Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed tranquillisers and are used for the relief of anxiety and/or sleeplessness.
Tranquillisers used during the day to have a calming effect are known as anxiolytics. Tranquillisers used at night to aid sleep are know as hypnotics.
Common generic benzodiazepines
Nonbenzodiazepines such as Zopiclone and Zolpidem, although chemically distinct from benzodiazepines, operate very similarly upon GABA receptors. The only significant difference between these two classes of drugs is that nonbenzodiazepines have a much shorter half-life than most benzodiazepines. REST makes little distinction between benzodiazepines and Z-drugs regarding the support and advice we provide.
Side Effects & Withdrawal Symptoms:
▪ Side effects can be unpleasant and distressing. They may include forgetfulness, depression and digestive problems. Minor tranquillisers can cause dizziness or drowsiness. If this happens, you should avoid driving or using dangerous machinery, even in the home.
▪ Alcohol will make any symptoms worse so try not to have a drink while on medication.
▪ Tranquillisers are habit forming and should only be taken as a last resort.
▪ Withdrawal symptoms may include: panic attacks, anxiety, nausea, fits, and rarely, hallucinations.
You should only take tranquillisers for a short time and your total prescription should be no more than four weeks. Sleeping pills should only be taken for a few nights or occasionally.
If you would like to stop taking your medication, consult your general practitioner to discuss a slow withdrawal plan to suit you.
It is very dangerous to stop taking your medicine abruptly. This may cause serious withdrawal symptoms. A slow steady reduction is more effective and will give your body time to adjust.
For more information on Benzodiazepines, please see: www.benzo.org.uk/manual/index.htm