Benzodiazepines (benzos) are medications commonly prescribed for anxiety-related conditions. They are also, unfortunately, commonly misused. Since they are relatively common, many people might have the perception that benzos are very safe, and, under the right conditions and under the care of a doctor, they are safe. However, benzos are powerful drugs that act strongly on the body and brain and should not be used lightly. But what do benzos do to the brain? What are the effects of short- and long-term usage of benzos? These are good questions if you or someone you love has been misusing benzos. Reaching out to Liberty Health Services is one way to find the benzo addiction treatment program that can help you or a loved one heal.
How Do Benzos Work to Relieve Anxiety?
Benzos are considered depressant medications. They work by acting on a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Neurotransmitters are compounds that the brain uses to let nerves send messages to one another about what to do. GABA’s job is to tell nerves to calm down and send fewer messages, which can help calm anxiety or panic attacks. So, when benzos cause extra GABA to be released in the brain, it might result in a feeling of calm or sleepiness.
What Are Some of the Side Effects of Benzo Use?
Even though benzos can be highly effective in the short term, they do have side effects which increase and become more concerning over the long term. Studies are still being done to fully understand the complete impact of benzo use on the brain, but early results seem to suggest that benzo use has a long-term effect on cognition, or the brain’s ability to think clearly, accurately, and quickly. Many of the side effects of benzo use can persist long after use of the drug is discontinued.
Some of the side effects of short-term benzo use are:
- Anterograde amnesia, also known as “blacking out”, in which memories are not formed for a period of time
- Uncharacteristic emotional outbursts such as aggression, violence, lack of impulse control
- Drowsiness, dizziness, unsteady gait
- Low blood pressure
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of inhibition and poor perception of risk
Some of the long-term side effects of benzo use are:
- Long term memory loss
- Learning difficulties
- Worsening of anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms
- Severe sleep problems
- Permanent damage to neurotransmitter function
- Brain damage
What Do I Do If I Need Help Stopping Benzo Use?
The most important thing to know about stopping benzo use is that it should always be done under the care of a physician. Benzo addiction is a serious condition that requires professional help from a licensed benzo addiction treatment center. Those who wish to stop using benzos need to be guided through the process of tapering off the drugs, otherwise there could be a serious risk of harm.
Even though it can be frightening to consider the side effects of benzo use and the risks of withdrawal, with the right help and support, recovery from benzo addiction is possible.
Where To Find Help Quitting Benzos Near New Hampshire
At Liberty Health Services in Derry, New Hampshire, we are experienced with the process of benzo withdrawal management and have helped many patients navigate the process safely and successfully. Our beautiful and private facilities are the perfect place to focus on healing and recovery. Because our approach to treatment is family-centered, our patients will learn to build their support network and heal the relationships that addiction has damaged.
If you or someone you love has been struggling with addiction to benzos, the best time to seek help is right now. Reach out to our kind and compassionate staff today at 855.959.4521 and let us tell you how we can help you rediscover your life.