Benzodiazepines or “Benzos” are highly addictive synthetic drugs that belong to a class of drugs known as sedatives. They are used to treat anxiety, seizures, and sometimes insomnia, muscle spasms, or alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines work on the central nervous system by increasing the effect of a chemical in the brain called GABA. This unique chemical called GABA reduces activity in the parts of the brain that are responsible for rational thought. Benzodiazepines are also considered psychoactive drugs because they do change the function of the nervous system which alters mood, cognition, behavior, perception, and consciousness.
Do Benzodiazepines Make You Sleepy?
Benzodiazepines are commonly used in operative settings because they do induce sleep, reduce anxiety, and can have amnesic effects. Having any kind of surgical operation can be very nerve-wracking and can cause a lot of anxiety, so benzos are commonly given, in low doses, preoperatively to reduce anxiety. Benzos are also given in higher doses, and with other medications, during surgery to help induce sleep and produce amnesic effects.
Feeling Lethargic While on Benzos
The answer is yes, benzos do make you sleepy. This is why they are often used to treat insomnia. Benzodiazepines slow down your nervous system and promote calmness and relaxation; they are sedatives. Some of the most common benzos to use for anxiety and anxiety disorders are alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, diazepam, lorazepam, and midazolam. Clonazepam, lorazepam, and diazepam are commonly used to treat seizure disorders. While flurazepam, temazepam, and triazolam are often used for insomnia. When it comes to anesthesia, midazolam, lorazepam, and diazepam are most often used.
Benzodiazepine Misuse Side Effects
Some of the other side effects of benzodiazepines can include:
- Mental fogginess
- Altered motor function
- Difficulty thinking or reasoning
Different Types of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines do differ as far as how quickly the onset is, how long they last, and what conditions each is most commonly prescribed or used for. Here are some of the most common benzodiazepines:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Midazolam (Versed)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
- Oxazepam (Serax)
- Flurazepam (Dalmane)
While benzodiazepines can be very effective medications, they should only be prescribed or used on a short-term basis due to the risk of dependency and misuse. The National Library of Medicine published some alarming statistics about the use and misuse of benzodiazepines.
A total of 30.6 million adults (12.6%) reported past-year benzodiazepine use-25.3 million (10.4%) as prescribed and 5.3 million (2.2%) misuse. Misuse accounted for 17.2% of overall use. Adults ages 50-64 had the highest prescribed use (12.9%). Those ages 18-25 had the highest misuse (5.2%), and those ages ≥65 had the lowest (.6%). Misuse and abuse of or dependence on prescription opioids or stimulants were strongly associated with benzodiazepine misuse. Benzodiazepine misuse without a prescription was the most common type of misuse, and a friend or relative was the most common source. Adults ages ≥50 were more likely than younger adults to use a benzodiazepine more often than prescribed and to use a benzodiazepine to help with sleep. (NLM)
Also, benzodiazepines are one of the most dangerous classes of drugs to mix with opiates. Often people will mix the two to enhance the painkilling and euphoric effects of opiates. While benzodiazepines do enhance the high from opiates, it also causes oversedation and extreme respiratory depression. This can then lead to overdose and even death.
Treatment for Benzo Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers evidence-based addiction treatment. Our solution-focused addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer, call us today.