Benzodiazepines are drugs commonly used to help a person to sleep, or to reduce worries or anxiety.
Non-medical uses include getting intoxicated, as a replacement for heroin, and to reduce certain unwanted side effects experienced due to the use of another drug (e.g. to help a person sleep after they have taken something to keep them awake). Examples of benzodiazepines are: Valium, Serepax, Normison, Rohypnol.
What happens after using benzodiazepines?
- Relief from tension and anxiety
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty thinking and remembering things
- Difficulty talking properly
- Poor co-ordination.
Using large amounts of benzodiazepines may lead to increased drowsiness, sleep; and effects similar to alcohol intoxication.
The user may experience mood swings and perhaps have aggressive outbursts.
Can you overdose on benzodiazepines?
Very high doses of benzodiazepines can cause unconsciousness, coma and death. Deaths are usually associated with the combined use of alcohol or other drugs.
What happens if a person mixes benzodiazepines with other drugs?
Mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol, antihistamines, antidepressants, cannabis or heroin can greatly increase the effects of the drugs taken. Such combinations can cause death.
What are the long-term effects of using benzodiazepines?
The use of benzodiazepines for longer than two weeks is not recommended. Benzodiazepines can help to relieve worries or anxiety in the short term, but they do not solve the problem that caused the anxiety in the first place. Long-term use of benzodiazepines may lead to drowsiness, lack of motivation, difficulty thinking and remembering things, mood changes, anxiety, irritability, aggression, sleeping difficulties, nausea, headaches, and rashes. If benzodiazepines are used illegally and injected, there is an increased risk of contracting Hepatitis and HIV from sharing needles and other injecting equipment.
Other health problems that can result from injecting include collapsed veins; red, swollen, infected skin; and in extreme cases, the amputation of limbs due to poor circulation and stroke.