Letter the Editor: The dangers of benzodiazepine abuse


Prescription benzodiazepines can treat several conditions, including epilepsy, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. However, professionals continue to debate as to whether long-term use of these drugs is medically acceptable. As more information has surfaced regarding these drugs’ addictive potential, medical professionals have shied away from prescribing them. Psychiatrists have argued that benzodiazepines have a low potential for abuse when taken as prescribed, but studies show that over 10 million people are not using them as their doctor advised.  

Benzodiazepines are involved in over 10,000 overdose deaths per year, usually combined with other drugs, like opiates. There is also a pronounced effect associated with the use of benzodiazepines, like Xanax, best described as a reduction in the ability to make rational decisions. This effect manifests itself in various ways, and there have been instances of users doing things that are remarkably out of character for them. These can range from harmless to potentially deadly. There are reports of users getting up in the middle of the night and doing things like laundry, or dishes, only to have entirely forgotten the next morning what took place the night before. More sinister manifestations include stealing for thrills, getting into fights, and spending sprees far outside of one’s budget. People make unwise decisions under the influence of Xanax, and sometimes the consequences are grave.

Poor decisions aside, there are several unavoidable consequences of Xanax abuse. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Sedation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Decreased respiration
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Irritability or depression

Daily use of benzodiazepines, even as prescribed, causes the body to develop a tolerance. This tolerance eventually turns into a dependency. This can be life-threatening if withdrawals begin unexpectedly. When someone is dependent on benzodiazepines, it means they need it to function normally. When someone becomes physically dependent on benzos, they will experience withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, sweats, convulsions, and seizures. These symptoms are potentially deadly.

For more information on benzodiazepine abuse, visit: www.narcononnewliferetreat.org/blog/five-shocking-facts-about-xanax.html.

Narconon can help you take steps to overcome addiction in your family. Call today for free screenings or referrals at 1-800-431-1754.

Caleb Hughes, Narconon