Also known by their more formal name of benzodiazepines, benzos are a class of prescription drugs that are commonly prescribed to alleviate anxiety or to help an individual sleep better. Three of these medications include Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. The potential for abusing benzos is intense, as many people choose to take a higher dosage than is prescribed for them. Others take benzos without a prescription at all, purchasing them illegally.
How Benzodiazepines Affect the Body
When you take a benzo pill, no matter the name of the specific prescription, it works to slow down the functions of both the central nervous system and the body. Benzodiazepines have a sedative effect, that often makes you feel tranquil and sleepy. Your muscles feel relaxed, and your anxiety levels are reduced.
With that being said, taking benzos recreationally or in larger doses than prescribed can cause you to become mentally confused or to lose your memory. Your speech may become slurred, and your hands may shake. Depressed feelings are also common.
Dangers of Benzodiazepines
Perhaps the biggest danger of taking benzodiazepines is the strong potential for addiction. Benzodiazepines are only intended to be taken for a few weeks at a time. If you use benzos for more than a few months, their potency tends to wear off. As a result, you are sent back to square one.
Your anxiety levels are higher than they were in the beginning. After a benzodiazepine addiction sets in, and the drug no longer works for you anymore, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Trouble sleeping
- Anxiety and mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Paranoia and hallucinations
Long-Term Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Because benzos aren’t intended to be used long-term, if you do so, you can expect there to be lasting negative consequences on your brain. Abusing benzodiazepines long-term has the following effects:
1. Alzheimer’s Disease risk increases significantly:
Studies have shown a definite link between benzodiazepine use and an increased risk of contracting Alzheimer’s. If you take benzos for 3 to 6 months, your risk increases by 32%. Harvard Health reports that if you take benzos for more than 6 months, your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s increases by a whopping 84%.
2. Causes substantial cognitive decline:
Using benzos long-term causes impaired motor coordination skills, and a decreased ability to retain new information. Studies showed that even after subjects stopped using the drug for 3 months, no improvement was shown.
3. Causes your thinking to slow down.
Simple tasks will take longer for you to complete, and will also take longer for you to learn how to do them. Having trouble speaking and comprehending language may also be an issue when you use benzodiazepines long-term.
Receive Help Today From Asheville Detox
As you have likely noticed at this point, taking benzodiazepines is just not worth it. The feeling of relaxation that they give you is short-lived, but the damage that they do to your brain is going to be with you forever.
If you have become addicted to benzos, it is time to get help, before they do any more harm to your mind and body. Our detox clinic is designed to keep you as comfortable as possible during your detoxification process. Our friendly and professional staff at Asheville Detox is ready to talk to you and answer any questions you might have. Do not postpone your sobriety any longer. Life in recovery is worth it, and we can help get you there. Call Asheville Detox today to speak with a specialist and take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.