Medication Monday: The Risks That Come With Benzos

It is once again time for Medication Monday, the weekly series that examines some of the medications that are used to treat mental illness, as well as some of the issues surrounding mental health medication. Today, we are discussing some of the risks that go with taking benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. These conditions include alcohol withdrawal, anxiety disorder, insomnia, panic attack disorders, and seizures. Benzos treat these conditions by increasing the impacts of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neuro-chemical that reduces electrical activity in the brain.

Examples of benzos include Ativan, also known as lorazepam; Halcion (triazolam); Xanax (alprazolam); Klonopin (clonazepam); Librium (chlordiazepoxide); Restoril (temazepam); and Valium (diazepam).

Yet there are risks that individuals should know about before starting benzos. For starters, it is important to recognize that these medications are not recommended for those over 55, nor are they recommended for long-term use. On the contrary, they should be used for short term relief only. Taken longer-term, benzos carry the risk of addiction and abuse.

And benzos also have certain side effects that come with use. These can include difficulty breathing, drowsiness, low blood pressure and fainting, as well as a slowed heart rate. If you have been prescribed benzos and are concerned about any of these possible side effects, you should consult your doctor.

As always, Medication Monday is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. Rather, Medication Monday is meant as a brief, informative introduction to some of the issues surrounding mental health medication. Hopefully, if you have questions about benzos, this post will help you be more educated as you go to talk to your doctor.

And as always, thanks for reading.

Source: NAMI – Types of Medication – Benzodiazepine Associated Risks

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