Benzodiazepines are the best family of drugs on the market today to treat anxiety, according to many physicians that prescribe them to their patients. However, many of the doctors that have helped these drugs become among the most prescribed drugs in the world are finally starting to see the problem with their use now that it’s too late.
These drugs weren’t intended as a long-term solution for insomnia and acute anxiety, but as an ‘in the moment’ type of solution to ease the symptoms of anxiety.
The following are common names of drugs that are part of the benzodiazepine family:
- Diazepam (Valium)
Over the years, benzodiazepines have been used as a “cure” for people that have anxiety disorders and sleeping problems; in fact, their levels of use go up each year. Most people may think that the largest group of benzodiazepine users might be in their 20s or 30s, but research shows that the most prescribed group of people are actually seniors ages 65 and over. Prolonged use of these drugs on average is about five to ten years of use; that’s a lot of benzodiazepine build up in someone’s system. It is also important to note that persons can seize during detoxification from benzodiazepines. Proper medically assisted detox is recommended.
How do benzodiazepines work and why are they addictive?
Benzodiazepines are like a sedative or a complete system depressant that relaxes the body fully to help those that deal with high levels of anxiety when the body goes into overdrive. Anxiety can come on out of nowhere, and for some people, it can be difficult to function because they haven’t learned how to calm their body or why their body reacts the way that it does when anxiety attacks. These drugs are not like other drugs that may need some time to build up in someone’s system before they take effect, they are an immediate fix, which is why it is so easy to slide into addiction.
Addiction starts when our innate reward response kicks in and we immediately stop feeling anxious or stressed. For those of us with addictive personalities, this drive to seek out this easy reward with these fast-acting drugs is one of the most difficult things to resist. The addictive brain will become dependent on this drug to loosen the body and mind, and the tolerance to benzodiazepines is an easy build up that rises higher and higher over time. Let’s think about those people that were in the five-to-ten years of use category – benzodiazepine tolerance in those people has just kept rising, and they’ve simply been prescribed higher doses. Oftentimes, these prescriptions didn’t come from just one doctor, but many, which is another sign that the drug use has become a real problem.
Effects of Benzodiazepines:
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Impaired brain capacity for learning
- Long withdrawal period
- Inhibits CNS
- Affects neuroplasticity
At Enlightened Solutions, we focus on holistic care of the body, and try to avoid any type of prescription drug use, because most of them are abused and turn into serious addictions that can ruin the immune system and create artificial chemical processes in the body that cannot be maintained without a drug. Our treatment for the addiction of benzodiazepines focuses on the mind-body connection to the physical symptoms to reduce this abuse of the drug and allow people to deal with their stressors naturally. To see the seriousness of benzodiazepine use, all we need to do is look at the statistics. Instead of offering a “magic pill” to someone so that they can better cope with stress or anxiety, we should first explore the real problem and work through therapies to help these people manage their own symptoms through awareness and wellness.