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12.04.2014

Drugs for insomnia and anxiety, period fatigue and headache - Review

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Benzodiazepines were once the darling of the medical world and they are still prescribed in high frequency.
Increasingly, studies suggest that dietary and lifestyle habits as well as prescription medications may account for the rising diagnoses of old age diseases.
A 2012 landmark study published in the British Medical Journal got a lot of press for demonstrating that the risk of dementia among the elderly is increased by the use of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs structurally synthesized from two fused rings of benzene and diazepine. Therefore, benzodiazepines are used in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures and alcohol withdrawal.
Outside the nervous system, GABA also inhibits nerve conduction and, therefore, has a relaxing effect on muscles. The most common side effects of benzodiazepines include drowsiness, dizziness, impaired mental alertness, lack of muscular coordination and decreased libido. Less common side effects include euphoria, mental confusion, loss of personality, blurred vision, nausea, loss of appetite and nightmares.
When given by intravenous route, benzodiazepines have been known to cause hypotension and slow down breathing.
Paradoxical side effects are adverse drug reactions that cause the very symptoms that are supposed to treat.
Other paradoxical side effects of benzodiazepines include irritability, violence, suicidal tendencies and other personality changes. This means that patients placed on benzodiazepines will need increasingly higher doses of the drugs to produce the same therapeutic effects. Those who experience rebound symptoms experience the same set of symptoms for which they were given benzodiazepines. Researchers agree that benzodiazepines provide the least benefits for old people and the greatest danger. In fact, benzodiazepine-induced dementia is reported to account for the majority of memory impairments in elderly patients. Researchers have demonstrated that when taken off benzodiazepines, most of these symptoms quickly resolve in the elderly and often the underlying condition being treated does not get worse. The longest debate about the adverse effects of benzodiazepines in the elderly involves the effects of the drugs on the risk of dementia. A 2002 paper published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology detailed a nested case-control study conducted to investigate the possible association between benzodiazepine use and the risk of dementia in an elderly population. For this study, the researchers recruited a total of 3,777 elderly persons who were at least 65 years old between 1989 and 1997. A 2005 review of past studies published in the journal, Psychological Medicine, searched through the medical research database, MEDLINE, to find well-designed studies investigating the link between dementia and benzodiazepine use. The reviewers called for more epidemiological studies to fully address the possible effect of benzodiazepines on cognition. They believed that with the high rate at which benzodiazepines are prescribed, even a slight increase in the risk of cognitive decline will make the dangers of benzodiazepines easily outweigh any possible benefits of taking the drugs. In comparison, episodic and recurrent users scored better than chronic users but their risks of cognitive decline were still higher than for non-users. In this case, the researchers pooled 1,063 elderly persons who had no dementia before the study and who only started taking benzodiazepines no earlier than the third year of the 15-year period under investigation.
Furthermore, the researchers demonstrated that, compared to people who never took benzodiazepines, even single uses of the drugs were associated with 50% increase in the risk of dementia.
The authors of this study considered their methodology design robust enough and their results conclusive enough to warn against the indiscriminate prescription of benzodiazepines. A 1995 study used brain imaging techniques to investigate the affinity of benzodiazepine for GABA-A receptors as well as the slow metabolism of glucose in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. For this study, the researchers conducted autopsies on 7 normal controls and 7 Alzheimer’s patients. They found that benzodiazepine binding sites were significantly reduced in the frontal and temporal cortices of the hippocampus in brains of the Alzheimer’s patients. This study suggests that benzodiazepines increasingly provide less benefits for people suffering from dementia even as they make changes in the brain that impairs cognitive functions.
Moderex, a natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia, contains natural neurotransmitters that have been shown to help combat anxiety and insomina.
Typically, the result is insomnia, where it's hard to fall asleep, and thereafter you wake several times throughout the night. Anxiety is usually characterized by worries that build up in your mind, making it hard for you to focus on pleasures and responsibilities. Others that are prescribed are antidepressants and anxiolytic medications, for the sake of emotional issues disturbing sleep.


Common side effects of benzodiazepines and OTC medications are headaches, memory loss, irritability, shakiness, and restlessness. Anxiety may affect 46 year-old women who are experiencing menopause, as this is a common symptom of this transitional stage. It is possible to gain natural relief for menopausal anxiety, without the need to resort to potentially dangerous medicinal treatments. Taking regular exercise, such as biking, is important and may help women to better manage their menopause anxiety.
Taking medications to treat insomnia or anxiety may shorten some people's lives, according to the results of a 12-year study in Canada.
The new findings are based on surveys of more than 14,000 Canadians, ages 18 to 102, that began in 1994 and kept track of their mortality rates.
Every two years, participants answered questions about their social demographics, lifestyle and health. For respondents who, at the start of the survey, reported taking medication for insomnia or anxiety at least once in the month, the mortality rate over the 12-year period was 15.7 percent. After taking into account other factors that might affect mortality rates including alcohol and tobacco consumption, physical health, physical activity level and symptoms of depression the researchers associated sleeping pills or anxiety-relieving medications with a 36 percent increase in the risk of dying during the 12-year period. The greatest differences in mortality rate between drug users and nonusers were observed in the age groups of 55 to 64 years and 65 to 74 years, according to the study.
The researchers, whose results appear in the September issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, said a number of factors might explain the link between these medications and increased mortality. For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. But some people feel tense and anxious day after day, even when there is little to worry about.
It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.
However, a spate of recent damning evidences from multiple clinical trials and epidemiological studies is highlighting that the dangers of this class of drugs far outweigh the benefits. The therapeutic uses of benzodiazepines derived from their anxiolytic, hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties. Through this interaction, benzodiazepines can induce sleep, relieve anxiety and relax skeletal muscles. This is not surprising considering that these drugs are meant to act in the central nervous system.
The types of cognitive decline associated with benzodiazepines include impaired mental concentration, verbal learning, eye-limb coordination and even intelligence. Therefore, instead of relaxing the muscles, benzodiazepines can sometimes tighten the muscles and cause seizures.
For example, these side effects are a lot more common among children and teenagers taking benzodiazepines as well as among those given high doses of these drugs.
Furthermore, they will still crave benzodiazepines even when they no longer need the drugs.
However, recent studies have repeatedly and conclusively proven that benzodiazepines in the elderly is not only a bad idea but linked to the increased diagnoses of dementia in this age group. Often, the fact that you cannot sleep can cause daytime stress, and that same stress can keep you awake all over again. The drop in the sex hormone estrogen affects neurotransmitters that are essential for falling asleep and staying asleep. They are worsened by sleep disorders, since the resulting fatigue can make you less capable of focusing on and completing daily tasks. Ones that are commonly prescribed are sedatives and hypnotics, which are called benzodiazepines. Even though you may have a restful night's sleep, the following day can be dreadful with mental discomfort and distress. Valerian, for example, works by increasing the levels of GABA being produced by the brain, which helps balance your brain chemistry to relax you and aid you in falling asleep.
They also answered questions about their use of sedative drugs, including tranquilizers such as Valium, or sleeping pills, such as Nytol. Sleeping pills and anxiety drugs affect reaction time, alertness and coordination, and so they may contribute to falls and other accidents, the researchers said.
Combining a pharmacological approach in the short term with psychological treatment is a promising strategy for reducing anxiety and promoting sleep," Belleville said.
We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health.


This article catalogs the many side effects of benzodiazepines and provides the body of scientific work that proves they can cause dementia in old age. In fact, it is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and its effects counteracts the actions of stimulants and excitatory neurotransmitters such as epinephrine.
Therefore, even a single dose and short-term therapy can impair different aspects of mental performance. Because of the wide availability of sleeping pills, many individuals opt for this convenient medication. Melatonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), for example, have a tranquilizing effect, but tend to become much sparser at this time. Other herbs that have a calming and sleep-inducing effect are lemon balm and passionflower.
If you experience anxiety episodes as a side effect of a sleep aid, your physician can help you by changing the dose or the type of medicine. However, just because you experience initial improvement in sleep, it doesn't mean the pills are a suitable solution for everyone.
And some of the drugs work on the central nervous system in ways that may affect judgment and thus increase the risk of suicide.
For some people, sleeping drugs have side effects that can prove detrimental to mental wellness. GAD: Emotional SymptomsThe main symptom of GAD is a constant and exaggerated sense of tension and anxiety. The disorder tends to appear gradually, with the first symptoms most likely to occur between childhood and middle age. Diagnosing GADThere's no lab test for GAD, so the diagnosis is made based on your description of symptoms. You may have GAD if you have been feeling anxious or worrying too much for at least six months.
Self-Care for GADYou can support your treatment for GAD by making a few simple changes in your habits. Avoid caffeine, street drugs, and even some cold medicines, which can boost anxiety symptoms.
And be sure to exercise; there's evidence that moderate physical activity can have a calming effect. Complementary Remedies for GADIt hard to know whether any non-traditional remedies for GAD work because they have not been well researched. Herbal Remedies for GADAmong herbal remedies, there is some evidence that kava may help ease mild to moderate anxiety. GAD and Other DisordersPeople who have GAD may also develop depression, alcoholism, or drug addiction. These can include panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social phobia.
Panic disorder affects about six million American adults, and it's one of the most treatable of all anxiety disorders. Rape, abuse, physical assaults, accidents, or a natural disaster can lead to this type of anxiety. The symptoms include vivid flashbacks and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. OCD affects about two million Americans and is often treated with medication and psychotherapy. Social Anxiety DisorderPeople with social phobia feel overly panicky and self-conscious in ordinary social situations.
Symptoms include a sense of dread before social events and sweating, blushing, nausea, or difficulty talking during the events.
The disorder affects 15 million American adults and can be treated with psychotherapy or medications. Common phobias include heights, closed-in spaces like elevators or tunnels, dogs, flying, and water. If an anxiety disorder seems likely, your doctor may recommend medication and refer you to a mental health professional.



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