Benzodiazepine Addiction and Abuse

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed tranquilizers used for the treatment of anxiety, panic attacks, muscle spasms and seizures.

Understanding Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are a class of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for a wide spectrum of mental disorders and ailments. Benzodiazepines are often used to treat moderate to severe anxiety, panic attacks, epileptic seizures, and withdrawal symptoms from central nervous system depressants such as alcohol.

Benzodiazepines are prescribed in pill or tablet form. They can also be consumed orally. Some benzodiazepines, like Valium, can be administered as a clear, odorless liquid through an IV drip.

When prescribed by a physician, benzodiazepines are legal. However, benzodiazepines have become readily available on the black market. Street names for the drug are tranks, downers, and benzos.

Benzodiazepines are labeled as a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that they are highly regulated by the U.S. government.

Some common benzodiazepines include:

Despite the medical usage and federal regulation of the drug, benzodiazepines can be dangerous and highly addictive. If you or someone you know is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, get help today.

Benzodiazepines Effects and Abuse

Benzodiazepines bind with special neurons called GABA receptors in a process that slows overactive brain function and relieves severe mental stress. Individuals who abuse benzodiazepines can experience a euphoric high or alcohol-like “buzz.” After the initial high, there is a prolonged sedation.

Any use of benzodiazepines outside of a doctor’s recommendation signifies abuse. In order to increase the effects of the benzodiazepine, many users crush and snort the tablets or pills. This amplifies the potency of the drug and produces the euphoric high quicker. Because of this, there is a strong likelihood of overdose, seizures, or coma.

Benzodiazepine overdose can slow breathing and heart

rates until they stop completely, resulting in death.

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Addiction to Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines can change the brain’s neurochemistry. The drug builds up in the user’s body over time. The user can then develop mental and physical dependencies.

Because of the increased prescribing of benzodiazepines for anxiety, the medication has become readily available. This means that people of every demographic and lifestyle is exposed to the medication. An addiction can develop even when taken as prescribed.

Since benzodiazepines are a prescription medication, many people do not understand or are aware of the addictive potential to the drug. One sign that is often overlooked is the development of a tolerance for the drug’s sedative effects. Individuals abusing benzodiazepines will generally dismiss important people or activities in their lives in order to be able to use the drug. Learn the criteria for recognizing an addiction today.

Benzodiazepines and Other Drugs

To achieve a more euphoric high or buzz, some benzodiazepine addicts will mix the drug with other substances such as alcohol or opiate drugs. The mixing of benzodiazepines with other central nervous system depressants is extremely dangerous because it increases the odds of a fatal overdose.


One study reported that nearly 95 percent of hospital admissions for benzodiazepine overdose claimed abuse of at least one other substance.

Sleeping Pill Abuse Statistics

50 million

Every year doctors write more than 50 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines, according to AAFP.


According to the American Psychiatric Association, 11% to 15% of Americans have benzodiazepines in their medicine cabinet,.

38+ thousand

According to the CDC, nearly 38,329 deaths were drug overdoses in the U.S. Nearly 60% were caused by prescription drugs.

Treating a Benzodiazepine Addiction

You don’t have to go through the recovery process alone. There are compassionate specialists who can help you with the struggles you face each day. Treatment options across the country are available for benzodiazepine abuse and addiction. Call now to learn more.