Anti-Anxiety Medicine Abuse and Fatalities on the Rise

Latest research in medical science has revealed alarming results about many over the counter and other everyday medicine, placing their continuous prescription under scrutiny. Now studies have revealed that Anxiety and Insomnia medicine might be no exceptions to this case either.

Anxiety and Insomnia patients have often been prescribed drugs containing Benzodiazepines that work via the Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid hormone, which inhibits transmission of nerve signals in the brain. This in turn relaxes the nervous system and counters the symptoms of Insomnia and Anxiety.

Effect of Anti-Anxiety Drug

These medicine have immediate effect and remain in the body for several hours before their influence starts to wear off and are excreted. Their swift effects combined with long term duration makes them highly effective for countering the symptoms of Anxiety, Stress and Insomnia. Benzodiazepines may be used for a wide variety of situations, ranging from coping with the death of a loved one to fear of heights when boarding planes or when sleep just won’t settle in.

But Benzodiazepines are not just your regular over the counter medicine: they are classified as controlled substances and their unchecked use leads to drug abuse and addiction. Although their controlled usage is considered safe, overuse tends to cause way more harm than the symptoms themselves.

Symptoms and the Addiction

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The use of Benzodiazepines is on the rise, with 11-15 percent of American adult population having used them once last year, as per American Psychiatric Association statistics. This comes as no shock as National Alliance on Mental Illnesses reported that Anxiety is the number one psychological Disorder in the United States. Close to 20 percent of American population suffers from Anxiety related Disorders such as:

  • General Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias (Fear of any particular thing, event, etc.)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Social AnxietyDisorder (SAD)

The problem doesn’t end here: a patient doesn’t necessarily have to be diagnosed with Anxiety related Disorders to receive prescription for Benzodiazepine based drugs. Not only this, but some of them are sold without prescription as normal medicine, which places their controlled usage out of the question.


Addiction on the Rise

It isn’t easy to quit on Benzodiazepines once the addiction has set in. Since they provide immediate relief from Anxiety symptoms and are addictive in nature, once a patient is hooked it becomes a serious problem to quit them. Considering how seriously a patient is affected by these Disorders, it is understandable why they will reach for any means at their disposal to seek relief from pain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have observed an alarming trend settling in since 2014, with the prescription of pain relief medicines and Benzodiazepineson the rise. In their findings, CDC concluded for every 100 Americans:

  • 6 had been prescribed benzodiazepine based drugs
  • 5 were administered pain relief (opioid) medicines

What to do if You Find Yourself Addicted

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Opioids and Benzodiazepine based drugs cause heavy dependency, so quitting cold turkey isn’t the way to go in these situations. A safer, more suitable approach is to consult with your Health Care Providers and creating a timeline schedule to slowly but surely get clean of addiction.

Most of the times, patients who end up addicted find it difficult to discuss their issues with Healthcare Providers. Sometimes the symptoms may have disappeared a long time ago but the patient remains under influence of medicine and does not realize they are not needed anymore. Regular check-ups with doctors ensure the use of these medicines remains under check and do not end up causing more damage than the Disorder itself.

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