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How Chronic Administration of Benzodiazepines Leads to Chronic Illnesses: A hypothesis

By S. LaCorte

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are prescribed for treating a wide variety of disorders, including various forms of anxiety disorders, epilepsy, muscle spasms, insomnia, and tinnitus. Benzodiazepines are sometimes characterized as “minor tranquilizers,” due to their potentially sedating effect. Benzodiazepines are thought to exert their anxiolytic effect by enhancing the activity of the inhibitory  neurotransmitter, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Among the most prescribed benzodiazepine drugs are clonazepam, brand name Klonopin, alprazolam, brand name, Xanax, lorazepam, brand name Ativan, and diazepam, brand name, Valium. A major drawback to benzodiazepines, however, is that long term use, including normal therapeutic dosing, can lead to the development of physical dependency and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuance [1]. For those who use  benzodiazepines at therapeutic doses, benzodiazepine dependence is primarily concerned with the negative subjective effects of withdrawal upon discontinuance and not reward-seeking effects of the benzodiazepine use [2].

Observations that benzodiazepine withdrawal associated symptoms can be severe and protracted... Read full article.

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