How Do Benzodiazepines Affect the Mind and Body?


Created On: Saturday, 12, October 2019
Modified On: Thursday, 17, October 2019

Benzodiazepines act as a sedative and slow down the functions of the mind and body.  The drugs directly affect the parts of the brain controlling rational thought, memory, emotions, and functions such as breathing.  The person taking the drugs will feel relaxed, less anxious, and the muscles will be relaxed.  Unfortunately, people become easily addicted to benzodiazepines and relapse because of them.  Anyone who has lung disease, breathing problems, sleep apnea, liver disease or kidney disease should not be taking them.  Poor judgment will result from taking benzodiazepines.  The drugs slow down the nerve activity in the brain and the rest of the central nervous system. 

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The long-term use of benzodiazepines interferes with cognition and memory.  The drugs will impact visuospatial abilities, verbal learning abilities, and processing speed.  A person's visuospatial ability is how the individual see's, replicates and understands where objects are in relation to their surroundings.  The way you tackle simple tasks will be directly impacted, especially after you learn them.  The verbal learning skills as related to speech and language is affected.  Many of these problems can be reversed if the usage of benzodiazepines is stopped.  The British Medical Journal published a study linking the use of benzodiazepines to Alzheimer's disease.

Further to this, Harvard Health Publications explained there was an increased risk for dementia with the prolonged use of benzodiazepines.  These risks tend to increase with age and in many cases, cannot be reversed.  Throughout the United States, these drugs are increasingly prescribed to the elderly population.  When you age, your metabolism slows down.  When this happens, the benzodiazepines remain stored in the fat cells longer.  The drug can remain active increasing their effects and risk for adverse reactions.  Whether you are young or old, these drugs impact your mind and body in different ways.