Nowadays anxiety is one of the prevalent problems in our society. So it's no surprise that thousands of Americans take medicines to overcome their fears.
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Benzodiazepines are the most commonly-prescribed drugs, used to treat anxiety, especially in older adults.
Our brains contain wide variety of neurotransmitters – chemicals that send messages from one neuron (brain cell) to another and may have sedative or excitatory action.
Anxiety makes the brain extremely active and excited. Tranquilizing chemicals are released to calm down this activity and relieve anxiety. GABA is one of the most powerful sedative neurotransmitters.
Clonazepam, lorazepam and alprazolam were found to be effective in treating insomnia, generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. They improve GABA action and speed up calming processes.
Specialists say that benzodiazepines work much faster than antidepressants and other drugs, which could be prescribed to alleviate anxiety.
However while short-term use of these medicines can bring a lot of benefits, taking them for a long time may contribute to serious side effects.
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It was found that those, who take benzodiazepines over a long period of time, need higher and higher dosage to reach anxiety-fighting effect.
The other problems is that these drugs may cause dependence with time. Therefore, doctors try to prescribe benzodiazepines only for short period.
Moreover, stopping swallowing benzodiazepines suddenly is a bad idea too, as it may cause withdrawal symptoms or allow anxiety return.
Another effects of anti-anxiety medications include drowsiness, confusion, poor coordination, visions problems and headaches.
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One study has found that people over 65 years old, who take benzodiazepines constantly, have higher risks of dementia.
The dose plays a great role too. Although taking too much anxiety-fighting drugs can rarely be fatal, mixing them with opioids, antidepressants or alcohol may affect your nervous system and may be even life-threatening.
It's worth knowing that benzodiazepines may interact with numerous medicines, such as antibiotics, anticonvulsants and birth control pills. For example, oral contraceptives cause accumulation of benzodiazepines and make side effects worse.
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That's why it's really important to let your doctor know everything about your health conditions and daily medicines. And remember that you should follow doctor's recommendation thoroughly to get benefits and prevent dangerous side effects.
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The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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