While the nation has been focused on the recent opioid crisis, prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs/benzodiazepines have also been going up. Like painkillers, “benzos” are meant to be a temporary solution to a problem, yet doctors often allow their patients to stay on them for years.
“People who use benzos regularly over months or years risk “dependence, addiction, cognitive damage, more falls, and death,” according to Stanford University psychiatrist Anna Lembke. “Long-term use can make insomnia, mood, and anxiety worse. Just as overprescribing opioids contributed to the use of heroin and illicit fentanyl and related deaths, overprescribing benzodiazepines may herald the dawn of a new era of illicit and deadly benzodiazepines,” Lembke warned.” https://www.healthline.com/health-news/the-other-prescription-drug-problem-benzos#3
- Commonly prescribed tranquilizer medications to treat insomnia and anxiety.
- Brand Names: Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Seresta, Restoril, Madar
- Have a high potential for abuse, especially when used with other depressants such as alcohol or opiates.
- Symptoms can include drowsiness, impaired motor coordination, impaired thinking and memory, altered vision, slowed reflexes, erratic behavior, confusion, and impaired memory and judgement.
Reasons to add to your drug testing panel:
- A study performed by SAMHSA discovered that benzodiazepines are recreationally the most frequently used pharmaceuticals in the U.S., and account for 35% of all drug-related visits to hospital emergency and urgent care facilities.
- A 2005 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that not only did the use of benzodiazepines interfere with visuospatial ability, speed of processing thoughts and perceptions and the ability to absorb verbal lessons, but also after a person withdrew from benzodiazepine use, these abilities did not fully return. Those who used benzodiazepines over a longer period of time were more impaired.
- In a Treatment Episode Data Set report, it stated that almost all benzodiazepine admissions (95 percent) reported abuse of another substance in addition to abuse of benzodiazepines.