Most people have at least heard of some of the brand names of prescription benzodiazepine drugs – perhaps Valium or Ativan. Far fewer are familiar with the challenges of benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal. In fact, abuse of these drugs is on the rise, leading to a greater need for benzodiazepine detox and rehab.
This helpful summary of the top need-to-know facts about benzodiazepine drugs can help you familiarize yourself with this class of powerful sedatives.
The History of Benzodiazepine Drugs
Understanding this class of drugs means knowing why they were invented, who made them and how they impacted the culture once prescribed. This overview touches on the most important moments in benzodiazepine history.
Americans and Sedatives
Before the invention of benzodiazepine drugs, there was a substantial demand for drugs that could act as anti-anxiety medication. The cultural phenomenon was immortalized by the Rolling Stones song, “Mama’s Little Helper.”
Previously, middle-class Americans had been treated with opiates and barbiturate drugs to manage stress, but these highly addictive prescriptions did more harm than good.
Benzodiazepines Invented in the ‘50s
The godfather of benzodiazepine drugs is Leo Sternbach, a Polish research chemist who experimented with dozens of ineffective benzodiazepines compounds in the 1950s. As an employee at Hoffman-La Roche, as Swedish healthcare firm, he eventually invented an entire class of non-addictive sedatives, many of which are still prescribed today.
Benzodiazepines Get FDA Approval in the ‘60s
The first benzodiazepine drug approved by the FDA was Librium (chlordiazepoxide), earning its stamp of approval in 1960. The second, more widely known benzodiazepine the FDA approved was Valium (diazepam). The FDA deemed it safe for prescribing in 1963.
British Scientist Catches Disturbing Trend
Another scientist, Malcolm Lader of London, began observing the effects of long-term benzodiazepine use in the 1970s. First, he began to recognize widespread abuse of the drug. Second, he found that patients who had developed an unhealthy relationship with the drug did so without changing their prescription dosage.
Risks of Benzodiazepine Addiction Known
Continuing his research into the next decade, Lader eventually published a comprehensive study on the long-term risks of using benzodiazepine drugs as anxiety medication.
What Are Benzodiazepines and How Do They Work?
The following helpful pieces of information outline the chemistry behind benzodiazepine drugs and explain how they interact with the human body. This section also offers an exhaustive list of the benzodiazepine drugs currently being prescribed by doctors.
Statistics and Need-to-Know Facts About Benzodiazepines
Want to know how many people are affected by benzodiazepines? Interested in how dangerous the drugs have become over the past decade? The following benzodiazepine statistics offer a helpful summary of the most telling data trends.
Finding Benzodiazepine Help
If you or a close loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, there is a way out of its potentially deadly grip. Contact us for help with finding a treatment center that will provide benzodiazepine detox and subsequent benzodiazepine rehab through personalized, long-term care.