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Benzodiazepines_:A class of psychoactive drugs

Benzodiazepines are so-called psychopharmaceuticals, so they act in the brain on the condition and the mood. Like many other substances of this type, the benzodiazepines also act by interfering with the metabolism of the nerve cells and the concentrations of the messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain. Benzodiazepines indirectly inhibit the excitability of nerve cells. They have a soothing, stimulating and aggravating effect, relaxing, anxiety-relieving and sleep-inducing. Therefore, they are also counted among the so-called tranquilizers, that is to say, the relaxation and calming means. The relaxing and soothing effect is used in all fields of application of benzodiazepines.

There are now many different benzodiazepines. They have been developed in order to achieve medications with the most varied possible effects, with different duration of action, and with the least possible side effects. The most common are the active ingredients Diazepam, Oxazepam, Nitrazepam, Lorazepam, Bromazepam, Flurazepam, Flunitrazepam, Alprazolam, Triazolam, Lormetazepam, Dipotassium Clorazepate, Chlordiazepoxide, and Tetrazepam.

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  • Deschloroetizolam
  • Pyrazolam
  • Diazepine
  • Clonazepam (this does not have a triazole ring)
  • Meclonazepam

The typical side effects of the benzodiazepines are related to the central damping of the brain. Fatigue, dizziness, and a limitation of the mind are therefore frequent. It is particularly problematic; however, that one can get used to the benzodiazepines and do not get rid of them because it makes one to be dependent.

Benzodiazepines do not solve the cause of the problem (for example, the internal restlessness, anxiety or sleep disorders) for which they are applied. They only cover the problem and shield the patient from the reality. This creates a psychological dependence on this protection against the reality, which compels us to take the active substance ever further.

If you stop taking benzodiazepines, the symptoms such as anxiety or insomnia are often intensified. This “rebound effect” is particularly effective after prolonged use and/or sudden absenteeism and is a manifestation of a physical dependency. This also leads to the patients repeatedly reaching for the active ingredient. In order to avoid the devil’s circle of dependence, benzodiazepines should only be used for a short time and the dose should always be stopped with a slow dose reduction.

The risk of habit formation and tolerance that is, increasing the dosage of the active substance for the same effect increases with the duration of application longer than two to three weeks. It appears to be the highest in the benzodiazepines Flunitrazepam and Lorazepam.

Decisive for the selection of a benzodiazepine is the activity and duration of action. Fast action and short duration of action as with Triazolam are favorable in falling asleep problems. Medium activity and mean duration as with Oxazepam is suitable for diarrhea problems. A long duration of action as side effects would cause fatigue and dizziness the next morning. These side effects are, however, accepted in other pathologies such as anxiety disorders, muscle tension, or epilepsy. In these cases a long duration of action is necessary. A long duration of action has, for example, Diazepam.

All benzodiazepines have a great so-called therapeutic range. That is, the distance between normal dosage and the amount at which the drug is fatal is very wide. Thus the benzodiazepines, apart from the danger of addiction, are very safe drugs when used correctly.