World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day Date in the current year: July 11, 2024

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD) is observed annually on July 11. The observance was created to raise awareness about the dangers of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence, which can lead to various horrible consequences including overdose.

Benzodiazepines, sometimes casually called benzos, are a class of psychoactive drugs that lower brain activity. They are prescribed to patients suffering from insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, panic disorder, and alcohol withdrawal. Common benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and midazolam (Versed).

Benzodiazepines are generally considered safe for short-term use between two and four weeks. Long-term use of benzodiazepines, however, is not recommended because these drugs are highly addictive and can cause physical dependence. A number of patients find it hard to cope without benzodiazepines and become dependent on therapeutic doses without escalating their dosage.

High doses of benzodiazepines can lead to overdose and coma. Overdose rarely results in death when a benzodiazepine is the only drug taken, but a combination of benzodiazepines and other depressants (for example, opioids, barbiturates or alcohol) significantly increases the risk of fatal overdose. According to 2013 statistics, benzodiazepines were involved in almost a third of all deaths from prescription drug overdose in the US.

The most important thing one must know about fighting benzodiazepine addiction is that you must never ever go cold turkey. Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome resembles acute alcohol withdrawal and can be accompanied by severe symptoms such as tremors and seizures, hallucinations, psychosis, and increased risk of suicide. In many patients, the symptoms wax and wane and can last for weeks, months, and even years.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day was inaugurated by benzodiazepine survivors turned activists in 2016. They chose the date of July 11 to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Heather Ashton, a British physician and psychopharmacologist who is best known for her work on benzodiazepine dependence. Her manual for those who are trying to stop taking benzodiazepine has been translated into multiple languages and is widely used all over the world.

W-BAD events are held worldwide by various organizations and activists. Their main goal is to raise awareness about medically induced benzodiazepine dependence that affects millions of people — victims of benzodiazepine, their families, friends and caregivers.

How to participate in World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day? If you’re a benzodiazepine survivor, share your story with others to encourage them to quit taking benzodiazepine and educate them on how to do in the right way to prevent withdrawal. You can also host or participate in a W-BAD fundraiser, donate to a patient support organization, and raise awareness on social media with the hashtags #WorldBenzodiazepineAwarenessDay and #WorldBenzoDay.

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