Adult people somehow know the existence of benzodiazepines even if only for “that pill that my mother takes to sleep.” The best known and most studied is diazepam, although there are many others on the market. We also usually know more about their trademarks.
What do benzodiazepines do in my body?
Before taking these medications it is interesting to understand what is happening in our body when we take it. There is a neurotransmitter that circulates through the central nervous system called GABA. We mean by the central nervous system the brain and the spinal cord basically. This neurotransmitter (GABA) binds to receptors that are in the synapses of the nerves. Synapses are the joints that make nerve cells with others to communicate. What GABA does is inhibit, ie limit communications. Benzodiazepines bind to the receptors and help GABA potentiate its activity.
This potentiation of GABA by the benzodiazepines makes them drugs that slow epilepsy (anticonvulsants), produce muscle relaxation (muscle relaxants), induce sleep (hypnotic) and remove anxiety (anxiolytic).
What are benzodiazepines for?
Doctors prescribe this type of medication in many situations that I will explain based on the effects described above, although I will focus mainly on the back and neck.
– Anticonvulsant. The inhibitory effect we have mentioned causes them to be used to stop seizures or an epileptic seizure that has started. To prevent the use of other drugs because it is not advisable to maintain benzodiazepines over time.
– Anxiolytic. These medications relieve the anxiety-producing symptoms that are so annoying to the sufferer, such as palpitations, shortness of breath, and feeling of distress.
– Hypnotic. They help us fall asleep and make us wake up less at night.
– Muscle relaxant. Benzodiazepines cause relaxation of the muscles. This is the most sought after effect when treating a back and / or neck ailment. The first few days after acute pain in the neck or back, there are reflex contractures of the muscles that seek to stabilize the joints of the vertebrae they have suffered. The problem is that these contractures can be very painful and limiting. To relieve pain and these muscle spasms benzodiazepines are used with some frequency. In addition the anxiolytic and hypnotic effect also helps the patient to rest better and better carry the first inflammatory phase. It is very common to use it after a car accident, for example, where we have suffered damage to the neck.
What benzodiazepine is best for me?
The effect of these substances on each person is very different. Each person has different types of receptors in their body. This means that the same pill to one can make much effect and feel very asleep and another to say that you do not notice almost anything. This makes it necessary to adjust the treatments individually.
As for what benzodiazepine we use, we take into account several things. I will give some brushstrokes although we must be clear at all times that our doctor is the one who has all the information to prescribe the most appropriate medicine for our particular situation. All benzodiazepines have all of the effects described, although they differ from one another depending on how much effect they have on each thing. For example, lorazepam and alprazolam are more potent as anxiolytic than others and diazepam is more muscle relaxant than others. On the other hand, each medication is different in terms of the time that is in our body performing its action.
When deciding the medication and the most appropriate dose also enter other factors such as age and diseases that can make more advisable one to another. In short, always consult a doctor.
Is it bad to take it too long?
Benzodiazepines are drugs that create dependency, that is, that “hook”. Each time we need more doses to have the same effect, especially for sleeping. The anxiolytic effect is usually kept longer with the same doses. For this reason, treatments for the back and neck are not recommended beyond a few days. Keeping it longer does not make sense because it loses its effect and we are going to hook. In other types of diseases such as anxiety is used for longer although they should not be maintained in the long term.
Being a drug that engages produces abstinence syndrome. When we stop taking it it can happen that we feel more nervous and that it costs us to sleep a little. We must be calm and not take them back because in a few days this effect will pass and we can continue our life without depending on them.
Here you can get more information in this blog great depression facts.