Often, patients go to the doctor with complaints of chronic sleep disorders associated with various external factors and stresses. Some of them are recommended to take drugs that inhibit the function of the nervous system – benzodiazepines. However, although pills have a positive effect on insomnia, they are addictive and side effects in many patients. Their effect on the brain, especially in combination with some other drugs, may become overly active, and it is important to try to solve sleep problems as much as possible without such means.
When using drugs class benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that inhibit the function of the central nervous system. These medication used in the treatment of insomnia, sleep disorders, anxiety, muscle spasms, acute alcohol intoxication, convulsive seizures and some other situations. The most commonly used drugs are phenozepam, alprazolam clonazepam and lorazepam, they are among the ten most commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs.
The report A. Lembke, head of the division of additive medicine at the medical center of Stanford University, published information about the dangers of these drugs. In a February 22, 2018 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Lembke reported on the negative effects of benzodiazepines – addiction and an increased risk of lethal complications.
Insomnia and pills
The number of adults receiving prescriptions for benzodiazepines for sleep disorders increased by almost 67% between 1996 and 2013. Dosages for prescriptions increased threefold. Mortality from overdose with these pills also increased dramatically. But at the same time, not all people who received the drugs got better sleep. Worse, these pills sometimes prescribed with opioids, which increases the risk of serious and life-threatening side effects.
Dr. Lembke notes: “Benzodiazepines have proven their usefulness when used intermittently and for less than 1 month. Sleep is usually normalized and there are no serious health problems. But when they are used daily, for long periods of time, the benefits of benzodiazepines are reduced, and the risks associated with their use increase.
Many patients receiving benzodiazepines do not understand that pills can be addictive and, if taken daily, can aggravate anxiety and contribute to persistent insomnia. Other risks associated with benzodiazepines include cognitive impairment, accidental injuries and falls, higher rates of hospitalization, and ambulance calls. ” In case of sleep disorders, doctors recommend choosing other methods of treatment, often without taking pills.
The influence of drugs on the brain: where are the side effects?
The drugs inhibit brain function by affecting the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA works in the brain, slowing down or suppressing nerve impulses. Benzodiazepines are believed to activate the action of GABA, forming anti-anxiety and sedative effects. Medicines This group is necessary in serious situations, in patients with severe sleep disorders and strictly according to indications.
If a person suffers from episodic sleep disorders, due to the fact that the brain is overloaded with information, there are muscle spasms or increased anxiety as a result of stress, using these drugs is not the best option. Some patients can solve the problem through non-drug interventions and lifestyle changes.
Brain and stress: nutrients for relaxation
Relaxation and stress resistance of the body are provided by healthy function of GABA and receptors in the brain. If these receptors are faulty or impaired due to lack of nutrients and oxidative stress, GABA cannot adequately transmit impulses to relax and inhibit the brain. In addition, the excitability of the cell membranes and nerves or their relaxation, the electrical activity depends on the continuous supply of nutrients. Stress suppress omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids together with electrolytes (magnesium and potassium). They are necessary to reduce the excitability of nerve cells and membrane stability.
The brain requires the presence of magnesium to accumulate glutamatergic stimuli, it helps release GABA and reduce the concentration of stress hormones in the brain.
The use of lemon balm helps in relaxing the body and relieving stress. Animal studies show that lemon balm extract reduces stress and increases GABA levels in the brain. In addition to lemon balm, other herbs are traditionally used, they help to relax, sleep, combat stress, and maintain the concentration of GABA in the brain. These include passionflower, hops, chamomile and others. Studies show that these herbs help reduce stress and normalize sleep in a natural and safe way.
Flavonoids in sleep correction: fisetin
It was found that natural flavonoids can help normalize sleep. Fisetin, belonging to this group, and contained in strawberries, blueberries and cucumber skins, can also help in normalizing the work of GABA receptors throughout the body. Researchers have found that fisetin helps maintain the functionality of the nerves and protect them by virtue of their antioxidant effect.
A study in 2016 showed that fisetin has an affinity for GABA receptors in the spinal cord, which can help relax, suppress pain, combat stress, normalize sleep.
One of the first signs that the brain works in conditions of low nutritional support are changes in energy production and mood. There is unmotivated anxiety, irritability and bad mood. Sleep often suffers, it becomes intermittent, superficial, falling asleep is disturbed. In these cases, one should begin with replenishing the level of magnesium and potassium, taking sedative herbs and enriching the food with flavonoids. If this does not help, then the question of taking medication is solved.