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Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines Prescription Medication Drugs
• These drugs are often prescribed for pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety. • They slow brain functioning by increasing activity of the neurotransmitter GABA which decreases brain activity and causes drowsiness and calmness. • They also decrease heart rate and blood pressure.
Prevalence • People who abuse these drugs have usually either been prescribed the drug and began abusing it, or had a family member who was prescribed the medication • Most commonly mixed with alcohol and or opiates such as heroin or Oxycontin.
Use: • “There has been a decline in the lifetime use of • • sedatives from a peak of 10. 5 percent in 2005 to 9. 3 percent in 2007. Past year use of sedatives/barbiturates declined from a peak of 7. 2 percent in 2005 to 6. 2 percent in 2007. “ (www. nida. nig. gov) The death rate from overdose is 10% complications which can arise from an overdose is coma and damaged fetuses in pregnant women. More than half of all overdoses are a result from mixing barbiturates and benzodiazepines.
Short-term effects • These drugs induce state of intoxication that is • identical to that of being intoxicated with alcohol. Symptoms such as impaired judgment, slowed speech, lack of coordination, disinhibition, shallow breathing, staggering and aggressive impulses.
Long-term effects • Sometimes when an individual stops abusing the • • drug, the symptoms they were taking the drug for in the first place come back even stronger (anxiety for example). Withdrawal symptoms are also present: irritability, paranoia, muscle tension, perceptual disturbance, etc. Serious usage and sudden withdrawal can cause seizures.
Possible Research Solution: • Melatonin, a hormone that is produced at night • by the pineal gland, promotes normal sleep in humans. Can counter benzodiazepine addiction. A number of studies in elderly insomniacs, children, and patients with delayed sleep phase syndrome when receiving melatonin therapy did not develop a tolerance to the hormone during prolonged periods of use and experienced no withdrawal effects upon discontinuation. (1999)
Sources: • www. nida. nig. gov • www. nih. gov • www. sfn. org • http: //archinte. ama- assn. org/cgi/reprint/159/20/2456. pdf