Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines and physical dependence
“She keeps running to the shelter of her mother’s little helper” We all know that line in the Rolling Stones’ song, Mother’s Little Helper, and what it means.
Many psychiatrists define anxiety as a fear response in the absence of appropriate stimuli. Anxiety states can vary from the mild and disquieting to the severe and disabling. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines were developed to help treat anxiety.
Many of my patients “switch the witch for the bitch” as we say. Their dependence on alcohol is transferred to benzos like Valium, serapax, Xanax and they quickly become dependent to taking copious quantities of these drugs, just to get them through the day.
Initially barbiturates and benzos were used to induce sleep, replacing alcohol. These drugs act as depressants in the brain, producing a calming, sleep inducing effect. They slow down the activity of the nerve pathways that control the emotions, breathing, heart action and some other functions. They work by mimicking or exaggerating the actions of the brain’s own calming mechanism – the Gaba (gamma amino butyric acid) neurotransmitters. I prefer to use Gaba and Tyrosine to wean my patients off alcohol.
The effects of barbiturates abuse during pregnancy are similar to those of alcohol. The drug is carried in the bloodstream, through the placenta, to the fetus. After the birth the baby will suffer from the usual symptoms of barbiturate withdrawal and impaired development due to brain damage in the womb. I know adult children, now in their twenties, of barbiturate users and see the legacy of brain damage to these poor unfortunate victims of their mother’s substance abuse.
Psychological dependence on barbiturates can develop very quickly. Physical dependence takes longer but is far more dangerous. It occurs when the body has grown so used to the presence of the drug that it reacts violently if the drug is suddenly withdrawn.
Physical dependence to barbiturates and benzos is one of the most deadly of all prescription drug dependencies. People drift from doctor to doctor (doctor shopping) to obtain their supplies of benzos. The withdrawal symptoms are worse than those of morphine or heroin. Most people don’t understand this and continue to use them, thinking they are socially acceptable because there are “prescription only” drugs. They rationalize and justify taking these dangerous drugs because they are available on prescription whereas morphine or heroin is associated with drug addicts and “losers”.
The prescription of barbiturates by the medical profession has declined over the years but during the same period, there has been a significant increase in the use of benzodiazepines. They are addictive and need to be taken under strict supervision of your doctor. Benzos are found in most family medical cabinets. There is a growing trend of children taking left-overs to school for experimentation. Parents need to be mindful of the contents of medicine cabinets in the home. Elderly women are the largest group receiving prescriptions for these drugs. One of my patients related that they needed more Valium to help them sleep as they go to bed at 8.00 pm and sleep until 6.00 am. Then they have a cup of tea and go back to sleep until 11.00 am. They drowse a bit until 2.00 pm and then irritability and agitation sets in until they take their Valium to help them go to sleep. That was the rollercoaster life of an elderly lady patient I counselled, addicted to Valium.
Many prescription drug abusers suffer with low energy levels and often mask other health issues. Substance abuse requires a professional assessment and appropriate medication.
There is life after prescription drugs and alcohol, two of the most common drugs socially acceptable and highly addictive.
One of the Amino Acids for stress and anxiety is Gaba. GABA—known as Gamma-aminobutyric acid—is a chief neurotransmitter with inhibitory effects on the central nervous system of mammals. Because it plays a central role in regulating the excitement of neurons in the brain and nervous system, as well as muscle tone in humans acceptable and available to the general public. Gaba can also be used as a pain killer as since it not only reduces the perception of pain, but also has secondary effects that allows sleep and reduces anxiety once the pain is gone.
Talk to your doctor or Naturopath about the benefits of Gaba instead of prescription drugs.
The state of your liver has a big impact on your state of mind so that those with a fatty liver may find themselves irritable and moody with a poor memory and difficulty keeping up with life’s demands. Depression and poor sleep may be associated with a fatty liver and these things resolve when we improve the liver function.
I recommend Livatone Plus, a more powerful formula that can support liver function when there are more serious liver problems due to junk food.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid and has been shown to improve brain function.
Tyrosine Mood Food can also relieve emotional pain as we are often very sensitive people. Tyrosine Mood Food is necessary for the manufacture of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy, stable mood. I take this product on a daily basis to help with concentration and a foggy brain due to late nights working on my next article.
Vegetable juice has been successfully used to clear out fatty livers and can help with a myriad of health disorders. Dr. Cabot has a great juice book that’s easy to follow and has recipes to help rejuvenate your liver. Raw Juices Can Save Your Life by Dr. Sandra Cabot.
Magnesium Ultra Potent can be taken before bed to assist with a deep and restful sleep. It also helps to reduce stress and is also known as the “great relaxer”.
Dr. Cabot’s book, Help for Depression and Anxiety is an excellent read for people suffering with depression, stress and anxiety.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.