Chemical Structure: Any benzodiazepine will be of the family of drugs that have a chemical structure consisting of a fusion of a "benzene ring" and a "diazepine ring". (Abbreviated BZD to reflect this fusion).
Classification: Due to the wide range of variations of molecular side strains to the above core structure, Benzodiazepines are classified from among the following:
Anxiolitic (meaning a drug which reduces anxiety)
Amnesiatic (produces memory loss)
Administration: Can be taken in pill or capsule form orally, rectally, injected or taken intravenously.
Street Names: Benzos, Downers (also used to refer to Barbiturates) , BZD's, Goofball, Tranx, Heavenly Blue, Valley Girl (refers to Valium)
Benzodiazepine Drug Names: There are many, some of the more common ones include
Rohypnol (date rape drug)
And many, many others.
Short Term Effects of Benzodiazepines
Generally Benzo type drugs are depressants, prescribed to promote calmness, relief from anxiety, and relaxation. They are also used in alcohol detox and dental or other surgery. Side effect can occur such as:
Hostility and aggression
Loss of motor controls
Drowsiness and fatigue
Nausea and vomiting
Lack of appetite
Long Term Effects of Benzos
Because it accumulates in the fatty tissues over time, the following are common after multiple dosing, or long term use:
Impaired cognitive and judgement faculties
Depersonalization disorder (feels disconnected to body and environment)
Dissociative Disorder (loses normal concept of identity of self)
Benzodiazepine Withdrawals: Can be severe. Due to long acting nature of Benzodiazepine drugs it can take months or years to taper down safely. These drugs act on GABA receptors which are not only in the brain, but in every part of the body. Likewise, withdrawals can affect every system in the body. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
Phobias i.e. fear of water, fear of heights, fear of people, and so on.
Emotional dysfunction, i.e. feeling agitated, uncontrollable laughter, hysteria etc.
Visual dysfunction, i.e. flashes of light, blurred vision, double vision, rapid blinking, etc.
Anxiety, i.e. fear of sudden death, panic attacks, fear of impending doom, etc.
Urinary dysfunction, i.e. bleeding, incontinence, menstrual irregularities
Gastrointestinal dysfunction, i.e. cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation
Skin irregularities, i.e. itching, blotches, rashes, burning feeling, electrical sensations
Brain zaps, severe migraines, burning or pain radiating from the scalp, dental pain
Extreme muscle rigidity
and many many more severe withdrawal symptoms
Treatment for Benzo Addiction
Due to the pervasive nature of how benzodiazepine drugs affect each and every system in the body, it is only recommended that detox and taper be done under strict medical supervision. It can be life threatening to stop benzo use abruptly without medical supervision and oversight throughout the process.
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