When a doctor prescribes medication to help with an illness or ailment, rarely do we think about the long-term health risks that using the drug might have. We are often concerned with alleviating the unpleasant feeling or action – that’s an expected response. Medications can be extremely helpful in giving us the relief we need, whether it be for pain, restlessness, depression, or anxiety. On the flip side, they can be very dangerous to your health, especially when misused.
According an article on Psychiatric Times, there are over 20 million hypnotic sleep aid prescriptions issued on an annual basis. Effective and often short-acting, sleep aids have been very helpful to those who need them. If you see a doctor for insomnia, he/she may be prescribed you a sleep aid. Sleep aids are likely to fall into one of two categories: benzodiazepines like Dalmane or non-benzo alternatives like Ambien. Both are commonly prescribed, and there is debate on which class is preferred over the other, as each has its own share of negative side effects.
Benzodiazepines, in particular, are among a special class of drugs that are often misused. They are simultaneously praised for efficacy yet disparaged for their habit-forming potential, which can often occur in tandem with abuse. Even when taken as directed, users of Dalmane and other benzos can still experience withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing use, indicating its physical effect on the body. Over a longer period of abuse, users of Dalmane may experience unpleasant health consequences.
- Memory loss. It’s been long speculated that long-term use of benzodiazepines can cause short-term memory loss and anterograde amnesia. Anterograde grade differs somewhat from short-term loss because a person is no longer able to form new memories or recall new information after an incident.
- Visuospatial and visuomotor skills. To put it simply, both of these involve your eyesight. Visuospatial skills deal with your perception of spatial depth and relationships between objects. Visuomotor skills, on the other hand, are actions that often require or are dependent upon sight. Long-term use of benzos have been shown to impair these skills, according to a research article on Mad In America, an online mental health and psychiatry resource.
- Cognitive impairment. Aside from the two points previously mentioned, long-term use of benzodiazepines has been linked to poor motor function, decreased attention span, information processing, sexual arousal, and reaction time. An article on Psychology Today noted that extended benzo use might lead to brain damage as well.
- Physical dependency. With prolonged use of nearly potentially addictive drug, the body develops a resistance to and dependence on the drug. Tolerance implies that more of the drug or increased use is needed in order to achieve the same effect. Physical dependence can lead to withdrawal symptoms if Dalmane use is discontinued abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms generally include insomnia, depression, delirium tremens, seizures, and anxiety.
- Addiction. Addiction is a disease that can affect your whole life. Many people commonly associate addiction with illicit drugs or alcohol, but it can occur through prescription drug use as well. When this occurs, there is more than a physical dependence on the drug. The addiction affects the brain just as much as the body. It’s not uncommon for those addicted to drugs to change their whole life around to accommodate the drug use, thus leading to deterioration of relationships, personal hygiene, and careers.
It’s important to only use Dalmane as directed by a medical professional. If you are, or someone you know is, abusing Dalmane, it may be a good idea to seek advice from a drug treatment facility like The Oaks at La Paloma. We have professional clinicians and counselors on staff who are knowledgeable and experienced in treating benzodiazepine abuse and addiction. Let us help you find a way to recovery. Call us today.