Benzodiazepines (benzos) are a type of medication known as tranquilizers that are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and muscle tension. Benzos such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium and other anti-anxiety medication are designed for short-term use, usually a few weeks or months, since they are highly addictive. Benzos are commonly abused, although death and serious illness rarely result from benzo abuse alone. According to an article on benzodiazepine abuse for WebMD, “They are frequently taken with either alcohol or other medications. The combination of benzodiazepines and alcohol can be dangerous — and even lethal.” Mixing opioids with benzos increases the risk of serious health complications and death. Taking opioids with benzos damages the liver, heart, and induces labored breathing. This toxic combination can also have negative effects on emotional stability and mental well-being. A common pattern is using marijuana first and then benzos when the high from marijuana wears off. A more natural way to cope with stress and emotions is mindfulness. This includes meditation, yoga, and deep breathing techniques. Exercise, walking, and other oxygen-rich, healthy activities has a longer effect in reducing anxiety than taking benzos. Opioids and benzos are the most widely abused prescription drugs. Some patients take more of the drugs than prescribed to get high. Benzos enhance the effects of opioids, which increases the risk of abuse and addiction. Mixing any two drugs together will increase the probability of hurting yourself or others and can be fatal. Each prescription medication has a warning label indicating the harmful effects they have when mixed with other medications or alcohol. Most painkillers are safe and effective when taken appropriately or as prescribed. Prescription pain medicine mixed with benzos can cause serious drug interactions and increase the risk of stomach bleeding, heart attack, stroke, or impaired breathing. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, get help now. All drugs have side effects whether over-the-counter, prescription, or recreational. With the right treatment and support from loved ones, you can overcome addiction to benzos. Read warning labels, know the side effects, and ask a doctor or pharmacist about adverse interactions.
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