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Flashcards in Benzodiazepines Deck (5)
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What are Benzodiazepines and what do they do?

- Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety drugs that aim to control the action of neurotransmitters. Examples are Valium and Xanax.
- BZ drugs reduce the activity of Central Nervous System and reduce brain arousal. It aims to reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
- Enhance the activity of neurotransmitter GABA which slows down the firing on neurons and makes the person less anxious and calmer.
- Reduces psychological activity in the body.


How does it work?

- BZ drugs bind to the GABA receptor sites on post synaptic neuron which increases the flow of chloride ions into post synaptic neuron.
- Chloride ions make it more difficult for the neuron to be stimulated by other neurotransmitter, thus slowing down it's activity and making the patient calmer.
- Neurons in brain become less active.
- BZ reduces anxiety that OCD patients experience when they have obsessive thoughts.
- BZ also decreases serotonin so they are less happy and more likely to be depressed.


Strength: Quick and effective

- BZ drugs work quickly and effectively to cure OCD symptoms compared to other treatments like CBT.
- BZ drugs reduce anxiety levels and OCD symptoms in a short period of time so the patient will see some immediate benefits of relief.


Weakness: Side effects

- If BZ drugs are used for a long period of time, several unwanted side effects can appear such as drowsiness, depression and unpredictable interactions with alcohol.
- Patients have a high chance of being involved in accidents.
- BZ are renowned for being highly addictive and also cause increased aggression and long term memory impairments.
- Due to the side effects, patients often stop taking the meds.


Weakness: Dependant

- Psychologists found that long term users of BZ become very dependent on the drug.
- Sudden withdrawal of drug leads to a return of high levels of anxiety and OCD symptoms.
- There is also a problem with tolerance or drug escalation whereby patients need to take large doses of the drug to reduce symptoms.