World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day 2023

Ioana Cozma
Written by Ioana Cozma on 10 July 2023

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD) occurs on July 11th and aims to educate about the risks and side effects of this commonly used drug. This article discusses what benzodiazepines are, benzodiazepine addiction, and possible withdrawal symptoms. You will also learn how to get involved and help change legislation around benzodiazepines.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day 2023

What is Benzodiazepine Awareness Day?

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD) aims to educate the general public and medical professionals about the dangers of benzodiazepine abuse and addiction.

What are benzodiazepines?

This class of drugs appeared in the 1950s and has been typically used against anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health conditions.

Its side effects became evident in the 1980s, and the first benzodiazepine withdrawal clinics opened almost a decade later.

Patients with benzodiazepine addiction held the first Benzodiazepine Awareness Day in 2016.

The founders are activists and benzodiazepine-injured people. Their goal was to educate patients, the medical community, and the general population about:

  • Side effects of benzodiazepines associated with long-term use
  • The risk of dependency versus the benefits
  • Benzodiazepine-injured people

This day allows us to learn more about the risks and benefits of benzodiazepines and also share common experiences. Healthcare professionals can educate their patients better and explore alternative treatments.

What are the risks of prolonged benzodiazepine use?

As with any medicine, the goal is to make informed decisions. So, ask yourself what are benzodiazepines’ risks and are they worth the benefits?

Here’s the science behind this drug:

Your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters that communicate messages between neurons. When you have anxiety or insomnia, these messages are overly stimulating.

Benzodiazepines accelerate the effect of a calming neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) to counteract the stimulation.

However, because benzodiazepines interfere with neurotransmitters in the brain, they affect other typical interactions between neurons.

That means they can produce different side effects:

  • Phobias
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • And more

Even worse, benzodiazepines can worsen your current anxiety and insomnia.

Very serious effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dementia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation

Benzodiazepines are also the second-leading cause of death by overdose. Even so, medical professionals continue to prescribe this drug widely.

However, doctors typically recommend benzodiazepines for up to two weeks. Longer periods of up to four weeks cause severe symptoms when the patient stops suddenly, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Feeling restless
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Feeling outside reality
  • Excessive sweating
  • And more

To avoid these benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, your doctor may advise you to pace your withdrawal over 3-12 months.

How to get involved with World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day

Getting the word out about World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day can help numerous people. Patients can understand the risks and mitigate the side effects, while medical professionals can try different treatment plans.

Here is what you can do:

1. Share information on social media

The first step to raise awareness on W-BAD is to post about it on social media:

  • Change your profile picture with the W-BAD logo.
  • Talk to your friends and family about its dangers, showing them official information.
  • Join social media groups and take action together, such as sharing pamphlets or buying media ad space.

2. Tell your story

If you have been benzodiazepine-injured, you can take this moment to share your story.

Even if you don’t have a massive social media following, channels like Instagram and TikTok can quickly make your post go viral.

Otherwise, you can contact local media to discuss your iatrogenic benzodiazepine injury. This story can be newsworthy for your local community.

Alternatively, you can educate your healthcare professionals with updated materials.

3. Attend events

The more massive an event is, the more chances the media will pick it up. So, participating in a World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day Event is more than showing support; it can work to sway public opinion.

Besides, successful events motivate the organizers to keep up their educational efforts.

4. Lobby

Remember that your voice matters in public legislation and is not just about voting every four years. You can actively contact your public representatives or key people in the government via official letters or emails. You can take part in public meetings too.

These actions, especially when rigorously undertaken by larger communities, can increase awareness and modify regulations.

Resources:

  1. Longo, L. P., & Johnson, B. (2000). Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines—Side Effects, Abuse Risk and Alternatives. American Family Physician, 61(7):2121-2128.
  2. Griffin, C. E., 3rd, Kaye, A. M., Bueno, F. R., & Kaye, A. D. (2013). Benzodiazepine pharmacology and central nervous system-mediated effects. The Ochsner journal, 13(2), 214–223.
  3. (n.d.). Benzodiazepine and Z-Drug Safety Guideline. Kaiser Permanente. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from
  4. Hayhoe, B., & Lee-Davey, J. (2018). Tackling benzodiazepine misuse. The BMJ.
  5. Nordqvist, J. (2023, January 11). The benefits and risks of benzodiazepines. Medical News Today. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from
  6. (2023, June 21). WORLD BENZODIAZEPINE AWARENESS DAY | JULY 11. National Day Calendar. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from
  7. (n.d.). World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day – July 11, 2023. National Day Today. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from 1

Activity History - Last updated: 11 July 2023, Published date:

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