Knoxville, TN (PressExposure) July 31, 2005 -- Benzodiazepine drugs such as chlordiazepoxide are now considered as some of the most widely used form of medication for alcoholism withdrawal. These drugs have largely replaced barbiturates mainly because barbiturates have been known to cause death to patients, usually because of their high risk of overdose. Benzodiazepines, however, are less dangerous than barbiturates, particularly in overdose. The only risks that therapist are avoiding include developing tolerance and dependence to the drug.
According to teen treatment center therapists, long-term use of benzodiazepines could induce tolerance to the drug. According to several teen treatment center therapists, tolerance is usually associated with chronic and long-term use of the drug. Increased tolerance would usually result to increased intake of the drug. With increased intake, people would then develop dependence on the drug. However, dependence to the drug isn't the only concern surrounding the use of benzodiazepines. Long-term use of benzodiazepines would usually lead to adverse psychological and physical effects.
Paradoxical reactions, such as aggression, violence, impulsivity, irritability and suicidal behavior sometimes occur. According to teen treatment center therapist and other professionals in the field, these reactions have been explained as consequences of disinhibition, that is loss of control over socially unacceptable behavior. Paradoxical reactions are rare in the general population, with an incidence rate below 1% and similar to placebo. However, they occur with greater frequency in recreational abusers, individuals with borderline personality disorder, children and patients on high-dosage regimes.
The short-term use of benzodiazepines adversely affects multiple areas of cognition; most notably, it interferes with the formation and consolidation of memories of new material and may induce complete anterograde amnesia. Some of the other impairments reported were decreased IQ, visiomotor coordination, information processing, verbal learning and concentration.
Long term effects
The long-term adverse effects of benzodiazepines include a general deterioration in physical and mental health that tend to increase with time. Not everyone however, experiences problems with long-term use. The adverse effects can include cognitive impairments and affective and behavioural problems. According to teen treatment center patients, feelings of turmoil, difficulty in thinking constructively, loss of libido, agoraphobia and social phobia, increasing anxiety and depression, loss of interest in leisure pursuits and interests, an inabilty to experience or express feelings also occur. In additional to these, an altered perception of self, environment and relationships may also result.