Brain Damage from Benzodiazepines
Brain Damage from Benzodiazepines: The Troubling Facts, Risks, and History of Minor Tranquilizers
Psychiatrists have long known that benzodiazepines can cause brain damage
Published on November 18, 2010
Last week, Britain's Independent newspaper published a bombshell for psychiatry and medicine: the country's Medical Research Council had sat on warnings 30 years earlier that benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax can cause brain damage. As 11.5 million prescriptions for these drugs were issued in 2008 in Britain alone, I focused on the consequences of the cover-up for the millions affected.
Given the feedback I received from numerous patients in Britain and the States attesting to their profound difficulties in quitting such medication, as well as their impairment from the drugs many years later, I want to retrace the drugs' controversial history, to help explain why the suppression of evidence about their side effects is deservedly national news in Britain, and why it should be here in the States, too.
Concern about the adverse effects of this group of drugs dates to the 1970s, when vast numbers of people began taking them for stress and anxiety. Once the most popular minor tranquilizers in Britain, the U.S., and much of Europe, benzodiazepines ("benzos" for short) include such household names as Valium, Xanax, Librium, Ativan, and Klonopin.
Between 2002 and 2007, the number of U.S. prescriptions for them grew from 69 million to 83 million. Their popularity trailed off in the 1980s and 1990s, when Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and other SSRI antidepressants outsold them as "blockbuster" drugs—so-named because their annual revenues surpassed $1 billion. But benzos actually made a comeback earlier this decade, due in part to the highly successful marketing of Xanax for more than just Panic Disorder.
For the rest of the 2 page article please click the link to Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/50664