About one or five Dutch people who Valium, Xanax and / or other benzodiazepines take abuse of the potentially addictive medication, recent research results suggest. Abuse means that its use is not supervised in any way by a health care professional or physician, including using over-the-counter medications, taking higher doses than prescribed, or taking it more often or for longer than prescribed. The studies estimate that between 4 and 6% of adults in the Netherlands take benzodiazepines.
The statistics also revealed that benzodiazepine use among adults is more than twice as high as previously reported, with nearly 13% of the Dutch taking tranquilizers in the past year.
Young vs old
Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 mainly prefer benzodiazepines. These are typically prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Many young people are turning to anti-anxiety medications to treat the symptoms of stress or anxiety. This is partly because clinical therapies and treatments are too expensive or inaccessible, seen as too time-consuming or involve too much stigmatization. Many young adults feel overwhelmed and stressed by work, school, family, or social obligations, and have grown up in a society where drugs are the norm rather than the exception.
There is a common misconception among young people that prescription drugs are inherently safer than illegal drugs. However, we know that this is not always true and that the current opioid epidemic has shown that it is certainly a potential misconception. The side effects can be serious as these drugs suppress breathing.
Older adults are also prescribed benzodiazepines. However, they know almost nothing about the addiction potential and common abuse. There is a big gap in knowledge between young and old.
Most of the safety concerns regarding use are in older adults. Sedatives increase the risk of falls and fractures, as well as car accidents. They can also cause memory loss.
Therapy as a first-line treatment
benzodiazepines are far too commonly prescribed, given that many studies and evidence have shown that they have little to no value in the treatment of anxiety, panic disorders, or insomnia. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychotherapy often work much better than benzodiazepines, as drugs only suppress the symptoms and do nothing about the underlying condition.