What are Benzos?
Benzodiazepines, known to many as “benzos,” are man-made medications that cause mild to severe depression of the nerves within the brain (central nervous system) and sedation (drowsiness). Seizures, anxiety, and other diseases that require benzodiazepine treatment may be caused by excessive activity of nerves in the brain. These drugs may work by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another. Gamma-aminobutyric acid reduces the activity of nerves in the brain and increasing the effect of GABA with a benzodiazepine, reduces brain activity.
According to medicine.net, benzos are used to treat: “anxiety, nervousness, panic disorders, muscle spasms, seizures, sleeplessness, alcohol withdrawal, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and PMS.”
Benz use, when not closely monitored, can lead to addiction and are most often abused to get “high: due toothier effects on the brain. In fact, in 2017, benzos were ranked 8th in the top 10 drugs most abused in the United States.
The website drugabuse.org gives 5 shocking facts about benzo addiction:
- Becoming Addicted is Shockingly Easy
- Quitting is Devastatingly Difficult
- Using Often Creates Cognitive Impairment
- Developing Alzheimer’s Disease Is Far More Likely
- Dying Early Is a Tragic Possibility
medicine.net also lists the effects of benzos which include: lightheadedness, confusion, memory impairment, improper body balance, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, fatigue, respiratory depression, withdrawal symptoms, seizures, slow heart rate, sever low blood pressure, fainting, suicide, jaundice, dependence and abuse, reduced libido, weight gain, vomiting, increase or decrease in appetite, sedation, and/or drowsiness.
Overall, there is a defining need and place for benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, but their usage must be monitored for signs of addiction, dependence, and withdrawal to avoid some of the dangerous side effects of the drugs. Being aware of the dangers can prevent addiction and help others through recovery from benzo abuse.