Benzodiazepine drugs

A group of drugs given for short periods as sleeping drugs for insomnia and to control the symptoms of anxiety or stress (see tranquillizer drugs). Common benzodiazepines include diazepam, which is used as a tranquillizer, and nitrazepam, which is sometimes used for insomnia. Benzodiazepines are also used in the management of alcohol withdrawal and in the control of epilepsy. Minor adverse effects of benzodiazepines include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, and forgetfulness. Unsteadiness and slowed reactions may also occur. Regular users may become psychologically and physically dependent; for this reason, the drugs are usually given for courses of 2–3 weeks or less. When the drugs are stopped suddenly, withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, restlessness, and nightmares may occur. Benzodiazepine drugs are sometimes abused for their sedative effect.


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