By Gina-Marie Miraglia. Wellspring Preventionist
America is well aware of the opioid epidemic we are currently in, but we now have another class of drugs of concern. Prescription sedatives known as benzodiazepines are being misused and abused at escalating rates. Benzodiazepines include drugs such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium and are used for sedation and relaxation.
Within the past decade, overdose rates have dramatically increased as society becomes more dependent on these drugs.
Benzodiazepines are prescribed to those with insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, and seizures. Research shows that these drugs are being prescribed at an escalating rate increasing 67% from 1997 to 2013 while overdoses have increased seven time more from 1999 to 2015; according to Stanford Medicine.
Benzodiazepines are comparable to opioids since the benefits are overestimated while the consequences of addiction and over consumption are overlooked. Benzodiazepines are meant to be used for short periods of time and only as needed. However, when these drugs are used daily for long periods of time, it causes tolerance and dependence. In the same way, when benzodiazepines are overused it makes the medication ineffective and can cause issues like anxiety and insomnia to worsen. Though there are highly effective alternative ways to combat anxiety and insomnia, doctors continue to over-prescribe these medications.
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