Believe it or not the number for outpatient treatment for benzodiazepines skyrocketed between 2003 and 2015. Primary care physicians are the ones who prescribed a big half of those. People seemed to be going to their primary care physicians to get drugs that might not be easily obtained elsewhere.
Benzodiazepines are generally used to treat anxiety, seizures, and even insomnia. Some well-known benzodiazepines include Valium, Xanax, and Ativan. Instead of the usual treatments, these drugs have been used now to treat chronic and back pain.
That is why their use has gone up to such high heights.
These drugs are actually okay for short-term use. They can really help in the immediate situation until you find something to maintain long-term. The problem is people often take them long term instead. That can cause addiction and physical dependence.
After time those conditions can lead to overdose and fatality.
The use of these drugs long term increased by 50 percent from 2003 to 2015 even though it is known they addiction can be caused. Of course, people will do as their doctors instruct, often without questioning it.
Benzodiazepines can be just as addictive as opioid drugs. They do cause an altered state of mind and can have a sedative effect. People feel like they can’t function without them.
It seems like the media’s focus on the opioid epidemic means that other drug problems are being ignored. There is always a media frenzy for the latest problem. Benzodiazepine overdoses have become more common as the years go by.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did a study recently. The study showed that benzodiazepine overdoses for women between 30 and 64 increased by 830 percent. That was just between 1996 and 2017.
Women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety than men. That also means they are more likely to be diagnosed with these medications to treat their conditions. It follows that they would be the ones most affected by long term problems and overdose rates.
The biggest problem here seems to be that primary care physicians are forced to prescribe dangerous and addictive medications. Understandably it is easier and cheaper for many to go to their primary care physicians for these problems.