Minor tranquilizers are prescribed to relieve anxiety, tension and agitation. Valium, Librium, Serax and Resterol all act on the central nervous system. In the brain, this class of drugs affects the emotional limbic center altering feelings and moods. The first experience the sufferer has with tranquilizers is positive, giving a ray of hope in an otherwise hopeless life. Waves of peace like a warm bath—muscles relax and emotions subside. There is a sense of balance and well-being. If the dosage is increased, there is decreased motivation, memory impairment, poor judgment and reduced motor coordination. The balance of the nervous system has been altered and the body works towards homeostasis, developing a tolerance for the drug. More is needed for the same effect.
As the half-life of the drug diminishes in the blood, the body becomes imbalance. Like a swinging pendulum, it has returned to the other side. Muscles tighten, agitation and nervousness increase, building a dependence for the next dosage. If tranquilizer usage is moderate, this occurs on a twenty-four-hour cycle. For some the addiction cycle will start on the first dose. For others, it may take ten to thirty days of usage before the minor symptoms of addition set in.
After a few months of continuously using tranquilizers, the emotions destabilize, become impulsive, causing mood swings, irritability and depression. The sex drive becomes nonexistent. Instead of the drug giving a feeling of peace, it only supplies temporary relief in a storm of chaotic emotions and agitation.
A sadder fate awaits those in our psychiatric wards. Major tranquilizers such chlorpromazine or anti-depressants are used to reduce the psychotic symptoms manic-depression, schizophrenia or other psychoses. These may be combined with anti-depressants or systemics such as Prozac. The patient’s normal neurological process is suppressed. In this drugged condition, the patient becomes more manageable. The key is to keep the blood-level of the drug at a fairly constant state. If not, the patient relapses into serious imbalance. The hope is that the brain will adjust to being constantly affected by the drug, and in that state of homeostasis, the metal disorder will be manageable. With the continuous ingestion of psychoactive drugs, the natural healing mechanisms of the body are over-ridden and many patients never regain sanity.
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