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What are benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines (benzos for short) used to be called “mild or minor tranquilizers.” They’re typically prescribed to patients who suffer from anxiety disorders, and are a classification of drugs that include Xanax, Valium, and Librium. Rohypnol, although not legal in the United States, is also considered a benzodiazepine that is colloquially known as a “date-rape drug” that induces amnesia to those that ingest the drug.

These drugs work by tampering with your brain’s GABAergic system. Typically, most scientists think of benzodiazepines as increasing the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of peace and calm. Scientists also classically consider GABA to be an inhibitory neurotransmitter, thus explaining why these benzodiazepines serve to ‘shut-down’ feelings of anxiety or wakefulness. This accounts for benzodiazepines creating a sleepy effect when ingested.

Benzodiazepines can be and are frequently abused by users. A study conducted in 1994 by Anthony et al. says that 9% of users of the drug become addicted to it, and often, these users combine the drug with alcohol. Dependence on benzodiazepines is extremely problematic because detoxing from the drug can take weeks, or even months. Severe withdrawal symptoms can occur, and benzodiazepines have quite a high rate of users becoming chemically dependent. If you are suffering from an addiction to benzodiazepines, or if you know someone who is, contact us today. Here at South Bay Connect, we aim to rehabilitate those who have had their lives affected. We have the ability to detoxify, treat, and ultimately, care for those suffering from a dependence on benzodiazepines. We are an intensive outpatient treatment program, and we are a drug and alcohol treatment center in the South Bay of Los Angeles.



Source: Erickson, Carlton K. The science of addiction: from neurobiology to treatment. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2007. Print.

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