Popular Drug Linked To Brain Injury And Suicide

(NewsSpace.com) – Millions of Americans take benzodiazepines, also known and referred to as benzos, to treat a variety of disorders. The Schedule IV-classified drugs help treat conditions such as seizures, insomnia, muscle spasms, bipolar disorder, and anxiety but can also be highly addictive. People prescribed benzodiazepines are told not to discontinue them without weaning off; doing so can cause some detrimental effects. However, a new study is cautioning patients that simply using and discontinuing them can cause injury.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus conducted a study that was published in the PLOS One Journal. In it, they dug deeper into the long-term consequences of using Benzos, with an emphasis on its impact on neurological function. Researchers created an internet survey in which they asked both former and current users of the drug about 23 symptoms that may have occurred as a result.

According to the results, more than half of the 1,207 participants experienced several long-term effects that lasted a year or more. These included nervousness or anxiety (88.1%), memory loss (57.5%), decreased energy levels (59.9%), and distractedness (58.3%). Additionally, 54.4% reported having either attempted suicide or experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The study also covered benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction (BIND), which refers to the onset condition due to benzo use. The researchers note that it includes several unfavorable life effects, such as loss of a job, financial setbacks, and suicide.

Researchers claim the survey is the first to “explore adverse life consequences associated with these… symptoms [many of them] neurocognitive.” However, unlike most studies, there was no control group since this survey was conducted online. Additionally, the researchers couldn’t verify the diagnoses of the respondents.

The study carefully points out that “statistical [relationships] between specific life consequences […] and symptoms could not be drawn” but that the data pointed in that direction. It notes that research has failed to identify pharmacological interventions that can help.

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