should be very wisely administrated.
Frederick(2009) in her book Benzo-Wise: A recovery Companion described how her life was before, during, and after clonazepan, a popular benzodiazepine. She was prescribed this pill...
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