Mixing Benzodiazepines and Amphetamines
Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. They work by enhancing the GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, which suppress the activity of the nerves. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive central nervous system depressants that produce a calming effect when taken.
Amphetamines are highly addictive, central nervous system stimulants used to treat ADD, ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity; they are considered “uppers”. Amphetamines affect two neurotransmitters in the brain, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When taken, amphetamines cause the brain to flood with these two neurotransmitters which produce feelings of extreme euphoria.
Why Do People Mix Benzodiazepines and Amphetamines?
People often mix benzos and amphetamines to counteract the effects of one drug or the other. Someone takes a benzodiazepine and feels too down, so they will take an amphetamine to bring them up. On the other hand, an individual may take amphetamine and feel too up, so they will take a depressant or benzodiazepine to bring them down.
Another big reason someone would mix benzodiazepines and amphetamines is to experience a “speedball”. A “speedball” is the act of taking two drugs simultaneously, in particular an upper or stimulant and a depressant or downer. The stimulant gives a quick boost in mood along with an intense euphoria, followed by the calming effects of the depressant. The most common substances used for speedballing are heroin and cocaine, but mixing benzodiazepines and amphetamines can also create a “speedball” effect.
Mixing any drugs or substances is dangerous, especially illicit substances because you don’t know what you are taking. The likelihood of an overdose or overdose fatality when mixing drugs is very high.
Dangers of Mixing Benzodiazepines and Amphetamines
Mixing benzodiazepines and amphetamines is a very dangerous and often deadly combination! Taking amphetamines overshadows the effects of benzodiazepines, so an individual may not feel the effects of the benzo and therefore will take more.
Benzos depress the central nervous system while amphetamines stimulate it, so stimulants speed up the heart while benzodiazepines slow it down. This is both hard on the heart and sends mixed signals to it. Mixing these two drugs may result in dysthymias or heart failure; it can also shut down essential body functions such as breathing, resulting in death.
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