- June 18th, 2018
“Benzos”, short for Benzodiazepines, is a class of controlled medications often prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. These include Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin and Valium. There are much safer and more helpful treatment options, which should be explored with a treating psychiatrist I see wide variety of patients - different ages and diverse cultures and socio-economic status. A common factor to many of these patients is somewhere along the line they were prescribed Benzodiazepines on a daily or as needed basis for anxiety. Yes, it’s a “quick fix” for anxiety but carries a high price to pay: risk of abuse, difficult to stop and potentially death. When taken daily for a long time they tend to decrease their effectiveness and cause the anxiety and insomnia to become much worse. Further, they predispose the patient for memory and concentration problems, falls and other injuries, depression and weight gain. In addition, research studies show an increased risk of developing dementia of Alzheimer type. Benzodiazepine use by patients that suffer from substance use disorder like alcohol or opioid use is dangerous. Concurrent use of alcohol or pain meds such as Vicodin, Percocet or others can cause death from cardiorespiratory arrest. One may not wake up the next morning. Explore with a Psychiatrist safer and more helpful treatment options for anxiety disorders or other psychiatric disorders that might present with anxiety symptoms. Heath Ledger, the joker in The Dark Knight, died in 2008 at age 28 from cardiac arrest due to accidental overdose of prescription medications that included Benzodiazepines. Let's get better and not worse!