Benzodiazepines and use of benzos have been a huge problem from the beginning. If you do not want to read this article about benzodiazepine completely, read this:
The moment you start using benzodiazepines, you run a huge risk within a month to 6 weeks of becoming heavily addicted. If you still want to stop using the benzo’s, you are going to face an extremely annoying and usually long-term rehabilitation process. Are you already there? Is it a heavy burden? Get more info on a Flumazenil infusion treatment or at benzobuddies.org. You can also take a look at the American doctor Jennifer Leigh who keeps a blog called benzowithdrawalhelp.com or read this post with tips on help with addiction.
The danger of becoming addicted is therefore large and does not take a a lot of time. You also get rid of yourself on benzo’s, you are not yourself anymore. Indeed, you are no longer so anxious, no longer so stressed, no longer so fielded. Only, you are also no longer so happy, so exuberant and not so clearheaded anymore. That is why sooner or later you have lost yourself with benzodiazepines. And that’s why – I’m so far away…
Benefits of benzodiazepines
However, there are advantages to benzodiazepines in the short term. If you think short term think about a maximum of 6 weeks. Within those 6 weeks you have time to change your behavior, make a change in attitude to your life, perhaps through a behavioral therapy, a sleeping course, a mind-fullness coursee, a seduction course (e.g. www.datingdoctors.nl) a psychiatrist/psychologist to arrange sessions, or whatever. After those 6 weeks, you only step into a life with bigger problems than before you started with benzodiazepines.
Perhaps you do not even know what benzodiazepines are? Let me first tell the whole story.
Uitvinder van Benzodiazepine
The inventor of benzodiazepines was Mr. Leo Sternbach (deceased in 2005). The first benzodiazepine he had released in 1955 by chance was Chlordiazepoxide (Librium).However, the 3 times stronger diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), nitrazepam (Mogadon), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), clonazepam (Klonopin), and trimethaphan (Arfonad) were invented by Leo Sternbach.
Valium was the most prescribed medicine in the world. Leo Sternbach, with benzodiazepines, has actually made the pharmaceutical giant Roche (now 50 billion Swiss francs in turnover and profit 9 billion). You could say that 25% of that turnover is directly attributable to Leo Sternbach.
And really inventing benzo’s was like a movie. Leo was working on a research into a better drug of the most sold drug of that moment, namely Miltown (meprobamate).However, due to unsatisfactory results, he had already been taken away from that investigation by his boss. After a year, his assistant Earl Reeder found a forgotten monster that would be thrown away. Well, they still gave it a test. And wonder to wonder – the test animals turned out to be very sluggish and complacent animals from Librium.
What are benzodiazepines or benzo’s
The generic name benzodiazepines refer to the part of the molecular structure which consists of a benzene ring which is connected to a 7-part diazepine ring. So most of the benzodiazepines available have the same 7-part diazepine ring.
Below an example of a benzodiazepine where we indicate the characteristic 1.4 diazepine ring in the middle with a red arrow. For the chemistry enthusiasts, syntheses known in this link 4 and 1 lesser known of Diazepam (Valium).
Benzodiazepines are safer and more effective for anxiety disorders and nervous nerve sufferers than opiates, alcohol, barbiturates or certain herbs. This safety stems from the fact that valium, for example, does not slow down breathing. As a result valium can in itself be used more difficultly to commit suicide. This also means that fewer accidents can happen
Do not mix with alcohol or other downers
However, if you mix it with alcohol, barbiturates or opioids, then the danger becomes extremely high. Benzodiazepines increase the number of times that the chlorine ion channel opens. Barbiturates or alcohol ensure that the chlorine ion channel remains open longer. Now that combi (more often and longer) will sooner or later ensure that you sooner or later have a total blackout and lose your awareness totally. This combi also might stop your breathing, which in turn can lead to death.
What are benzo’s used for?
Benzodiazepines are mainly used as a means to calm down, to go to sleep or to experience less anxiety. To a lesser extent you do find applications for benzos in the area of epilepsy, muscle spasms, and neurological disorders.
How do benzodiazepines work?
Benzo’s do that by acting on certain GABA neurotransmitters in the brain. GABA stands for “gamma aminobutyric acid” (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is an inhibitory factor in neurotransmission. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send messages to certain brain cells (stimulus transfer). As a result, the benzodiazepines result in less stimulus transfer to the brain, which in turn leads to relaxation and rest.
A more precise explanation is this: if GABA occupies the postsynaptic receptor by binding at the interface of the α and γ subunits, then the chlorine ion channel connected to the GABA receptor is opened. The chlorine ions then pass through the channel from the side with the highest concentration to those with the lowest. The potential difference across the nerve membrane becomes smaller and the excitability decreases. On the postsynaptic membrane, the benzodiazepine receptor is linked to the GABA receptor. If the latter receptor is occupied by a benzodiazepine, the (inhibitory) effect of GABA is more potent. If the GABA receptor is not occupied, benzodiazepines have no effect. Benzodiazepines, therefore, have no direct effect on the potency of the chlorine ion channel.
Short duration – longer duration – whats’t the difference?
Furthermore, you have benzodiazepines with a short duration of action (fast out of the body, half-life short) or long duration of action (remains long in the body, half-life long). In some benzodiazepines, this is also because the waste substances (metabolites) are a benzodiazepine. This happens, for example, with chlordiazepoxide, clorazepate acid, diazepam, ketazolam, medazepam, and prazepam. To illustrate: A drug with a very short half-life can be used to initiate an anesthetic, a drug with a long half-life can lead to a long-term reduction in anxiety and tension. Below some half-lives of known benzo’s and Thienobenzodiazepine Etizolam and the Triazolobenzodiazepine Clonazolam.
It still is not really known whether the fear-reducing (anxiolytic) effects and the numbing (sedating) effects are the same: do benzodiazepines reduce anxiety because the muscles relax and one feels something relaxed and languid, or is there something that really reduces anxiety?
Addiction potential of benzodiazepines
The addiction potential of benzodiazepines is high. These are just figures from practice. Research has also shown that 1 in 4 people who take benzodiazepines for longer than 6 weeks will become addicted to benzos. This is mainly due to the way the benzo’s change the GABA system and dopamine system and causes tolerance for a short time (within a week).
Tolerance is the state in which the knitting adapts to the presence of a drug or medication. This makes the drug or medication less effective for the intended effect. When this happens, some people start to take more because they want the same intended effect again. In the end, it is, of course, a kind of ascending spiral in which you increasingly take a substance to achieve the intended effect. Ultimately, people can no longer function without the drug or medication.
Immediately stopping with benzo’s (cold turkey) is dangerous
This is further enhanced because if you stop taking benzodiazepines you will get all kinds of severe withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, confusion, psychoses, sadness, trembling, sweating, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In other words, if you suddenly stop to take it, you immediately feel very sick. If you want to stop already, you will have to do so gradually, since ‘cold turkey’ can even be life-threatening. What makes you go back and forth that you want to stop, is always confronted with the addiction. Very difficult addiction to get away from.
Benzodiazepines Disassembly scheme
Your success to get rid of your addiction through ‘tapering’ or gradual reduction of benzodosis depends in part on age, duration of intake, dose, and severity of your complaints. This reduction schedule is not the only way to get rid of your benzodiazepine addiction. The higher your dosage and the longer you use, the more careful you have to think things through. This caution is intended to minimize the withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, with a good motivation, it is also better to keep up your scheme. However, you can count on it that you have to spent more than a half years of your life more or less. After that, you can be completely yourself again, and for example you can also enjoy joy and your exuberance again.
During the reduction, do not use chemicals (alcohol and things like GHB) that directly stimulate the GABA receptors. At the really tough moments, you can possibly use a boost, such as XTC, LSD, Ketamine, 2C-B-Fly, Coke, Kratom, speed or similar things. However, this is only allowed once in the 3 weeks. So if there is another heavy moment in those 3 weeks, then you can start to solve it yourself.
Supplements to promote phasing out benzo’s
- L-theanine (250 milligrams per day, 1 or 2 times daily).It is a special amino acid that almost only occurs in the tea plant Camellia Sinensis.L-theanine is best known for its calming effect. It increases the activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and GABA in the brain. It gives relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. ‘
- Magnesium Citrate: always take citrate or chelated, your body absorbs those the best.
About 330 to 550 mg before bedtime. Strengthens your bones, gives you relaxed feeling in both your muscles and in your head.
- Taurine (1 gram per day)
Ensures that the magnesium is better absorbed. You can also look at the alpha lipoic acid, melatonin, and 5-HTP and a vitamin B complex with a special focus on vitamins B3 and B6.
Step-by-step plan for the reduction of a benzodiazepine
Step 1. Switch to a benzodiazepine with a long half-life such as diazepam. Switching should be gradual. If you took your benzodiazepine several times a day, take 1 dose before bedtime. For the switch to a long-acting benzo, you have to convert the dose of your current benzo to its equivalent in diazepam. There are enough tools on the internet to find out for yourself. One can be found here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_benzodiazepines. Look for a treatment of your problem and register yourself already. This can be behavioral therapy, a mindfullness therapy, a yoga course, a dating course or a new activity, or a journey in which you are working to improve your life and yourself. Make sure that something different is in place for your habit.
Step 2 Every two weeks you less with one-eighth of your original dose. Reducing with 1/8 per 2 weeks takes 14 weeks. Such small dismantling steps are often not possible because no benzos areavailable in the right small dose. Ask the pharmacist if they can make the right capsules especially for you.
Step 3. If you take only 0.5 mg of diazepam (or what seems like it) per day, you should stop completely. Now comes the difficult time. Accept that, and also accept that it the difficult times will come again and again. Force yourself to be in the company of people. Be open about your problem. Shame cannot be used now. If it does not work to be open, do not see it as a failure either. You cannot do more than your best. In any case you already quite busy in becoming yourself again. Be proud of that already.
Rapidly reducing a benzodiazepine addiction
There is a possibility to get rid of a benzodiazepine within a week. This can be done with an infusion with Flumazenil. That goes against many of the affects you get when you stop cold turkey with a benzodiazepine. The GABA receptor – especially at high doses of a benzodiazepine – recovers only slowly from the severe damage that the receptor has suffered as a result. Scientific research also support this. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014019/
Use benzodiazepines decreased in the Netherlands
In the bar chart, you see here that from 2009 the benzodiazepine use in the Netherlands suddenly drops. This is because the Dutch government wanted to discourage the long-term use of benzodiazepines and therefore largely removed it from the basic health insurance. The use did not decrease because less was prescribed to the users of benzodiazepines, but because the number of users wa decreasing.
At present, about 10% of all 40-year-olds in the Netherlands are one benzodiazepine user and use (on average, seven users and non-users) seven standard daily doses (DDDs) per year. For 80-year-olds it has risen to about 30% and it is up to 30 per year. It is striking that these figures have been ‘most popular’ with age in recent years. For example, 17% of 67-year-olds in 2013, the first year of baby boomers, were a benzodiazepine user and the use was 22 ddd’s per year. Last year, two years later, those figures applied to 69-year-olds.And of the 67-year-olds in 2015, the figures match those of the 65-year-olds in 2013.
People have become wiser
So you see that people have become wiser. In the past, people thought that benzos were just a panacea and they knew nothing about addiction. These oldies are apparently simply lost and are addicted and written off. Nothing more to do. You can probably imagine that a demented elderly person who makes all kinds of noise and misery, costs relatively more than a demented elderly person who is quietly and silently in his chair to vegetate. Now probably an elderly person that you have to give full attention to costs more than 5 euros per month = cost per month of a generic benzo. And boom, suddenly 30/40% of the most difficult elderly people are quiet and happy …… This way you can save money on healthcare. And that is the hard truth.
How could you use benzodiazepines wisely?
Now imagine you are worrying and you cannot get to sleep at night. Now you can take a night without sleep. However, a small pill can indeed help you to fall asleep for a while. And sometimes the next morning something of a solution arrives. If you do this kind of thing about 12 times a year, with a month of intermission, nothing to worry about.
Or you have experienced something very traumatic, and you take it for up to a month. In that month you can arrange something from a psychiatrist, a life coach or a psychologist to work on a further treatment.
You are terribly nervous and anxious about something. You have to do it anyway and it is also very important. Now a pill can help you over it. It is possible that you immediately receive guidance from a coach, for example, who tells you what you can do best. Now the experience itself could be made even more peaceful.
Use of benzodiazepines should almost always be temporary
In all those examples, the use of benzo’s is only temporary. In all cases that benzos are used for a long time, the story is that you are actually abandoned. Or you have given yourself up. You as a person no longer exist. You’re so away…
It is, of course, possible that you have serious physical or mental problems with which you put yourself or others in mortal danger. Then look, of course, the drug is not worse than the disease.
However, the fact is that if a doctor sends a letter to all people who use benzodiazepines for a long time, the risk will stop with 14%.
In many cases, it comes down to 0.50 cents of pills a day cheaper or easier than 3 times a week a psychologist, a daytime or something of an effort to get out of a certain situation.
Benzodiazepines to get to sleep
Benzodiazepines work a bit stifling and they also relax the muscles. There are benzodiazepines that work for a short time and resources that work longer. By habituation, the effect decreases over time. Therefore, these drugs should not be used for more than two weeks. After that, it is important to stop using these drugs because otherwise, dependency can occur.
Benzodiazepines that work briefly are used for problems with falling asleep. They usually start working within half an hour and work about 2 to 6 hours. Below are the most common benzodiazepines in the case of insomnia problems, with their (sometimes old) brand name in brackets:
- Brotizolam (Lendormin)
- Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)
- Loprazolam (Dormonoct)
- Midazolam (Dormicum)
- Nitrazepam (Mogadon)
- Temazepam (Normison)
- Zolpidem (Stilnoct)
- Zopiclon (Imovane)
Benzodiazepines that work for a long time are used for problems with sleep through.
They usually start working after an hour and the operation lasts from 8 to 12 hours.
Below are the most common benzodiazepines for break-through problems mentioned, with their brand name in brackets:
- Diazepam (Valium, Stesolid)
- Flurazepam (Dalmadorm)
- Lorazepam (Temesta)
- Lormetazepam (Noctamid)
- Nitrazepam (Mogadon)
- Oxazepam (Seresta)
Benzodiazepines to calm down or anxiety disorders
Benzodiazepines flatten emotions. This makes them calming when you are stressed or nervous. Benzodiazepines work especially with more or less constant anxiety or tension. They do not work as well in panicattacks or anxiety, or in case of compulsory disorders (obsessions).
Below are the most common benzodiazepines in anxiety and anxiety, with their brand name in brackets:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Bromazepam (Lexotanil)
- Chloordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Clobazepam (Frisium)
- Clorazepinezuur (Tranxène)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Temesta)
- Oxazepam (Seresta)
- Prazepam (Reapam)
Benzodiazepines used for epilepsy, addictions and muscle spasm
Some benzodiazepines are also used in other conditions. Examples are:
- treatment of withdrawal symptoms in people who reduce their alcohol addiction
- other forms of addiction
- muscle spasm
In those cases, you should never just stop or reduce benzodiazepines. Always consult with your doctor first.
Recreational use of a benzodiazepine
Perhaps you have seen the movie Wolf of Wall Street? Now there they use Quaaludes, Ludes or Lemons or Methaqualone.
The secret of Quaaludes is that you have to stay awake and that you will experience quite a nice high.
The disadvantage (and certainly when you combine with alcohol or other downers) is that you can completely get wasted. And you will encounter some massive short time memory loss. You sort of don’t know what you did the day or night before. (that’s why the lovely ‘Cliff Huxtable’ used them probably)
With the benzodiazepine flunitrazepam or Rohypnol (from Roche again, of course) people do the same. They resist the tendency to go to sleep and go hunting for a great high. Once there, you also suffer from memory loss. You cannot remember what you did. Especially if you have taken alcohol. Hence the use of a ‘rape drug’. Although many young girls also tell false stories about ‘that something has been done in their drink’, while they themselves have just swallowed and drowned. However, the parents are of course not allowed to know that. So, after they wake up in the hospital, they hang up one or another story.
Alcohol and Rohypnol were also popular with soccer supporters for a while. In this way you could really could get totally wasted……
Still, there are people who take speed and a benzo. In order to be able to sleep anyway, ‘clubbers’ often take a ‘benzo’.
Further dangers (besides addiction) of benzo’s
- Fractions and other fall damage (especially in the elderly)
- Increased risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (up to 51% after takinga benzo for longer than 6 months)
- Accidents in traffic due to a lower reaction speed (about 1000 accidents a year due to benzodiazepines in traffic)
- No more sex with a much lower libido
- flatten social relationships because you are no ‘longer there’. It does not interest you all that much anymore.
So take care that your personality does not fly away!