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Published by Castle Craig Hospital
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Benzodiazepines: Valium, Xanax, Diazepam
Benzodiazepines are perhaps the most commonly used drugs in psychiatry. This large family of medications consists of drugs like Valisum, Xanax, Diazepam (benzodiazepine) and Valium. Classified as 'tranquilisers' or 'sedatives', they are primarily used to treat anxiety and are also prescribed as sedatives for insomnia, anti-convulsant medications and muscle relaxants.
Benzodiazepines work by attaching to the “gabor receptor” which is located in the brain. The effect is similar to that of alcohol or barbiturate medication, both of which attach to the gabor receptor (and both of which relax the brain). They generally produce a calm feeling which helps users cope with anxiety.
While benzodiazepines play an important part in treating anxiety and other mental illnesses there is growing concern in the UK that medics are prescribing these drugs too easily, and an increasing number of people are becoming addicted to them. Some people feel that they cannot function normally without these drugs while others obtain them through deceit (repeat prescriptions and drug dealers) and use them as mood-altering drugs.
The American Psychiatric Association does not recommend benzodiazepines for people with depressive symptoms or a recent history of substance abuse.
Detoxification from Benzodiazepines
One the problems with long-term use of benzodiazepines is the difficulty in coming off them: detoxification (eliminating the drugs from the bloodstream) can take months.
Castle Craig Hospital is one of the few medical facilities in the UK that has the resources, experience and patience to supervise detox from benzodiazepines and other prescription drugs. Many people are referred to general hospitals for detox but it is a complex and time consuming process that is simply not available in most hospitals.
Anxiety and Alcohol Abuse
People with anxiety disorders are at increased risk of alcohol abuse and addiction. If you have trouble controlling your alcohol intake, you may need treatment for alcohol dependence alongside anxiety therapy.
Benzodiazepine & Prescription Drug Rehab
For information about benzodiazepine and prescription drug rehab call Castle Craig's confidential, free 24 hour helpline: 0800 0322 880. From outside the UK, call+44 1721 722 763.