|yeah, i'm even recycling an image i've used before|
and not just to the authorities who have probably put me on watch lists because they think this blog is in some kind of drug dealer code.
i've lapsed on the "regular" sections of this blog as i've been in recovery mode lately, but after wading into a conversation about the drugs we love to hate to love, i thought i might just re-post this one. i have been thinking about doing a piece on the comparative experiences that people have with benzodiazepines, but that is quite an undertaking. everyone has their favourites and their betes noires in this category. of course, the fact that everyone has opinions could probably be seen as an indicator that too many people are taking them to begin with. but i'm not a medical professional.
so pop 'em if you got 'em and enjoy the more like space mental health mondays benzo primer [again].
originally published 1 march 2011
last week, i blogged about psychiatric medications that are rarely (or, if you're in canada, never) prescribed, despite evidence that they are effective. as a counterpoint, i thought i'd write about a category of drugs that i find to be frighteningly over-prescribed: benzodiazepines. these are the drugs that are most likely to be handed out if you go to your doctor to complain of anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, recurrent headaches, generalised pain... well, put it this way: there are a lot of things that are likely to get you a prescription for benzos.
librium, the original benzo, was discovered in 1955, but was originally thought a disappointment. however, further testing and refinement resulted in a marketable drug, first made available in 1960. despite some concerns over the poorly-understood long-term effects of the drug and the potential for abuse, benzodiazepines were a marked improvement over their predecessors, the barbiturates (which, i discovered today, is a word i've been misspelling and mispronouncing my entire life). barbiturates had been the go-to medication to basically cure anything resembling a state of stress or even wakefulness for the first half of the century, but it was widely known that they were prone to abuse and that the stressed patients who took them had a tendency to use them for suicide. plus, of course, there were a number of soldiers in world war ii who were given "goofballs" to help depress their respiratory system, making it easier to work in the subtropical conditions of the south pacific (and probably making it a heck of a lot less stressful to risk their necks at war). the drugs seemed reasonably effective, but it unfortunately lead to a lot of pill-popping zombies coming home from the war, who were either forced into lengthy rehabilitation, or who continued as they were, leading to a widespread problem with barbiturate abuse in the post-war years. compared to that record, these spiffy new benzo drugs seemed like a good deal.