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Benzodiazepines Overdose

Of the drugs marketed in the United States that affect central nervous system function, Benzodiazepines are among the most widely doctor prescribed medications. Benzodiazepines are classified as group of psychoactive drugs that are used to induce sleep, produce sedation, relieve anxiety and treat muscle spasms. Short-acting Benzodiazepines are generally used for patients with sleep-onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep) without daytime anxiety, whereas Benzodiazepines with a longer duration of action are utilized to treat insomnia in patients with daytime anxiety. However, this medicine should not be used every day for sleep problems that last more than a few days. If used this way, the drug loses its effectiveness within a few weeks.

Signs of Benzodiazepines Dependence:

  • Loss of short term memory
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Missing work or school to take the drug
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Flunitrazepam

Flunitrazepam or Rohypnol, is one of the most dangerous types of Benzodiazepines and is not manufactured or legally marketed in the United States. This type of drug, commonly referred to as “Roofies,” “Mexican Valium,” or “R-2,” has been used in the treatment of short-term insomnia and as a hypnotic sedative and pre-anesthetic medication. Flunitrazepam has also been frequently referred to as the “date rape drug,” because it causes the victim to experience short-term memory loss after it is ingested. Because the drug has no taste or odor, individuals who are given it don’t realize what is happening. Effects usually set in within ten minutes after ingesting the drug and cause a person to feel dizzy and disoriented, simultaneously too hot and too cold, and/or nauseated. An individual may also experience difficulty speaking and moving, and then pass out. Effects peak within two hours, and can persist for up to eight hours and the victim will have no memories of what happened while under the drug’s influence.

Complications, Dependency and Long Term Effects

Because doctors prescribe Benzodiazepines on a regular basis, many patients tend to view these drugs as a safer alternative to “street drugs” and therefore may not realize that they are still extremely addictive and dangerous. The danger of Benzodiazepine abuse usually doesn’t come from overdosing on the drug itself, but rather from either the effects of the drug or a combination of a Benzodiazepine with alcohol or antihistamines. One of the problems with these agents is confusion and short-term memory loss.

Help and Treatment

Flumazenil is the most common prescription medication used to treat a Benzodiazepine overdose. Flumazenil reverses the effects associated with Benzodiazepine overdoses and is usually effective within two hours after it is administered. However, there are still dangerous side effects while taking this drug, which include seizures, rapid heart rate and depression. It is important that you notify a physician immediately if you develop any of these potentially harmful side effects. Aside from Flumazenil, other effective treatment options include rehabilitation and detox centers. A rehabilitation center will help you to ensure that you will not have another overdose, and a detox center will supervise and help you through your withdrawal symptoms so that you can lead a healthy, drug free lifestyle.

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