Benzodiazepine: Chemical | Organic composition

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 7:13 am

Benzodiazepines produce mild sedation when taken by slowing down activity in the central nervous system (CNS). These drugs act on the limbic system, the area of the brain that controls emotions. Specifically, they enhance the effects of a natural chemical neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and heightens GABA’s ability to block feelings of tension and anxiety by inhibiting neurons from firing and thereby dampening the transmission of nerve signals. The result is a calming effect.

Some of the benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and triazolam (Halcion), bind especially tightly to the GABA receptors. This causes more intense sedation and hypnosis, as well as more severe rebound and withdrawal symptoms.

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