Study Highlights a Deadly Result of Benzo Abuse

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

There’s no doubt that prescription drugs affect the way users think and feel. Whether it’s an anti-depression medication to help improve mood, an anti-anxiety pill to calm nerves or a painkiller to ease chronic pain, these drugs have an enormous impact on our bodies and, therefore, our decision making.

Not all of the effects are positive, though.

Benzo Abuse and Homicide?

dead body under sheet with hand sticking outA new study out of Finland reveals that people who abuse benzodiazepines – a specific class of tranquilizers – have an increased risk of committing homicide when compared to those who don’t use them.

Researchers collected data from 960 men and women between the ages of 13 to 88, all of whom were convicted of homicide. Each of the convicted study participants were compared to 10 peers of the same gender, age and hometown – none of which had a criminal background.

Interesting findings included:

  • The abuse of benzodiazepines resulted in a 45 percent increase risk of committing homicide.
  • Those who used antidepressants had a 31 percent increased risk of committing homicide.

The scientists were clear to note that they were only making a correlation, not suggesting a cause-and-effect relationship between these medications and homicidal behavior. However, they do point out that the homicidal increase likely comes from a weakening of impulse control caused by the abuse of benzodiazepines.

Acknowledging the Societal Impact of Benzo Abuse

While this research is certainly concerning, Dr. Jari Tiihonen, a professor of psychiatry at the Karolinsksa Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, says we shouldn’t expect to see a sea of benzo-dependent users committing mass murder.

Though the odds of a loved one committing murder as a result of abusing benzodiazepines are low, it’s important to acknowledge the impact these medications can have on our bodies. In addition to the side effects from normal use – like headaches or muscle weakness – abusing benzos can quickly lead to a very real physical and psychological dependency.

If you need help kicking a benzodiazepine dependency, reach out to an inpatient rehab center that specializes in the treatment of this addiction. They’ll help you put together a customized recovery plan for lasting sobriety.

Additional Reading: Meet the New Benzo Causing Deadly Consequences

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