Benzodiazepine as a drug: mechanism of action, effect, overdose, treatment

Drug addicts contrive to "catch high" in a variety of ways. One of the simplest and most popular is to swallow pharmaceutical pills containing substances with a narcotic effect.


Benzodiazepines are psychoactive substances that exert a deterrent effect on the central nervous system, and, more precisely, have hypnotic, anxious, sedative, relaxing, anticonvulsant effect. All benzodiazepines are representatives of the CNS depressant group.

In medicine, benzodiazepines have found application in the treatment and symptomatic action against:

  • epilepsy;
  • of insomnia;
  • anxiety disorders;
  • spasms in the muscles;
  • withdrawal syndrome from alcohol, drugs.

The group of benzodiazepines was created back in 1955, and by 1959 they were sold in pharmacies( the first drug was called Valium).Physicians initially met this group of drugs with enthusiasm, it largely replaced barbiturates. But by the 1980s, a serious side effect had been identified - drugs caused addiction. According to studies, benzodiazepines, when consumed for a long time, damage the brain in the same way that alcohol does when it is abused. It is because of the fact that the drugs are similar to drugs, they are sold only on the prescription of a doctor and are appointed in a limited way.

Representatives of the benzodiazepine group who prefer to use addicts are:

  • Nordiazepam;
  • Phenazepam;
  • Diazepam;
  • Lorazepam;
  • Nozepam;
  • Quazepam;
  • Xanax;
  • Librium;
  • Serax and many others.

Among the "pharmacy drugs" that affect the operation of the central nervous system, it is the benzodiazepines, including tranquilizers, that are discharged to people most often, and then are used far from their intended purpose. Recipes for medicines are usually falsely repaired, while dependent people use an unfair attitude towards their testing in many pharmacies.

Properties and mechanism of action of

Benzodiazepines affect the specific receptors of the brain( GABA receptors), while increasing the similarity of GABA( gamma-butyric acid) with nerve cells. The result is a decrease in the excitability of neurons, which leads to a retarding effect. Activation of different types of GABA receptors by benzodiazepines causes the development of not only the therapeutic effect, but also various other effects. Some type of GABA-receptors are even called benzodiazepine, after all, after the binding with them, the drug "parish", which drug addicts expect, develops. The fact is that strengthening the work of all the described receptors provokes the release into the intercellular space of dopamine - the "pleasure hormone".

The duration of the sensations followed by drug addicts can be 2-8 hours, depending on the duration of the drug and its dose.

The effect that drugs give is as follows:

  • decreased anxiety;
  • calmness;
  • pacification;
  • reduction of pain syndrome and sensitivity to pain;
  • reduction of care;
  • relaxation, total relaxation;
  • feeling full of satisfaction;
  • serenity.

Properties of drugs - sedative, anti-anxiety, miorelaxing, hypnotic and others - largely depend on the dose used. Usually, drug addicts prefer to exceed therapeutic dosages by 2 or more times, which, in addition to obtaining the desired result, threatens to overdose.

It is worth responding to the question of how many benzodiazepines are held in urine and blood. Thus, the exact time depends on the properties of a particular preparation and the characteristics of the organism. The half-life of blood is 1-100 hours. In urine, they last from 24 hours to 7 days or more. Symptoms of using

Drugs in the form of tablets are taken orally, or, if desired, enhance the effect, are poured into powder and injected. Symptomatology occurs due to the onset of action of benzodiazepines on the central nervous system. In general, narcotic intoxication resembles one when taking a large dose of alcohol. There is no alcohol smell from a person, and this is an important distinctive feature that will help drug addicts find out the fact of their use.

The main symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse are:

  • Slurred speech.
  • Violation of orientation in time, in space.
  • Vertigo.
  • Drowsiness of varying degrees.
  • Violation of concentration of attention.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Various vision problems.
  • The state of euphoria.
  • Convulsions( rare).
  • Delusions, utterances.
  • Nightmares in a dream.

With frequent consumption of benzodiazepines, people periodically experience depression, they lose libido, men get an erection. After the cessation of the effects of drugs often there are headaches, nausea, depression of mood. With intravenous administration of a drug, a drop in blood pressure, a violation of breathing acts is possible.

Side effects of

Most side effects from this group of drugs are due to their sedative as well as relaxing effect. As the concentration of attention in the addict is seriously reduced, it is fraught with serious consequences - injuries, bruises. The situation is aggravated by drowsiness, dizziness. If a person in this condition sits behind the wheel, the risk of an accident is high, often with a fatal outcome.

Long reception of benzodiazepines strongly reduces quality of a sexual life, worsens vision, probably reduction of cardiac output, delay of movement of meal on GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT.There have been recorded cases of toxic liver damage( drug hepatitis), development of chronic insomnia, tremors, skin rashes, weight gain, chronic hypotension. Possible anterograde amnesia, muscle weakness, changes in the hormonal background. The longer the period of drug use, the higher the risk of depressions and suicidal thoughts, the development of panic conditions and other mental disorders.

Occasionally, there are abnormal side effects that are not characteristic of the drugs of this group. However, when taking a large dose that drug addicts practice, they are quite possible:

  • Unmotivated aggression;
  • Convulsions;
  • Impulsive behavior.

The most often bad outcome comes from drug addicts already suffering from various mental disorders and personality disorders. In most cases, this is observed with polydrug use.

Dependence of

Even admission in a therapeutic dosage, but organized long-term, can provoke the development of dependence on benzodiazepines. It is proved that these drugs provoke both mental and physical dependence, but in a relatively low degree( in barbiturates, opiates it is much higher).The dependence is easily provable, since after the withdrawal of the medicine, a number of symptoms arise from the side of the body and internal organs, and also from the side of the psyche.

But drug addicts who use large doses, and especially those who previously had experience of using other psychoactive substances, sit tightly on bendodiazepines for 2-3 months. According to statistics, up to 50% of addicts undergoing therapy have a parallel dependence on this group of drugs.

Poisoning and overdose

Benzodiazepines can lead to overdose, but, used as a mono drug, rarely cause a fatal outcome( no more than 3% of cases of acute poisoning).But simultaneous reception of alcohol or opiates this probability is seriously increased, and this combination is very dangerous for life. Also, a high predilection for benzydiazepines in people who use cocaine, and such a combination is also considered risky.

Symptoms of an overdose of benzydiazepines can be as follows:

  • Pulse dilatation
  • Pulse weakness or, conversely, more frequent pulse
  • Bradycardia
  • Profuse sweat
  • Nystagm
  • Skin stickiness
  • Superficial, weak breathing
  • Confusion
  • Sometimes - coma condition
  • Asystole

It is also dangerous to completely stop taking the drug, so evendrug addicts reduce it gradually, so as not to cause serious consequences for the cardiovascular system.

Treatment of

In acute poisoning as an antidote, flumazenil is used, which inhibits the work of this group and reduces the risk of serious complications. But drug addicts with a long history of taking this medication is contraindicated because of the danger of even more unpleasant side effects.

The withdrawal syndrome in benzodiazepines may include such symptoms:

  • Sleep and appetite disorders;
  • Hyperhidrosis;
  • Vertigo;
  • Gastrointestinal pain;
  • Panic, fears;
  • Anxiety;
  • Headaches;
  • Arrhythmias;
  • Convulsions.

With simultaneous abuse of more serious drugs, people are placed in a specialized clinic or dispensary, and then - for a prolonged( 3-6 months or more) rehabilitation.

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