Anxiety disorders, like social phobia and panic disorder, can be treated with a number of medications. One such medication is benzodiazepine, commonly known as benzos.
Benzos are tranquilizers. Words that you’ll hear used to describe these drugs include hypnotic, sedative, anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, and amnesic. They work, in short, by slowing down your central nervous system.
As well as for Anxiety disorders, they are also prescribed for a number of other conditions including insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal. Dentists also sometimes use benzos in their work. Those who abuse stimulant drugs, such as speed, sometimes also abuse benzos to come down from the high. Common drugs classified as benzos include Xanax, Valium, Serax, Rohypnol, Halcion, Librium, Mogadon, and Ativan, among others.
There are a number of side effects to consider if you are thinking about using benzos to treat your anxiety disorder. First and foremost, some benzos are extremely addictive. While some users report no addictive feelings, others report complete addiction in as little as a few days. It depends on the strength of the drug you are using and your body’s specific reaction to it.
Other side effects can be drowsiness, ataxia, confusion, imbalance, impaired judgement, and forgetfulness. Some benzos are stronger than others and all have drug-specific side effects to consider as well. If taken at the same time as alcohol or opiates, benzos will become extremely toxic.
Once you are dependent on, or addicted to, benzos, withdrawal can be difficult and will include symptoms like insomnia, panic attacks, hypertension, tremors, depression, sweating, loss of appetite, and dysphoria. Sudden withdrawal may cause immediate convulsions, catatonia, delusions, psychosis, and delirium tremens.
Only anxiety disorder patients with prescriptions, and strict instructions from their doctors, should take benzos. Uncontrolled, the use of these drugs (like most prescriptions drugs) can be very harmful to your health.
Benzos may be able to help you regain control during a panic attack or in your day-to-day life. Many anxiety disorder patients have, in fact, found great success with this kind of medication. However, as you can tell, there are disadvantages to benzos as well. Make sure that you fully understand how to use them, and how they will affect your body, before beginning to take them.