Benzodiazepines are a group of medications that can help reduce anxiety and make it easier to sleep. They are also used as a muscle relaxant, to induce sedation for surgery and other medical procedures, and in the treatment of seizures and alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are also called minor tranquillizers, sedatives or hypnotics. They are the most widely prescribed psychoactive drugs in the world.
The calming effects of benzodiazepines can often be achieved without drugs. Various kinds of exercise, such as walking, running, yoga or tai chi can help, as can reducing the stress in your life and taking time for relaxing activities such as meditation, reading a book or having a warm bath. Talking with a trusted friend, family member or therapist and working out the problems that are troubling you can also help. Whenever possible, these approaches should be tried first, before benzodiazepines. However, when non-drug approaches are not possible or do not help, benzodiazepines can provide relief.
When taken by mouth, the calming effects of benzodiazepines are felt within 30 minutes to four hours, depending on the type taken. With most benzodiazepines, the effects last several hours.
When used appropriately, benzodiazepines are safe and effective drugs. They do, however, have potential for abuse and can be addictive. For this reason, they are usually only recommended for short-term or occasional use.
* Do I need treatment?
* What do benzodiazepines do?
* Types of benzodiazepines
* Starting and stopping benzodiazepines
* Benzodiazepines, other drugs and driving
* Benzodiazepines, sexuality and pregnancy
* Is age an issue?
* Where can I get more information about benzodiazepines?
* How can I find treatment or a support group?
You may also read an online version of this guide here