Benzodiazepines were introduced in the 1950’s-60’s and many continued to be introduced thereafter. Benzodiazepines are similar to alcohol in that they work as a sedative when taken, but were also labeled for their hypnotics effect. This drug has a history of being used for purposes other than those recommended by the prescribing doctor. The use of this specific drug had a drastic increase during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Although abuse and the misuse of the drug were recognized earlier, because of the low rate of prescription the problem was not considered of high importance (Wick, 2013).
Benzodiazepine-type drugs (benzodiazepines and the newer non-benzodiazepines) are similar to older sedative/hypnotic drugs, such as the
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The prevalence of the use of benzodiazepine varies depending on the sample population. About 10% of the older population in the United States uses benzodiazepine regularly, mostly, for sedative and anxiolytic purposes. For adults who receive mental health treatment associated with anxiety and depression this figure reaches 36%. The use of Benzodiazepines are higher in whites than other ethnicities and more prevalent in females than in males. Nonmedical use of this drug is the highest in people whose ages range from 18 to 25. The use of Benzodiazepines is very common in individuals who abuse alcohol and use both concurrently for self-medication. Most often the abusers of this drug are using multiple substances at a time. Although the use of this drug can potentially be harmful when not used as intended, the use of Benzodiazepines has become a preference amongst the older drugs (methaqualone, glutethimide, anxiolysis) because of its greater safety profile which includes a decreased risk of overdose. Although their safety has increased, overdoses are still common with this specific drug (Neutel, 2005).
Although they were previously thought to have no negative effects, Benzodiazepines have a very high risk of dependence, withdrawal, and negative side effects. Cognitive effects have become increasingly controversial and the long-term treatment has been said to cause impairments to cognitions (Stewart, 2005).
Studies done with neuroimaging of the brain found