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how do benzodiazepines work?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by alice111, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. alice111

    alice111 Senior Member

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    hello all,
    I would like some help trying to figure out why benzos seem to be the only thing helping what i think is some kind of "adrenaline sure" I am have started getting daily.

    I understand they work on gaba. but how do they impact adrenaline? and heart rate?

    also, what are the different kinds of benzos? I know some have longer half lives, but are there other differences?

    any input would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    I don't know the ins and outs of benzos but I know they help me more than any other medicine really for this illness. My take and many people feel that they calm down the brain and since our brain is going way to quickly, anything that calms it is a good idea. It does effect GABA which is a huge thing we need...GABA. We need to suppress our overactive mind. So yeah, anything that directly effects the brain will also effect the adrenals. If it calms the mind, it will calm the adrenals. It's a cycle. And if it calms the brain, it can also calm the heart. It's all related.

    Many feel CFS is a problem of the brain. The immune system, but the brain and how the brain cranks everything up including the immune system.
     
    zzz likes this.
  3. chipmunk1

    chipmunk1 Senior Member

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    they target GABA receptors which promote relaxation....

    be careful benzos are highly addictive and some feel they are even harder to withdraw than heroin.

    long term use has also been linked to brain damage and cognitive dysfunction.
     
  4. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    So has insomnia.

    Every time i see the sensationalized news reports of sleeping tablets causing brain damage or reducing life expectancy, i always wonder if they have put the cart before the horse and those who take sleep meds generally have poor sleep before hand, so is it the poor sleep thats the real problem????

    I think they need to look at the best ways to use sleep meds to avoid tolerance and dosage escalation. Also need to look into better treatments for insomnia instead of blaming it on anxiety or depression, much the same way they treat cfs/me
     
    vli, Little Bluestem, Kenshin and 3 others like this.
  5. alice111

    alice111 Senior Member

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    Can anyone explain this:

    Common types
    • 2-keto compounds:
    chlordiazepoxide, clorazepate, diazepam, flurazepam, halazepam, prazepam, and others.[119][120]
    • 3-hydroxy compounds:
    lorazepam, lormetazepam, oxazepam, temazepam[119][120]
    • 7-nitro compounds:
    clonazepam, flunitrazepam, nimetazepam, nitrazepam[119][120]
    • Triazolo compounds:
    adinazolam, alprazolam, estazolam, triazolam[119][120]
    • Imidazo compounds
    climazolam, loprazolam, midazolam[119][120]


    Please pardon my ignorance.. But what does this mean? And does anyone have experience with taking from different categories? Are any more effective than others?
     
  6. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    @alice111
    When you say you have an "adrenaline surge", what exactly do you mean? What are your actual symptoms?
     
  7. alice111

    alice111 Senior Member

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    @Hip I guess I don't know for sure that's what it is, but it's become my best guess..
    What happens is I wI'll NOT feel anxious, but slowly (or suddenly) I start to get a pounding heart, then I start to over heat, possibly break out in a sweat, and then I become extremely anxious, and or irritable. It's like a menopausal hot flash.. But I'm 25yrs old. Does that seem like adrenaline?
     
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Do you suffer from anxiety or panic symptoms quite a lot? Because both in generalized anxiety disorder (which is where you feel almost constant anxiety for no reason) and in panic disorder (where you get attacks of acute of anxiety and panic) sudden episodes of tachycardia (rapid heart beat) can occur.

    Though I believe the mechanism of the tachycardia in these anxiety disorders is still via adrenaline, so I think you are right in the idea it is an adrenaline surge.

    If you do have one of these anxiety disorder, it might perhaps explain why benzodiazepines help you, as these are a standard treatment for anxiety.
     
  9. invisiblejungle

    invisiblejungle Senior Member

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    Benzos don't directly affect GABA levels, but they make GABA-A receptors more "sensitive" to GABA. So the same amount of GABA will have a stronger effect.

    Since GABA is the body's main inhibitory neurotransmitter, increased GABA activity will reduce the effects of all other neurotransmitters, including epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (norepinephrine). This is how benzos can lower heart rate and blood pressure.

    The different categories of benzos are based on their chemical structure. However, all benzos have pretty much the same mechanism of action, so the main difference is half-life.
     
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  10. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    They also seem to be grouped into anxiolytic and sedatives as well as anti seizure effects. Im guessing they all have those effects but to differing levels??
     
  11. alice111

    alice111 Senior Member

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    Thank you! This makes so much sense, so it's like it overpowers the others? Hm, interesting
     
  12. invisiblejungle

    invisiblejungle Senior Member

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    That seems to be the case. They all have the same basic function, but their individual "flavors" are slightly different. Some may be more sedative, some more anxiolytic, etc.

    I also think that when certain benzos are listend as "anti-seizure," for example, it isn't that only those benzos have anti-seizure effects. It's just that the manufacturers of those benzos have paid for the studies to show that they are anti-seizure. But since all benzos increase GABA activity, they all have the same overall effects.
     
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  13. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    @alice111 just be careful with drug tolerance, which is the need to increase the dose to get the effects your after. If this happens its time to either take a break from it or change to a different med for awhile, probably a different class of meds.

    Myself i rotate between several things to help avoid tolerance, some benzo's and some not like antihistamines etc or sedating antidepressants. I use them for sleep not for anxiety disorder where i need to use them throughout the day though?
     
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  14. invisiblejungle

    invisiblejungle Senior Member

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    Yep, the increased GABA activity "overpowers" the other neurotransmitters. That's why benzos can have side effects. For example, I have gastroparesis, which means my digestive system is very slow. If I take a benzo for longer than 2 weeks, my digestion completely shuts down, since increased GABA lowers acetylcholine, which is the main neurotransmitter used by the digestive system.
     
  15. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    What he said.

    I went thru a hellish withdrawal caused by Lorazepam this summer... and I had only been taking it 2X/month (fr insomnia). It ended up causing all the symptoms it was supposed to alleviate, and for 6 weeks it made them 1000 worse. Horrible drugs, those benzos. Many nightmarish experiences by many people.
     
  16. alice111

    alice111 Senior Member

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    Yes I definitely try to avoid using the same thing too much. I also do this with sleep meds. What do you use to rotate?
     
  17. alice111

    alice111 Senior Member

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    I mean what sleep meds do you use?
     
  18. alice111

    alice111 Senior Member

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    Fyi as for anxiety disorder I don't have this. It's been a recent symptoms. BUT I actually think I may have solved my anxiety the past couple of days (fingers crossed) seems I was in dire need of potassium!!! I hope that this sticks because that would awesome if all I needed was to increase my potassium...
     
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  19. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    mostly i use the z drugs like zolpidem or zopiclone and valium for my benzos. Other things i rotate are several different antihistamines, sometimes seroquel but its quite sedating and i use this when sleep goes whacky. sometimes i add some natural stuff like kava or tryptophan. so i just try to take a couple of things and not more than 2 days in a row. add a few benzo free days in there too, every few months i may take a week or 2 off all benzos. just mix it up alot. theres also sedating antidepressants that u can use as a once off.

    good to get your doctor on board with it so u dont take something that interacts with each other, generally start low and slow.
     
  20. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    @alice111

    I am one of the "horror stories" from short term, low dose benzo use. I won't get into specifics because I will scare people from ever touching a pill again, just know that benzos are in a class of their own in terms of physical addiction potential. By physical I mean your body becoming addicted to it, not you.

    Like your I took low dose benzos for increased adrenaline due to adrenal fatigue. I regret now every day that I did this but they were the only thing that helped me sleep even a little. The benefit was not worth the damage it caused.

    My strong recommendation is that if you found a potential cause of your adrenaline surges to TAPER off the benzo. They should really only be used for short term isolated use yet few doctors understand this.

    Not trying to freak you out, I'm just trying to look out for you as I'm a living example of the horrors they can cause. I would only take benzos if it was the absolute last resort and the anxiety is intolerable- and even then- intermittently.

    @Misfit Toy

    It is understood now that adrenal fatigue is a brain toxicity disease, not something that directly effects the adrenals. Taking benzos and other sleep/anxiety aids, though calming in the short term, only add to the toxin load. I say this because I had extremely severe AF which is what lead me to Ativan and ativan withdrawal led me to ME.

    The deregulation in our brains is an influx of glutamate so by the benzo upping the affinity of GABA receptors to GABA it doesn't do anything toward solving the problem, but rather "evens the playing field" temporarily.

    I'm not trying to sway you on your decision to take benzos as I know how much it can calm you down, just trying to help awareness of the situation. If I can prevent even 1 person from living the unspeakable hell that ativan put me in it will be worth it.
     

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