Benzodiazepines: the Anti-Anxiety Medication that Causes Anxiety

With anxiety disorders being diagnosed every day, doctors are prescribing benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” more often every day in order to alleviate the panic and anxiety.
Your chest feels tight. Your mind is racing and your heart is beating rapidly. You are having a panic attack. With all the highly stressful circumstances we put ourselves through, panic and anxiety are being experienced at a more drastic level than ever.

Common brand names for benzodiazepines and their differences:

 • Ativan/Lorazepam: the fast acting benzodiazepine that stays in your system for 9-20 hours

 • Klonopin/Clonazapam: the longer acting benzodiazepine, also referred to as “k-pins” that stays in your system as long as 50 hours

 • Xanax/Alprazolam: the most commonly abused benzodiazepine which has a street name of “zany bars” and stays in your system up to 20 hours

 • Valium/Diazepam: this benzodiazepine is commonly given to detox patients to help wean them off of benzodiazepines or alcohol and stays in the body as long as 47 hours

These are just a few of the benzodiazepines that are commonly prescribed; however, there are several more, so being aware of them before accepting them from a doctor is important. Benzodiazepines are helpful for short-term use; however, using them long term puts presents many risks. Beware of the harm that can come from using benzodiazepines:

 • Tolerance: it can be very easy to build a tolerance to benzos, even after using the medication daily for just several weeks. When you have a tolerance to a drug, your body needs a higher dose of it for it to remain as effective as it originally was.

 • Dependence: Tolerance leads to dependence. This is when you are no longer taking the medication just for what is originally prescribed for; but because you have to because the absence of the drug from your system will send you into withdrawals.

 • Addiction: This is when you are finding yourself taking more than prescribed, often for recreational purposes.

Managing with an addiction or tolerance to benzos can be an exhausting feat which can lead you to eventually buying them from street drug dealers just to keep up with the body’s demand for the drug. Long-term use can also result in nausea, foggy thinking, memory loss including early onset dementia or amnesia, headaches, depression, frequent fatigue, sleep problems, changes in personality, aggression, the inability to act properly in social situations, and trouble at work or school.

Some doctors compare 1 milligram of Ativan to one shot of vodka. Doctors make this comparison because benzodiazepines react on the brain similarly. Both substances work on the GABA receptors in the brain, as well as the central nervous system. The three types of GABA in the brain are GABA-A, GABA-B, and GABA-C. Benzodiazepines act on GABA-A receptors which allows for its anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, and sedation effects.

If you are experiencing benzodiazepine dependence or addiction, you will need to go to a medically managed detoxification facility to safely withdraw from them. Withdrawing at home with no medical supervision can be extremely dangerous, even life threatening.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

 • Insomnia

 • High anxiety

 • Depersonalization

 • Weakness

 • Seizures

 • Tremors

 • Panic attacks

 • Perspiration or flushing

 • Hallucinations

 • Nausea with or without vomiting

 • Headache

You may notice that anxiety and panic attacks are both listed. If that is why you were prescribed benzos in the first place, be warned that once you begin to withdrawal from benzodiazepines, you will have even higher levels of anxiety and more frequent panic attacks. This happens because your brain is so used to having the substance react on the GABA in the brain that without it will not operate properly. Keep in mind that benzodiazepines will not fix your anxiety, but they will mask it.

Be prepared for post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS, which occurs 7-14 days after your last dose. This is the withdrawal after the withdrawal. Many of the symptoms are the same; however, PAWS can last as long as two years. Finding a non-narcotic anti-anxiety medication that works for you will help you to get through the anxiety and panic that PAWS causes. Antihistamines can also work for anxiety.

The bottom line is to steer clear of using this highly addictive drug on a long-term basis. Remember that while this substance may work for a time, it will eventually have the reverse effects and cause more harm than good. If a doctor prescribes any narcotic to you, do your research so you know the risks of the medication before taking it.

Distributed by Client Initiatives

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Contact Person: David Burke
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State: California
Country: United States