Benzodiazepines Addiction

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Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between benzodiazepines and Z-Drugs?

Non-benzodiazepines (“Z-drugs”) are a class of psychoactive drugs that are benzodiazepine-like in nature. Non-benzodiazepine pharmacodynamics are extremely comparable to benzodiazepines in terms of benefits, side effects, and hazards. However, Non-benzodiazepines, have different chemical structures and hence differ from benzodiazepines on a molecular level.

What are the side effects of long term benzodiazepine use?

Memory and cognitive impairment, increased or new sleep impairments, anxiety, neuropathy, pins and needles sensations, unexplained new health or psychiatric problems, increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, lack of balance with an increased risk of falling and related physical injuries, digestion problems, sleep apnea, and tremors are all common side effects of long term benzodiazepine use.

Are benzodiazepines a concern for the elderly?

Very much so. Benzodiazepines appear on the BEERS List for Potentially Inappropriate Drugs for the Elderly. Despite this, elderly prescriptions continue to rise.

Why should benzodiazepines be taken on a short term basis?

In patients with acute symptomatic discomfort and/or impaired ability to manage, short-term usage of benzodiazepines is justified. Long-term use is only acceptable in individuals with chronic severe anxiety when the benefits of symptom relief and high functioning outweigh the risk of addiction.

Do Benzos damage your brain?

When benzodiazepines are consumed for long periods of time, they can actually harm the brain. Taking benzodiazepines recreationally or in larger doses than prescribed can cause mental confusion, memory issues, permanent brain changes, and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Why do benzodiazepines need to be tapered off?

People with long-term dependence on benzodiazepines may find it difficult to stop taking benzodiazepines. Attempts to discontinue the use of these drugs often result in withdrawal symptoms and fast relapse. Therefore, a gradual reduction of usage is recommended over abrupt cessation.

Can benzodiazepines harm children?

Children can be harmed just like adults. Many children under the age of 10 tapering off benzodiazepines like Onfi (clobazam) experience more severe issues than adults.

What are the dangers of sudden benzodiazepine cessation, and how can they be avoided?

The abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines can result in seizures, severe and/or prolonged withdrawal symptoms, and even death. A sensible taper plan can reduce but not eliminate the risk of seizures and withdrawal symptoms.

Do benzodiazepines interfere with psycotherapy?

Yes. They impede the ability to retain information and form memories, which are essential for the most highly effective anxiety therapies, CBT and exposure therapy. They can also interfere with EMDR and first-line PTSD trauma processing therapies.

I use other substances too. Can you help me?

Call our support line on 0800 999 1083 to discuss strategies for reducing or withdrawing and to help identify what you would like to focus on reducing first.

If you are looking for support to withdraw from other substances, Call us on 0800 999 1083 to discuss treatment options.


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