So many depressant medications are now in use, but benzodiazepines are among the most popular ones in the United States. As they are quite popular, they are common abused as well. Their widespread availability is one of the big reasons why many people opt for this form of drug abuse. You can find more than 15 types of benzodiazepines today, which are used to treat a variety of physical and psychological problems. The medication affects your central nervous system to lower anxiety levels and produce sedation and muscle relaxation. You experience several side effects when you involve in this type of drug abuse. Keep reading to learn more about different types of benzodiazepines and their effects on your body.
Which kinds of Benzodiazepines Are Available?
As mentioned already, there are a number of different types of benzodiazepines and they all work differently. There is a difference in how they start working and how long they continue to work. The following chart will provide you with more information about it:
Drug Name Common Brand Time to Peak in Hours Usages
Adinazolam Deracyn 1-2 antidepressant, anxiolytic
Alprazolam Tafil, Restyl 1-2 antidepressant, anxiolytic
Bentazepam Thiadipona 1-3 anxiolytic
Bromazepam Bromam, Lectopam, Lexotan 1-3 hypnotic, anxiolytic
Brotizolam Noctilan, Lendormin 0.5-2 hypnotic
Camazepam Limpidon, Albego 0.5-2 anxiolytic
Chlordiazepoxide Elenium, Librium 1.5-4 anxiolytic
Clotiazepam Clozan, Veratran 1-3 anxiolytic
Cloxazolam Olcadil, Sepazon 2-5 anticonvulsant, anxiolytic
Estazolam Nuctalon, ProSom 1-5 hypnotic, anxiolytic
Etizolam Depas, Pasaden 1-2 hypnotic, anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, amnesic, anticonvulsant
Flunitrazepam Vulbegal, Rohypnol, Ronal 0.5-3 hypnotic
Pyrazolam Bromazolam, Pyrazolam 1-1.5 amnesic, anxiolytic
Temazepam Normison, Restoril, Temaze 0.5-3 muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, hypnotic
Possible Side Effects of Benzodiazepines
Like any other drugs, benzodiazepines also have side effects. Here are the things you should be cautious about:
- General Side Effects
You may notice different side effects from different types of benzodiazepines, but most of them cause dizziness, sedation, unsteadiness and weakness. Some other side effects include headaches, loss of orientation, a feeling of depression, confusion, sleep disturbance, aggression, memory impairment and excitement. During the first few days of treatment, it is quite common to experience transient drowsiness as well.
2. Drug Interaction
Oral benzodiazepines interact with substances and medications that depress the brain like barbiturates, narcotic analgesics, alcohol, hypnotics and sleep medications. Combining benzodiazepines with these drugs and substances will lead to additional depression and may also cause respiratory depression that leads to breathing difficulties. You may also experience excessive sedation, drowsiness, lethargy and coma.
Tolerance, Dependence and Withdrawal
Before using different types of benzodiazepines, it is important to have clear information about dependence, tolerance and withdrawal.
You may develop tolerance for certain benzodiazepines after taking them for 6 months or more. Your healthcare provider may deal with the effects of tolerance by making small changes in dosage. They sometimes also add another benzodiazepine to the prescription. Keep in mind that a cross-tolerance exists between benzodiazepines and some other depressants such as barbiturates and alcohol, which means the effects of the drugs may not be that noticeable.
It is possible to develop dependence on different types of benzodiazepines. You are dependent on the drug if it takes up a lot of your emotions, thoughts and activities. You will also be spending time thinking about taking these drugs, looking for them, and using them without considering the side effects. You will also have little control over how much to take. Keep in mind that all types of benzodiazepines can cause dependence – you may become dependent on it within four weeks. Dependence can cause money, health, work, legal and relationship problems.
As mentioned, it is easy to become dependent on this drug, so there has to be some withdrawal effects when you stop taking it. Those withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that you may never be able to find motivation to stop taking benzodiazepines. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include disturbed sleep, nervousness, depression, confusion, anxiety, shaking, flu-like symptoms, convulsions, muscle aches and heavier menstrual bleeding. You may also develop a feeling that other people want to hurt you. You may also develop sensitivity to noise after you stop taking any types of benzodiazepines.
Can I Take Benzodiazepines When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
No, you should not take it when you are pregnant. The FDA has classified benzodiazepines as pregnancy category D – it means you taking these drugs during pregnancy can harm your baby. You should talk to your doctor immediately if you have been taking benzodiazepines before becoming pregnant. Moreover, you should avoid taking the drug when breastfeeding because it can enter breast milk and cause weight loss and lethargy in the newborn.