Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that are used in the treatment of nervous tensions, anxiety disorders, acute stress, panic disorders and anxiety that is caused by depression. These drugs have the effect of slowing down the action and activity of the brain neurotransmitters and this gives immediate relief to feelings of anxiety and stress. When they are administered, benzodiazepines cause an initial feeling of euphoria and they are therefore subject to abuse.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Side-Effects
If it is taken in high dosages and for a long period of time, it can cause serious side-effects that may even prove fatal. The patient will experience withdrawal symptoms once he or she stops taking the medication. Because of this, the patient may be obliged to take increased dosages of the medication thus causing further addiction and further injury to health.
Prolonged exposure to these medications has the effect of leading the abuser to engage in risky behavior and practices. The patient may have decreased inhibitions and have little or no fear of danger or death. This is because benzodiazepines negatively interfere with the chemistry of the brain that causes fear in a normal person and this may make the addicted person liable to engage in risk taking. The person may attempt or commit actual self-harm or harm other people.
A decrease in inhibitions can cause a person to suffer from serious injuries that may be great enough to cause death. The person may also voluntarily or carelessly become involved in a fatal accident or incur huge debts, because of the interference with the brain chemistry. The benzodiazepines abuser may also feel depressed, worthless and sad. The person may lose interest in life and important daily activities will always seem exhausting and worrying.
Benzodiazepines also have other serious side-effects of instilling hostility, hyperactivity, agitation and hallucinations. A person abusing these drugs may show a high degree of restlessness and hyperactivity. The person may be very hostile and agitated because of the high hyperactivity levels. This hyperactivity can lead to bodily injuries, physical violence and accidents. The affected person may also experience hallucinations and hear strange voices.
Benzodiazepines may also cause fainting. The abuser may experience body weakness, vertigo, loss of balance, light headedness, blurred vision and muscle aches. Another common side-effect associated with these drugs is seizure. The medication may cause convulsions and muscle twitches that may be severe enough to cause seizures. This will further result in speech difficulties, loss of consciousness and confusion.
Other side-effects include difficulty urinating and jaundice as benzodiazepines affect the body’s urinary system. Over exposure to benzodiazepines, especially when taken in high doses, may lead to ‘anuria’ or the inability to pass water. People addicted to benzodiazepines abuse may also develop jaundice which means the yellowing of skin. They may also develop sight problems including blurred vision.