‘Benzo Crisis’ Keeps Not Happening

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has found that the misuse and abuse of benzodiazepine is relatively rare, even though the drug is sometimes hyped as the next overdose crisis in healthcare.
Benzodiazepines – often called “benzos” — are a class of sedative that includes Valium and Xanax. The medications are usually prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia.

Data on over 100,000 adults in the 2015-16 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health was analyzed by researchers, who found that benzodiazepines were used by 12.5% of American adults. Of those, about 17% “misused” the drug at least once, but only 2% had what was diagnosed as a benzodiazepine use disorder.

The study found several risk factors for benzo misuse, including younger age, male gender, lower levels of education, lack of health insurance or employment, and lower income levels — factors often associated with other substance use disorders.  more

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What Really Happens When You Drink While on Psych Meds?

When people combine stimulants with alcohol, Karpyak says, the rush of energy and seeming invincibility leads them to consume significant amounts of alcohol—much larger than they’re used to or normally capable of, which leads to “miscalculations.” But of greater concern than alcohol and stimulants is actually alcohol and sedatives, or a combination of sedatives with each other.

You’ve probably heard that combining alcohol and Ambien can make you act weird—loopy, irrational, generally embarrassing—because people are always getting kicked off airplanes after trying too hard to relax. (Occasionally a nun will consume a glass of altar wine and then try to fall asleep before waking up in a different state with no recollection of how she got there or how she managed to crash a car into a building.) Benzodiazepines, the popular class of medication for anxiety, are also frequently prescribed for insomnia. These include Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, and, of course, America’s long-standing psychiatric favorite, Xanax.   more

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