Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs that are often used to treat anxiety. Because they are known to cause drowsiness, benzodiazepines are also frequently prescribed as a sleep aid, this is known as an off-label prescription.
Types of benzodiazepines drugs are categorized as short-acting, intermediate or long-acting. Short- and intermediate-acting benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for the treatment of insomnia. Benzodiazepines usually take effect within an hour of taking them, and are only available with a doctor’s prescription.
These drugs are medically referred to as benzodiazepine receptor agonists. The drugs works by increasing the effectiveness of a neurotransmitter called gama-amniobutryic acid (GABA) that impedes sending alert fullness signals to other nerve cells. This action reduces anxiety, increases sedation and muscle relaxation.
This type of drug is available in many forms, including tablet, capsule and liquid, and there is also an injectable form. A list of benzodiazepine drugs include:
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Doral (quazepam)
- Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
Dosage of benzodiazepines varies from person to person, and often depends on the type of benzodiazepine prescribed. It is important not to deviate from the prescription and not to increase or decrease the dosage without the advice of the prescribing physiciandoctor. It is also unwise to quit using benzodiazepines before consulting with a physiciandoctor.
Side Effects of Benzodiazepines
Like many of the other medications that are used to treat sleep disorders, benzodiazepines do not come without their side effects. Common side effects include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Change in personality and moodiness
- Irritability, confusion
- Blurred vision, headaches
As with antihistamines, benzodiazepines have the same limitation for getting good sleep in that they reduce the amount of deep sleep that the person will get. There is also a risk of dependency, withdraw and abuse, benzodiazepines are not recommended for long-term use.
If you are suffering from a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, and have not been successful with non-medical treatments, it’s time to consult your physician about using sleep-inducing medications such as benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines for Insomnia
It is essential that everyone get a full night’s sleep, in order to maintain good overall health, and sometimes, taking benzodiazepines may be the only thing that will help people to achieve the sleep they need.
It happens to all of us at least a few times in our lives. We have difficulties sleeping for a few days at a time or longer. When this happens to you, what do you do? Do you try relaxation techniques, such as breathing techniques and yoga? Do you try changing your sleep schedule, as well as your diet?
These are all great ways to treat sleep disorders, but for many people, these treatments are not enough to cure their insomnia. If this describes your situation, your doctor may recommend that they take one of many sleeping pills that can help you get to sleep and stay asleep.
Essential further reading:
- Are your sleeping difficulties a sign of a more serious problem? Learn about sleep disorder symptoms.
- Insomnia may be caused by may different types of sleep disorders.
- Sleeping pills are also available without a prescription as over the counter sleeping pills.
- All natural sleep aids are also effective in treating sleeping problems.
- Fall asleep faster by following better sleep tips.
- The first step in sleeping better is understanding the functions and importance of sleep.