The Effects of Benzodiazepines
It’s 10:30 p.m. and I just took a dose of Alprazolam. I didn’t take a high dose, but I’m not used to this medicine and its effect is more intense. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine that’s prescribed to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines have many effects on the body and mind.
It’s fairly normal that I just took this dug, considering that modern society is over-medicated. However, I’d like to record the things that I experience after taking it. I will take note of every side effect when I feel that it’s at its peak.
The effects of benzodiazepines are varied and depend on each person. These drugs reduce the brain’s normal stimulation. I decided to take this drug because my mind is somewhat hectic these days. I placed this drug directly under my tongue and let it dissolve slowly. Then, I drank water because it left a bitter aftertaste.
It’s 10:50 p.m. The effects are now noticeable. I’m calmer than before. It’s a type of calm that little by little becomes more similar to drowsiness. Right now, I could lay down and fall asleep. I could also go out for a walk, but I know I’ll lack certain reflexes. It’d be impossible to drive under these conditions. I also couldn’t work like this since it would be extremely weird. It feels like I’m watching a movie. I’m watching everything that’s happening around me, but I feel like it has nothing to do with me.
Noise bothers me. I had to lower the volume of my TV and tell my family to speak more quietly. In general, I have become more sensitive to external stimuli. Although I feel more relaxed, I’m now hypersensitive to everything around me like loud sounds and strong lights.
My mental processes are slower. I wouldn’t be able to perform certain everyday tasks normally. I also wouldn’t be able to maintain a conversation that required a moderate level of concentration. Despite this, I’m able to perform other banal tasks.
I get up to go to the bathroom slowly. I also wash my hands slowly. Then, I observe each movement carefully. I return to the living room and sit down on the couch. My movements are slow.
I’m somewhat hungry. When people speak to me, I need to make an extra effort in order to pay attention. I press my computer’s keys at a normal pace but I make many more mistakes. In general, my coordination is affected and I’d be incapable of performing any task that required physical or mental effort. As I said before, I wouldn’t be able to drive. I also wouldn’t be able to study or read anything too complex.
According to some studies, what I’m experiencing is a reduction of nerve impulse transmissions, which in turn decrease my brain’s over-stimulation. This drug has a depressive effect on my nervous system. It induces drowsiness and will reduce my chances of waking up during the night.
Some studies suggest that the benzodiazepine I just ingested enhances the effect of the GABA neurotransmitter (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). This inhibits my neurons to slow down the transmission speed and make me feel calmer.
Cecilio Álamo González, a pharmacology professor at the University of Alcalá, confirmed that this is a medicine that’s well-tolerated and safe if consumed for only two to four weeks as a hypnotic. He also suggests that it can be taken for two to three months as an anxiolytic. If it’s taken for longer periods of time, it can cause certain health problems.
I still feel worried. My mental activity has decreased. However, when the effects of the drug subside, I’ll still have to face my demons. I still think of the things that trouble me. Since I’m drowsy, I don’t react as intensely, but my problems haven’t disappeared.
Trying to solve certain internal conflicts with a drug is a mediocre solution. Benzodiazepines could help calm a person down and reduce anxiety. However, until we solve our internal mental conflicts, we won’t enjoy that internal peace we seek.