"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Anti-anxiety medications could cause neurological problems

June 30, 2023 – More than 90% of people that took commonly prescribed medications to treat anxiety said taking those drugs had serious consequences for his or her lives and regularly reported recent neurological problems, a brand new study finds.

More than half of the study participants reported having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide after taking benzodiazepines, which include Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin and Valium. The researchers noted that greater than 30 million people within the United States take these drugs annually. Recently, a distinguished advisory group advisable that each one adults within the United States under the age of 65 examined for anxiety disorders.

The study was published on Thursday within the magazine PLUS ONE. The researchers analyzed responses to a web based survey from 1,207 individuals who were currently taking, reducing, or stopping benzodiazepines. The study authors noted that health problems after stopping benzodiazepines have been known for a long time, but the most important study thus far included only 50 people.

“Despite the fact that benzodiazepines have been widely prescribed for decades, this survey provides important new evidence that a subset of patients experience long-term neurological complications,” said lead writer Alexis Ritvo, MD, MPH, associate professor of addiction psychiatry on the University of Colorado Medicine, in a opinion“This should change our attitude towards benzodiazepines and their prescription.”

The study found that greater than 40% of people that take benzodiazepines later develop greater than 17 different neurological symptoms that may last for greater than a yr. They are often different from the unique reason people were prescribed the drugs. The researchers said the duration of the brand new problems suggests the brand new problems are greater than just withdrawal symptoms.

The reasons survey participants initially gave for prescribing benzodiazepines were situational anxiety (44%), insomnia (40%), panic attacks (40%), depression (33%) and generalized anxiety disorder (24%).

New symptoms reported included lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, anxiety and nervousness, sleep problems, sensitivity to light and noise, digestive problems, muscle weakness or aching limbs. Of the individuals who reported these symptoms, not less than half said the issues lasted for greater than a yr.

More than 40% of people that had a number of of those symptoms reported that the brand new problems:

  • significantly affects their marriage or other relationships
  • contributed to suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • contributed to job loss, dismissal or incapacity to work
  • led to increased medical costs

The authors write that the term “withdrawal” will not be helpful in studying and treating these symptoms and their impact on people’s lives.

They suggested that a brand new term is likely to be more appropriate: “benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction,” or BIND for brief.

“Recognizing this condition with a specific, medically recognized term could lead to more professional compassion, better treatment, and future research,” the researchers wrote. “Any condition with many vague or overlapping names, or no name, can too easily be misdiagnosed or dismissed as insignificant or nonexistent.”

The study had significant limitations, the authors noted. Respondents were self-selected and got here primarily from support groups, and researchers were unable to acquire independent psychiatric diagnoses. However, because their findings are consistent with those of previous smaller studies in addition to extensive anecdotal reports, further motion is required, they wrote.

“Because benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, there is an urgent medical need to treat BIND,” ​​they concluded. “This requires more extensive and rigorous research.”

If you or someone you care about is having suicidal thoughts, help is on the market immediately. Please dial 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.