Benzos (as they are popularly known) are actually medically called Benzodiazepine and can be abbreviated as BZD. Like any other drug it can be classified according to the chemical type of its active ingredient ob according to the way it impact the user or patient.
Benzodiazepine thus is classified into a class of drugs which affects the central nervous system. Benzo enhances the effects caused by the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on the GABAA receptor. Its effect can be manifested in the user in the following ways:
- The user may be sedated.
- The user may be hypnotized (induced to sleep).
- It has anxiolytic effects thus acting as anti-anxiety.
- Acts as muscle relaxant.
- Acts as anticonvulsant.
- Leads to amnesic-dissociative effects when used in high doses of Benzo drug which have shorter influence on the user.
It can thus be said that Benzo is actually a very helpful drug in the medical field. Since it helps in curing various conditions such as insomnia, seizures, anxiety, alcohol withdrawals syndromes, agitation, muscle spasms and it is also used in premedication when conducting various dental or medical procedures.
This drug can be further classified under short-, intermediate- and long-acting. In terms on how long their effect will be felt on the user’s body. They have different effect depending on their longevity in the body: short- and intermediate-acting benzo are better in treating insomnia while the longer-acting benzo are best for treating anxiety.
Generally benzo drug is quite safe and very effective in the short run, however, there have been reported cases where they made the user to experience cognitive impairments and other paradoxical effects like aggression and behavioral disinhibition.
Long term use of benzo is quite controversial since it adversely affects the user both psychologically and physically. It has been noticed that as the user uses the drug over a long period of time, it becomes less effective and it lead to the user becoming more tolerant to its effect, and grows more physically dependent on it. Should the user decide to stop using the drug after a long period of use, s/he will experience quite sever withdrawal syndromes. Long time use leads to deterioration of the mental and physical health of the user.
However once the user embarks on cessation of the drug use, s/he will improve on his mental and physical status. Older people are adversely affected by the benzo effect whether they are on long or short term use of the drug. This is the basic overview of what the benzo drug is.