Long Term Effects Of Benzodiazepines On Brain – Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine drug used to treat anxiety disorders. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that can be highly addictive if abused. People often mix Xanax with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids, which increases the risk of addiction and overdose.

There has been an increase in benzodiazepine abuse over the past five years, and the most commonly abused benzodiazepine is Xanax.[1] Because Xanax is highly addictive and widely used, it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction, as well as understand the long-term effects of this drug.

Long Term Effects Of Benzodiazepines On Brain

Long Term Effects Of Benzodiazepines On Brain

Xanax works by increasing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical produced in the brain that has a calming effect. When the effects of GABA are enhanced, people experience relief from anxiety, stress, and fear.[2] Although Xanax is effective in treating anxiety disorders, many people abuse it for its anti-anxiety effects.

Benzodiazepine Use Disorder: Common Questions And Answers

Over time, a person may become physically and mentally dependent on Xanax. They may experience painful withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug, as well as intense mental cravings for the drug.

Xanax slows down the central nervous system. It is widely known to cause memory loss and drunken behavior. Often, due to decreased inhibition, Xanax intoxication can mimic alcohol intoxication.

People under the influence of Xanax may appear tired or distracted. They may have a loss of coordination and appear confused. They may even have difficulty remembering events or periods of time after drug abuse. These people may be at risk of falling, breaking bones, getting into a car accident, and more.

During withdrawal, the brain is starved of GABA as it has adapted to need Xanax in the system to effectively use the neurotransmitter. It also enters a state of overexcitation, in which the central nervous system becomes overactive. This can cause rebound symptoms and other withdrawal symptoms. Rebound symptoms are symptoms for which a person used Xanax to reduce rebound after stopping the drug. This includes anxiety, panic, fear and more. Other symptoms include:[3]

Dependence On Xanax, Similar Sedatives Lead Ohsu Physicians To Coin New Diagnosis

Some people who detox from Xanax experience seizures, which can be life-threatening. As a result, Xanax detox should always take place at a medical detox center with 24-hour support.

Xanax is not only addictive, but also dangerous. Taking Xanax in high doses, mixing it with alcohol or opioids, or using it when you have a low tolerance can easily lead to an overdose. Signs and symptoms of a Xanax overdose include:

In recent years, the United States has seen a significant increase in benzodiazepine overdoses. And nearly 16% of all opioid overdose deaths involve benzodiazepines. In case of overdose, Xanax is believed to be more toxic than other benzodiazepines.[4,5]

Long Term Effects Of Benzodiazepines On Brain

Another major risk associated with Xanax addiction is the risk of purchasing counterfeit pills. People buying Xanax on the street can never be sure where their pills come from or whether they are real or not. And many counterfeit Xanax pills sold in recent years contain fentanyl, an extremely dangerous opioid drug that significantly increases the risk of overdose.[6]

Toxicity And Adverse Consequences Of Benzodiazepine Use

In addition to causing withdrawal symptoms, dependence, and addiction, Xanax abuse is also dangerous in the long term—physically, mentally, and cognitively. People who do not suffer a fatal overdose may suffer permanent damage to their health.[7] Some long-term effects of Xanax include:

Treatment for Xanax addiction includes medical detoxification, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, and aftercare. However, the first step to sobriety is asking for help. Call now to speak with one of our compassionate treatment specialists about starting rehab today.

Dr Ashley Murray graduated MBBCh with Distinction in 2016. She currently practices in public practice in South Africa. She is interested in medical articles and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine. Benzos have been among the most internationally recognized and widely prescribed medications since the 1970s. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), benzodiazepines are prescribed in approximately 66 million physician appointments per year in the United States.

Benzos, also known as minor tranquilizers, are pharmaceutical drugs that help slow down brain activity in the central nervous system and the transmission of messages between the brain and body. It does this by changing the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can cause reactions such as stress and anxiety.

Benzodiazepine Overdose: Signs And Symptoms

Benzodiazepines are considered safe and effective when used as directed. However, this is only effective as a short-term solution as long-term use can lead to adverse effects such as tolerance and dependence. Most benzodiazepines are sold as oral tablets, while some benzodiazepines are sold as a clear, odorless injection liquid.

Benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat a variety of mental disorders and illnesses. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of benzodiazepines to treat a variety of conditions, such as:

Although more than 2,000 different types of benzodiazepines are manufactured, only about 15 of them are currently approved by the FDA for use.

Long Term Effects Of Benzodiazepines On Brain

Each benzo differs in potency, digestibility, and purpose. Benzo-containing drugs can be divided into two main groups, such as hypnotics and anxiolytics. Benzo sleeping pills are short-acting medications commonly used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. Anxiolytics are long-acting benzenes commonly used to treat anxiety.

Risks Of Mixing Alcohol And Benzodiazepines

Valium, also known by its generic name diazepam, is an oral drug that works by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine used to treat:

Valium can cause mild to severe side effects in some people. The most common side effects of Valium include:

Ativan, also known by its generic name lorazepam, is a prescription intermediate-acting tranquilizer. Ativan works similarly to Valium, reducing brain activity, causing relaxation. This drug is manufactured and sold in the form of tablets and liquid solutions for intravenous (IV) injection. Ativan is used to treat:

Some of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if side effects persist or become more severe, contact your doctor immediately. If you know someone who is at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide or a danger to others, seek help immediately.

Long Term Side Effects Of Benzodiazepines

Klonopin, also known by the generic name clonazepam, is available as tablets or orally disintegrating tablets (wafers). Klonopin is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine that works by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Klonopin is used to treat conditions such as:

Like any other medicine, Klonopin has a risk of possible side effects. Some of the most common side effects include:

Librium, also known by the generic name chlordiazepoxide, is a sedative-hypnotic drug with a medium to long half-life. Librium acts on the brain and nerves (central nervous system), producing a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body known as GABA. Librium is used to treat conditions such as:

Long Term Effects Of Benzodiazepines On Brain

Librium is usually prescribed for no more than four months due to its addictive nature. Like many benzodiazepines, Librium has its own set of side effects.

What Are Benzodiazepines? Treating A

Tell your doctor if the condition persists or worsens so that the dosage can be adjusted or an alternative medicine prescribed.

Triazolam, sold under the brand name Halcion, is a central nervous system depressant tranquilizer from the triazolobenzodiazepine class of drugs, which are derivatives of benzodiazepines. Halcion acts on the brain to have a calming effect and is used as a short-term treatment for certain sleep problems such as insomnia. Halcyon is usually prescribed for a period of one to two weeks or less.

Halcion helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up less often at night to improve the quality of your sleep. The most common side effects of Halcion include:

While these symptoms usually go away within a few days, some may experience more serious side effects such as:

Benzodiazepine Use Associated With Brain Injury, Job Loss And Suicide

Benzodiazepines may interact negatively with some medications, so you should tell your doctors about all the medications you take. This also includes supplements and herbal remedies. Medicines that may react with benzodiazepines include:

The FDA said benzodiazepines, when used in combination with opioid drugs or other sedatives, can cause serious adverse reactions, including slow or difficult breathing and death. Get medical help right away if you experience unusual dizziness or lightheadedness, extreme drowsiness, slow or difficult breathing, or unresponsiveness.

Just as it is important to notify your doctor about other medications you may be taking, it is also important to discuss your medical history and current condition before prescribing a benzo. Benzodiazepines should be avoided by those diagnosed with:

Long Term Effects Of Benzodiazepines On Brain

Benzoic substances are not suitable for children except in rare cases of acute anxiety or insomnia caused by fear or sleepwalking.

What Are Benzos?

Benzodiazepines should also be avoided if possible during pregnancy. Because it increases the risk of physical complications in the developing baby, such as:

If benzos is consumed late in pregnancy, it can cause complications in newborns, including:

Breastfeeding should also be avoided while taking benzodiazepines as traces of the drug are present in breast milk and may gradually accumulate in breast milk.

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