WORLD BENZODIAZEPINE AWARENESS DAY
Every year on July 11th, World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD) raises global awareness about medically induced dependence on benzodiazepines. It’s also a day to realize the drug’s adverse effects and that withdrawal syndrome can last for years.
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that act as tranquilizers. They are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. Some brand names of benzodiazepines include:
Along with treating anxiety, physicians prescribe the above medications for insomnia, seizure disorders, vertigo, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal. Common side effects of benzodiazepines include dizziness, weakness, and unsteadiness. All of them can cause physical dependence.
Patients should only take these medications for 2 to 4 weeks. However, since many doctors prescribe them for much longer, the result is major dependence on the drug. When a person stops taking these medications, they suffer severe withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes these withdrawal symptoms persist for years after they have stopped taking the drug. Symptoms include having strange phobias, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and crippling neurological problems.
Some people say the drug has made their pre-existing physical and mental health issues even worse. Others say benzodiazepines have completely ruined their finances, relationships, career, and their life.
In the United States, benzodiazepines have also caused a high number of overdose deaths. In fact, the number of overdoses is second only to opioids. Yet, despite all of these dangers, benzodiazepines continue to be the most widely prescribed drugs in the world.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldBenzodiazepineAwarenessDay
If you want to help increase awareness about the dangers of benzodiazepines, here are some ways you can participate:
- Host a W-BAD fundraiser
- Share your story about benzodiazepines with others
- Talk to healthcare professionals about the dangers of this drug
- Print out W-BAD pamphlets and hand them out or drop them off in public places
- Change your profile picture on social media with the W-BAD graphic
- Research benzodiazepines and share what you’ve learned with others
- Contact your local media and ask them to do a feature story for this day
You can also share this day on social media with #WorldBenzodiazepineAwarenessDay or #WORLDBENZODAY.
WORLD BENZODIAZEPINE AWARENESS DAY HISTORY
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day is a grassroots initiative created by two activists and survivors of benzodiazepine injury. Organizers hosted the first event on July 11th, 2016. They chose the date to honor the birthday of Professor Heather Ashton. Dr. Ashton who has made many significant contributions to the benzodiazepine cause.