Before taking any benzodiazepine, individuals prone to chemical dependency should do their research. Many recovered alcoholics who start using benzodiazepines end up relapsing on alcohol. In part, the reason for this is benzodiazepines and alcohol both stimulate some of the same neurotransmitters.
Benzodiazepines activate GABA, the relaxing neurotransmitters in the brain that slow down neuronal activity. By activating GABA, benzodiazepines work to counter anxiety and help a person feel calm. The problem is, benzodiazepines, although first causing GABA to rise, then cause GABA to drop. Recovered alcoholics recognize this feeling because alcohol has the same effect on these GABA levels. Hence a neurochemical imbalance is created. Neurochemical imbalances like these are the root cause of all cravings for drugs.
Dropped GABA levels is a common trigger for recovered alcoholics to grab another drink.
Furthermore, it works both ways. People who have overcome addiction to benzodiazepines in the past, can relapse on benzodiazepines after drinking alcohol because of the subsequent drop in GABA that alcohol causes.
Learn more about the scientific causes behind cravings and relapse and how to avoid relapse in the book, Brain in Balance: Understanding the Genetics and Neurochemistry behind Addiction and Sobriety. Or check out this free video.