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:

  1. Becoming Addicted is Shockingly Easy
  2. Quitting is Devastatingly Difficult
  3. Using Often Creates Cognitive Impairment
  4. Developing Alzheimer’s Disease Is Far More Likely
  5. 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.

sources: medicine.net, drugabuse.org


Sometimes when I look back at what I’ve been through in my life, I’m amazed that I’ve done as well as I have. Besides being sexually molested by my step-grandfather, my mother’s family totally turned on us when my sister and I told what he had been doing to us. That was hard on my parents. My dad started drinking again and my mother eventually became addicted to drugs. We lost our house, mom and dad split up, and my dad left us in a motel for nine months. We had to keep changing schools and I don’t know how things could get worse, but then my mom went to jail. But jail actually turned out to be a good thing because it helped her get sober and back on track.

Although I almost dropped out of high school, I did end up graduating with a 3.6 GPA.

“The thing that motivated me the most to stay in school and stay in control of my life was watching my mom get clean and sober and turn her life around. Now I’m doing all I can to make her proud of me.”

I’ve been getting help for my PTSD and depression, and I can honestly say things have never been better. I got a scholarship and am now attending Salt Lake Community College. I would like to become a substance abuse counselor. I’ve already had lots of

experience. I was one of the founders of a youth group called K.O.P.P.I.R. (kids of parents and people in recovery). We meet at least once a week and help each other through the tough times and we do a lot of service projects.

BipolarUnderstanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (often called BD) is a type of mood disorder.  In the past, this condition was called manic depression but most psychiatrists refer to it as bipolar disorder now.  This disorder is a psychiatric illness that causes major disruptions in lifestyle and health.

Everyone has occasional highs and lows in their moods. But people with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings between depression and mania. They can go from feeling very sad, despairing, helpless, worthless, and hopeless (depression) to feeling as if they are on top of the world, hyperactive, creative, and grandiose (mania). This disease is called bipolar disorder because the mood of a person with bipolar disorder can alternate between two completely opposite poles, euphoric happiness, and extreme sadness.

Even more confusing for the individual dealing with the disorder is when symptoms of both mania and depression sometimes occur together in what is called “mixed state.”

Also, the mood extremes usually occur in cycles. Between the mood swings, people with bipolar disorder are able to function normally, hold a job, and have a normal family life. However, the episodes of mood swings tend to become closer together with age. Speaking of age, most people start showing signs of bipolar disorder in their late teens (the average age of onset is 21 years). These signs may be dismissed as “growing pains” or normal teenage behavior. On occasion, some people have their first symptoms during childhood, but the condition can often be misdiagnosed at this age and improperly labeled as a behavioral problem. Bipolar disorder may not be properly diagnosed until the sufferer is 25-40 years of age, at which time the pattern of symptoms may become clearer.

When a person is in the grip of this disease, chaos can occur. Bipolar disorder can cause major disruption of family and finances, loss of job, and marital problems.

For instance, severe depression can be life-threatening. It may be associated with thoughts of suicide, actual acts of suicide, and even acts of homicide in some cases.  On the other hand, extreme mania can lead to aggressive behavior, potentially dangerous risk-taking behaviors, and homicidal acts. Also, people with bipolar disorder may turn to drugs and alcohol to “self-treat” their emotional disorder, resulting in substance abuse and dependence.

Because of the extreme and risky behavior that goes with bipolar disorder, it is very important that the disorder be identified. With proper and early diagnosis, this mental condition can be treated. Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that will require proper management for the duration of a person’s life.


Effects of Depression

Effects of Depression

What are some Depression Effects?

Most of us have either experienced depression or have been affected by someone else who is struggling with it.  We know it’s lonely and hard for the person experiencing it as well as for those impacted by the depression.  It’s also somewhat common knowledge that being depressed wears out certain parts of our body.  These effects may vary depending on age, gender and other factors, however, 8 key effects of depression have been cited by healblog.net. The information on each of these effects of depression is listed below:

Insomnia: Insomnia is the inability to sleep. At times, the regular pattern of sleep is broken frequently with the person waking up and feeling restless in the middle of the sleep. Most often, people tend to wake up early and are not able to go back to sleep

Weight fluctuations: Sometimes the person begins to forego food, resulting in weight loss.  Or, he or she may begin to overeat or do less physical activity, resulting in weight gain.

Physical symptoms: Some physical symptoms associated with depression include fatigue, headache, digestive related problems, and body ache.

Depression affects people according to their ages Children who are depressed may feel insecure, demanding, and irritable while older people have been known to develop physical disorders like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Thyroid Disease:  Thyroid patients have higher cases of depression than those without the disease.  Thyroid disease symptoms include: muscle and joint pain, neck discomfort, hair/skin changes, bowel problems, menstrual irregularities/fertility problems, cholesterol issues, weight change, fatigue.

Increased DHEA levels: With increased DHEA levels, the adrenal glands can break down, causing cortisol levels to increase. These higher levels of cortisol in the blood can cause people to worry more and feel more anxious.

Decline in libido: Depression can cause a dip in libido as well as sexual problems like decreased potency, premature ejaculation and lack of vaginal lubrication.

Heart related problems and blood pressure: Depression can worsen and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. It is also a leading cause of stroke and high blood pressure. The leading cause of heart disease is documented to be stress and depression.  The relationship between depression and heart disease has not yet been well understood but it has been shown that an agitated mindset or a depressed mood can be the cause of blood pressure related and heart problems.

If you are experiencing these effects of depression, consult with your doctor or call Turning Point Centers at #1-888-576-HEAL (4325) to find a solution for improving your moods and your quality of life…..loving help is available!!

For most people, the holiday season is a time of joy and happiness, filled with parties, presents and family functions.  For some, however, this time of year can be hard to bear.  Whether it’s because of stress, loneliness or anxiety about the future, holiday depression can happen to anyone at any time.

A recent article on Depression-Guide.com highlights some important facts about holiday depression. These include:

  • Seniors are more prone to holiday depression.
  • Women are more susceptible to holiday depression than men.
  • Depression and suicide rates are at their highest during the holidays.
  • People who don’t view themselves as depressed (but actually are) have a tendency to be stressed, drink more alcohol, eat too much food, and may have headaches or difficulty sleeping.
  • Post-holiday sadness can occur after all the festivities are over.

What to do about holiday depression:

First off, if you feel that you’re depressed, do everything possible to not be alone for the holidays!  Other ways to fight depression include listening to non-holiday music, simplifying your gift-card or gift-giving routine, scaling back on decorating, and more.

Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from depression, whether or not it’s related to the holidays, it’s never too late to seek help.  Even if you don’t contact Turning Point Centers, we encourage you to seek help from a proper treatment facility.

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