Dealing with abuse: Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are medications that are commonly called as minor tranquilizers or anxiolytics. They are some of the widely-prescribed medications in different countries. If an individual without prescription use these drugs for their sedating or intoxicating effects, it later results to abuse.

The drugs act on the central nervous system which produces sedation and relaxation of the muscles as well as lowering the level of anxiety.

What are the indications?

At normal or regular doses, benzodiazepines can alleviate anxiety and insomnia. They are usually tolerated well. Oftentimes, individuals using benzodiazepines might feel drowsy or dizzy. This side effect might be more evident with high doses.

Benzodiazepines

At normal or regular doses, benzodiazepines can alleviate anxiety and insomnia. They are usually tolerated well. Oftentimes, individuals using benzodiazepines might feel drowsy or dizzy.

The high doses of benzodiazepines can lead to serious side effects. The indications of acute toxicity or overdose can include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor judgment and decision making
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma
  • Death due to respiratory arrest

The indications of chronic drug abuse might be non-specific and include appearance and behavioral changes that affect relationships and performance at work. The warning indications in children can include unexpected fluctuations in mood or worsening of performance in school. Chronic misuse of benzodiazepines can result to the following symptoms such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Anorexia
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Memory issues

When to seek medical care

A doctor should be consulted if there are any concerns, but if in doubt if an individual requires medical care, bring him/her to the nearest emergency department.

If an individual is suspected to be overdosed, seek immediate medical care. When an individual takes an overdose, the effects might not be evident right away. It is recommended to bring along the pill container so that the doctor can identify the amount and type of pills taken.

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