Benzodiazepines: "Downers".

Essay by LoUdMoUtH87Junior High, 9th grade November 2005

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Initially, Benzodiazepines, such as sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs, were rather easy to get. Doctors often prescribed Benzodiazepines if a person had personal or social problems such as grief, relationship difficulty, sexual assault, work related stress, domestic violence, coping with babies or children, difficulty with school work, and alcohol dependency or living with someone with alcohol dependency. But as we become more aware of the health hazards and abuse potential of these drugs, regulations for prescriptions have become more restricted.


Benzodiazepines, or "Downers", consistently rank among the most widely abused drugs in most of the world. In the past 10 years, about 600 million prescriptions were processed in United States pharmacies alone.


Benzodiazepines are Depressants, or chemicals that slow down the brain and central nervous system. Some Benzodiazepines you may recognize include Valiums, Librium, Xanzx, and Ativan. Benzodiazepines reduce stress by turning on the body's internal tranquilizers, Edorphines.

They are only effective for about 1-2 weeks. Benzodiazepines do not address the cause of sleep problems and long-term use actually worsens sleep. They do not correct psychological changes in sleep patterns. Large or Daily doses can cause a physical addiction.


Side effects can include drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, weight gain, and memory loss. In older people, the risk is even higher. Side effects and/or long-term effects in elderly people include over sedation, 70% increase of risk of falls and hip fractures, impaired blood pressure regulation and balance control, cognitive impairment (memory loss and psuedo dementia), nocturnal urinary incontinence due to decreased awareness of bladder stimulation, Depression, Therapeutic effect, Worsening Sleep, Respiratory Problems, Dependency, and increased risk of Drug interaction.


Abuse of Benzodiazepines is usually by adolescents and young adults who take it to experience a feeling of euphoria, or a "high". Use or Benzodiazepines with...