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World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day – July 11, 2023

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day is observed on July 11 every year. This day is to raise awareness and educate the public about the dangers of long-term use of benzodiazepines. Frequently prescribed for mental health conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and seizures, benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs. While they may seem harmless, they are easy to overdose on when used with other medication or alcohol. The primary concern with benzodiazepines is the severe physical dependency cultivated due to prolonged prescriptions, and this is what the World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day seeks to address.

History of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day is on July 11 across the world. This annual observance serves to give awareness and educate the general public about the dangers of benzodiazepines when used over long periods.

On their own, when prescribed for a short term, benzodiazepines can improve symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. However, when these drugs are used for longer than two to four weeks or with other medication or alcohol, they can have detrimental effects, including overdose.

Long-term usage of benzodiazepines can affect individuals with anxiety and agitation, making their symptoms worse over time rather than improving them. Using these drugs for longer than four weeks can also worsen feelings of suicide ideation and depression in individuals already experiencing these mental health issues.

Benzodiazepine drugs long-term result in dependency, even when used at low dosages. Ordinary, everyday people become unknowingly dependent on benzodiazepines after long-term prescriptions. The World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day or W-BAD was initiated by activists who survived benzodiazepine injury and wanted to bring awareness to the dangers of this drug and the growing problem of people developing a dependence on the drug unknowingly.

The day also encourages medical practitioners to follow basic principles when prescribing benzodiazepines to ensure patients know the side effects and dangers of long-term use. These principles encourage doctors to support patients who are long-term users of the drug to prevent injury and wean them off the benzodiazepines onto safer medication.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day timeline

1955
First Benzodiazepine

The making of Chlordiazepoxide becomes the first benzodiazepine in the world.

1980s
Risk Of Dependence Becomes Evident

Despite the initial optimism, it is seen that long-term use of these drugs causes dependence.

1990s
Heather Ashton Runs a Withdrawal Clinic

Ashton’s benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic opens in Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

2016
First W-BAD Observed

People suffering from benzodiazepine injury attend and organize this first W-BAD.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day FAQs

How many people Use Benzos?

In the U.S. about 30.6 million adults use benzodiazepines.

Which Benzo is best for long-term use?

Diazepam and Clorazepate are long-acting and better for long-term use.

What is a good substitute for Benzodiazepines?

SSRIs, SNRIs, and Beta-blockers are great non-additive substitutes for benzodiazepines.

How to Observe World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day

  1. Share information about these drugs

    The focus of W-BAD is to raise awareness about the dangers of benzodiazepines when used long-term. Gather information from official sources and let your friends and family know all about them.

  2. Spread the stories

    On this day, people suffering from benzodiazepine injury come together to tell their stories. Share these stories so you can spread the word and acknowledge their suffering.

  3. Attend an event nearby

    In most places, W-BAD organizes events around spreading awareness and education. Find a W-BAD event near you and attend to show your support.

5 Facts About Benzodiazepine Dependence

  1. It led to a class-action lawsuit

    Manufacturers of benzodiazepines got sued for not warning against the dangers.

  2. Therapeutic dependence is the largest category

    The majority of dependents of benzodiazepines use prescription dosages for mental health.

  3. A problem among the elderly

    Medical complications develop among the elderly due to their sensitivity to the drug.

  4. It’s physical and psychological

    Patients develop tolerance to the effects of the drug, resulting in physical dependence.

  5. The withdrawals are manageable

    The severe nature of the withdrawal symptoms is due to poor management of the symptoms.

Why World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day is Important

  1. We want people to be informed

    We think that people prescribed benzodiazepines should be aware of their effects. We want to make sure that people who need the drug are making an informed decision.

  2. We want to talk to medical practitioners

    We want to understand if medical practitioners have the information they need about benzodiazepines so they can prescribe them at the right time. We also want to raise the awareness of drug-related injuries among medical professionals.

  3. We want to prevent dependence

    We think dependence on benzodiazepines is avoidable if people are aware of the effects of the drug. We want to help limit the long-term use of benzodiazepines across the world.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day dates

YearDateDay
2023July 11Tuesday
2024July 11Thursday
2025July 11Friday
2026July 11Saturday
2027July 11Sunday

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