Xanax easily tops out the list of benzodiazepines that see the highest rates of use and abuse. The drug made headlines around the world in November 2017 when the rapper Lil Peep died from an overdose of fentanyl and Xanax. The mixture of opioids and benzodiazepines is incredibly dangerous and growing in popularity. In fact, more than 30 percent of toxicology reports for opioid overdoses also reveal the presence of benzodiazepines.
Although the United States is widely aware of its opioid epidemic, benzodiazepines follow closely behind without receiving as much attention. The number of benzodiazepine prescriptions filled by adults in America jumped 67 percent between 1996 and 2013.
Nearly everyone knows what opioids are by now but do you know what benzodiazepines are? What does the drug do and who does it help? Continue reading to learn more about them and find out the list of benzodiazepines that see the most use and abuse.
The Useful Side of Benzodiazepines
People who live with anxiety disorders experience a disrupted balance in their brain’s ability to process the external world. Different things trigger different people’s anxiety levels, from social situations to phobias to making big decisions. When someone experiences anxiety or a panic attack, their central nervous system becomes overwhelmed and responds negatively.
Benzodiazepines are a prescription medication classified as as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant or a tranquilizer. They trigger the release of a tranquilizing chemical in the brain that slows brain activity and calms the CNS. They help relieve symptoms of extreme nervousness and anxiety, relax your muscles, and encourage sleep.
Psychiatrists and doctors prescribe these types of drugs to people who struggle with:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorders or panic attacks
After a course of treatment with one type of drug from a list of benzodiazepines, they find themselves able to go about life in an overall calmer manner. Sleep comes easier to them at night because their brain doesn’t feel like it’s running circles and keeping them awake.
When used responsibly as prescribed, the list of benzodiazepines outlined below are miracle drugs for people who don’t respond to therapy alone. Most doctors prescribe them on a short-term basis due to their high potential for dependence and addiction. Instead, they use benzodiazepines alongside counseling or therapy to help reach the root cause.
Benzodiazepines for Alcohol Withdrawals
Addiction treatment centers who use medication-assisted treatment find that benzodiazepines help relieve alcohol withdrawals. Alcohol withdrawals tend to be painful and uncomfortable, both physically and psychologically. The calming and relaxing effects of prescription benzodiazepines lessen some of the impact of these symptoms.
It’s incredibly important to use them for the shortest period of time possible when treating alcohol withdrawals. Someone who comes in with an alcohol use disorder obviously has addictive qualities about them. If a doctor freely prescribed benzodiazepines to a recovering alcoholic, the results could quickly become fatal.
Top 5 List of Benzodiazepines: Most Used and Abused
Most of the top 5 on the list of benzodiazepines that see the most use will sound familiar to you. Whether you read them in the headlines last year or you personally know someone who struggles with addiction, you’ll likely recognize at least one type.
Below is the most used list of benzodiazepines:
1. Xanax and Xanax XR (Alprazolam)
Xanax might easily be the most popular of all prescription benzodiazepines. Commonly referred to as “bars” due to their oblong shape, thousands of people find themselves trapped in their grasp. They’re a powerful drug, highly addictive, and difficult to kick because the effects act quickly on your system.
2. Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)
Librium is the most used on this list of benzodiazepines for treating alcohol withdrawals. Its impact on the central nervous system last longer than others and it takes longer for the effects to kick in.
3. Valium (Diazepam)
Doctors use Valium to treat not only anxiety disorders but also muscle spasms, seizure disorders, and certain cases of alcohol withdrawals. Similar to Librium, Valium takes longer to take effect but it lasts for a shorter period of time.
4. Klonopin (Clonazepam)
Klonopin is a fast-acting benzodiazepine that works in combination with antidepressants. The withdrawal symptoms from klonopin are less severe compared to other types of drugs on the list of benzodiazepines.
5. Ativan (Lorazepam)
Ativan is one of the best drugs to help with muscle spasms and seizure disorders such as epilepsy. It also has fewer adverse interactions with other drugs than the medications listed above.
Benzodiazepines: The Quiet Danger
Benzodiazepines quickly become dangerous if you use more than prescribed. Again, they have a high potential for dependence, addiction, and abuse. Their classification as a Schedule IV drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration doesn’t truly portray how harmful they can be.
The calming, muscle relaxing side effects of benzodiazepines make them a popular drug to misuse. Although dangerous on their own, the effects may be fatal if you combine them with other substances, especially alcohol and opioids. Since alcohol is also a depressant, combining the two leads to side effects like:
- Slowed heart rate
- Difficulties breathing or respiratory arrest
Cutting any and all of your use use of the list of benzodiazepines above has the potential to save your life. If you try to stop and find that you can’t, you might be addicted to them. Thankfully addiction treatment facilities such as Hawaii Island Recovery exist. Attending treatment separates you from the drugs and helps you learn to live clean and sober.
If you want more information on how to get help at an addiction treatment center, give our admissions office a call today at 877-721-3556.