In the late 1970s benzos (benzodiazepines) became the most commonly prescribed of all drugs in the world. The first "blockbuster" of the family was Valium and was a huge superstar. An entire generation of people freely took Valium and other benzodiazepines as if it were no different from aspirin - "Mother's little helpers".
During the 60's and 70's prescriptions were filled by doctors hoping to relieve the suffering of their patients, as is their job to do. So when people complained about anxiety to their doctors, they were then prescribed a Benzo like Valium and for the first few months the medication did it's job effectively. However once tolerance builds up then so does physical dependence until eventually the person is taking the medication to ward off withdrawal symptoms more than medicating. It was in fact, very likely producing more anxiety issues the longer the medication was taken. Millions of people became benzodiazepine dependent before the world even knew about Valium addiction and other benzodiazepines.
Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used for social phobia and GAD, lorazepam (Ativan®) is helpful for panic disorder, and alprazolam (Xanax®) is useful for both panic disorder and GAD.
Some people experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking benzodiazepines abruptly instead of tapering off, and anxiety can return once the medication is stopped. These potential problems have led some physicians to shy away from using these drugs or to use them in inadequate doses.
Buspirone (Buspar®), an azapirone, is a newer anti-anxiety medication used to treat GAD. Possible side effects include dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Unlike benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken consistently for at least 2 weeks to achieve an anti-anxiety effect."
By the early 1980s long-term users, themselves had realized that the drugs lost effectiveness over time and instead benzodiazepines became known for adverse effects. Valium's (diazepam's) dark side was coming out and into the light and patients found it difficult to stop taking Valium (diazepam) due to severe withdrawal symptoms. Many complained of benzodiazepine addiction and to many people the first prescription turned into a chronic addiction requiring the continued use of some type of benzodiazepine medication for life. Millions of people have taken benzodiazepines continuously for years, even decades and at very high doses as a result of becoming dependent during this time period. Millions of people suffer silently with a chronic addiction mistakingly believing that their psychological condition requires them to be continuously medicated and are not aware it is probably the medication aggravating the original condition.
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