Dr Oz: Benzodiazepines Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease
Dr Oz shared that anti-anxiety medications as well as sleep medications have recently been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. In addition to deadly overdoses, Benzodiazepines have already gotten negative attention for potentially dangerous side effects like addiction, dizziness, confusion, and memory loss. Now, a groundbreaking study has linked Benzos with Alzheimer’s.
It was reported that people with Alzheimer’s were 50% more likely to have taken Benzodiazepines and the longer they took the drugs, the greater their risk. Currently, 50% of older people are taking the medications and Alzheimer’s rates are skyrocketing worldwide. So what role could the drugs be playing in our Alzheimer’s epidemic?
Dr Oz: Anti-Anxiety Medications Cause Memory Loss
Dr Oz shared the facts as we know them, sharing that there are over 100 million prescriptions written for anti-anxiety or sleep medications every year. The prescriptions are growing at an estimated rate of 12.5% every year and twice as many women as men take the pills.
Gayatri Devi, a director for the New York Memory Center and Healthy Aging Services, explained that the drugs they’re talking about include Valium, Xanax, and other drugs that we all know about. She said everyone in the field knows that the drugs suppress memory and cause memory dysfunction, and there have been other studies linking the drugs to Alzheimer’s in the past, but this is the first and largest study showing a vital link between Alzheimer’s and chronic use of benzodiazepines, meaning using the drug for more than three months.
Devi shared that younger people are more and more likely to use the drugs, and the younger you are when you use it, the more likely you are to develop dependence on it, meaning you’re more likely to use it when you’re older. The memory loss link can occur at any age.
Dr Oz: What Benzos Do To Your Brain
Devi further explained that the drugs depress the central nervous system, causing your brain to function a little slower. What they do is function as a Band-Aid, meaning they treat the symptoms of the anxiety rather than the anxiety itself.
Dr Oz showed a scan of what your brain looks like when you’re on no medications. He then showed a scan of a brain on Benzodiazepines, noting that a big portion of the brain has been numbed, especially a part that is responsible for memory. Devi said the drugs are meant to be used short-term and under close medical supervision. She said if you’re using it for a long period of time you could become dependent, which isn’t okay.
Dr Oz said he’s always been concerned about the drugs because of how hindering they can be when it comes to your everyday life.