You may not be familiar with the drug name benzodiazepine. Some recognize it by its nickname, “benzos.” Others know it by their prescription label. Among generic drugs that fall into this class are Diazepam (Valium), Alprazolam (Xanax), Clonazepam (Klonopin) and Lorazepam (Ativan). An alarming study shows that more and more older adults are dying from benzodiazepine abuse.
The American Journal of Public Health recently published an article documenting the increased use of benzos among adults. In an analysis of data collected from 1996-2013, two results were evident. More prescriptions were ordered that fell in benzodiazepine class. In addition, the mortality rate related to the drugs increased.
The report raised serious concerns. An expert reviewed the documentation for the American Psychiatric Association, which published an interesting analysis. Overdoses rose sharply for those whose ages fell between 44-65. There was also some increase in deaths for those over 65. Of course, the big question is what is contributing to the problem.
Searching for Answers to Increased Benzodiazepine Abuse
Although the deaths are often attributed to benzodiazepine overdose, there could be other issues. For example, some may not realize that combining this type of drug with a painkiller can be a problem. Here are some serious questions for consideration:
- Was the individual only taking one of the benzos?
- Were they taking the drug as prescribed?
- Were they also taking other medications?
- What about alcohol use? Is it a factor?
- Was the patient’s care monitored by a physician?
- Was the individual receiving psychiatric treatment?
People appear to speak about benzos in a more casual manner than other dangerous drugs. They feel free to admit to “popping a Xanax” to calm down. Many are unaware of the risk of mortality or addiction.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing problems with benzodiazepine abuse, our Clearbrook medical staff and counselors can help. We will review your insurance plan and provide you with education and rehabilitation. Contact us for an appointment.