What Are Benzodiazepines And What Are They Used For?


Among the existing drugs to treat anxiety, benzodiazepines are one of the most widely used and common in society. It is a type of therapy that appeared in the 1960s and managed to reduce some of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorders.

The popularization of benzodiazepines occurred because it is a drug that is well tolerated by the vast majority of people; however, like many others who treat anxiety, they can cause adverse effects such as drowsiness or generate addiction if they are not taken under medical prescription.

Then we want to find out what benzodiazepines are and what they are used for; so, you can better know this usual treatment in today’s medicine and know everything that can bring you.

What Benzodiazepines Are?

In the 1960s, benzodiazepines appeared, a drug that helped counteract anxiety and improve the day-to-day lives of people suffering from this disorder. It is a hypnosedative that can be of great help when we go through a difficult period in our lives, but it should not be abused because it has great addictive power. Thanks to the short-term efficacy of benzodiazepines, many doctors (especially psychiatrists) prescribe this drug to their patients. However, the main problem with anxiety or depression is that they are not conditions that end quickly, but rather long processes for which you have to be very patient. And that’s where the risk lies: people who take benzodiazepines for an excessive time can end up generating dependence on the drug.

Different Types of Benzodiazepines

Now that you know what benzodiazepines are, we’re going to discover the different types that exist so you can see all the varieties that are available today. These are:

  1. Depending on their form: they can be water-soluble or liposoluble
  2. Depending on your action: can be quick or slow
  3. Depending on your life: it can be medium, short, or ultra-short
  4. Depending on the power: high or low

It will always be the doctor or health expert who determines which of all these types of benzodiazepines is recommended for each of your patients. For example, one of the best-known drugs that have this active substance is Diazepam, a medicine that is used in short moments of anxiety, but never to treat a crisis or a patient with chronic or long-term anxiety.

Long-Term Risks of Benzodiazepines:

Benzodiazepines are safe drugs and very well tolerated by a large number of people; therefore, their success was overwhelming in the sixties and, to this day, it remains. However, you must know the risks of benzodiazepines, as they can have a depressive effect on the nervous system.

In case you follow a treatment based on benzodiazepines for a long period, it is common for you to have some side effects such as the following:

  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Attention problems
  • Failures in memory
  • Difficulties to concentrate on a task

We must never exceed the amount recommended by the expert. And we should always be controlled by a health professional to avoid any complications. Keep in mind that, in the case of an overdose, you may experience a drowning sensation, breathing problems, or a fatal outcome. Studies indicate that prolonged consumption of benzodiazepines may increase the risk of dementia during adulthood.

Due to the high risks of taking this medicine, health professionals recommend that not a drop of alcohol be taken during therapy or, of course, the use of drugs or substances that may intercede with treatment.

Dependency on Benzodiazepines:

It is important to know that benzodiazepines can cause dependence, especially if treatment is lengthened over time. The main problem that exists when using this type of drug is that the body ends up being tolerant to the active substance of the medicine and therefore the patient should increase the dose to feel the effects. If treatment is stopped directly, withdrawal syndrome may appear because the body has already become accustomed to receiving these components externally.

Some methods allow us to avoid dependence on benzodiazepines, as follows:

  • Specific diagnosis. The professional must know the patient’s problem and attack him at the root.
  • Education. The patient needs to know other natural methods to control anxiety and that the consumption of benzodiazepines is at specific times.
  • Medical prescription. Guidelines set by the medical professional should be followed so as not to create dependency and to have safe and beneficial treatment

How Long To Maintain The Treatment?

In addition, one of the best methods of avoiding dependence is not to lengthen its consumption too much. Depending on the dysfunction being treated, the use of this drug should be one or the other. For example, if insomnia is to be treated, benzodiazepine treatment may be done but no more than 4 weeks. It is also not recommended to leave treatment abruptly but to do so progressively so that the body becomes accustomed.

In the case of benzodiazepines being used to treat anxiety, the duration may be longer but never exceed 12 weeks. In any case, the exact duration must always be prescribed by the medical health expert and the head of the health of each patient. Every person is a world, so private and individualized attention is imperative.