Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax, Ambien, Lunesta. Common names, but — beware! Take these drugs at your own risk. These are just some of the names of benzodiazepines or benzos, a class of psychiatric drugs that is highly addictive. They have severe withdrawal side effects and devastating side effects with long-term use. Benzos should not be taken for more than 2-4 weeks, yet most people do.
Today is World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, so take the time to educate yourself on these dangerous drugs at www.w-bad.org. The site has lots of free information and a short video.
As the site notes about benzos:
- A lot of people take Benzodiazepines (BZDs)—they are the most widely prescribed drugs in the world.
- BZDs are making some people very sick.
- BZD withdrawal can be severe, long lasting, and even fatal.
- BZDs sicken people who take these drugs exactly as prescribed.
- Existing research on problems with BZDs has been suppressed, censored and marginalized—and there needs to be more performed to truly understand the scope and nature of the problem.
- Even comparatively ‘low’ doses of BZDs can lead to severe physical dependence and withdrawal.
- The protracted withdrawal syndrome (PWS) may persist for months to years after cessation of BZDs and can be life-devastating.
- BZDs lose their effectiveness quickly over time (but are still prescribed long-term, in spite of this).
- BZDs can cause or worsen anxiety (in spite of often being prescribed to ‘treat’ anxiety. This makes no logical sense).
- BZDs can lead to suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and sometimes completion.
- Long-term use of BZDs can worsen or complicate pre-existing physical and mental health problems.
- Not enough medical professionals have awareness or education about this problem.
- Not enough people have awareness in general.
Research shows they are also linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.
In addition, this blog tells some frightening stories of patients who had very minor anxiety, but were given a benzodiazepine. It destroyed their life — literally causing suicide.
Many people are casually prescribed these drugs by their physicians without much information on the harms they can cause.
The really sad thing is they are often given for anxiety — which is merely an emotion otherwise known as fear! Why should we be drugging people who merely are having an emotional reaction? Why not try psychotherapy, self-help, meditation, yoga, deep breathing… well, you get the picture. Just about anything would be more helpful and certainly less harmful than a benzo.