Facts About Benzodiazepines

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to benzodiazepines, it’s helpful to learn the facts about benzodiazepines. Doing so can help you better understand short- and long-term effects and explore addiction treatment options.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are depressant drugs commonly used for general anesthesia and prescribed for medical conditions such as anxiety and sleep disorders, among others. The function of the substance is to slow down messages between the brain and the nervous system. It can also deliver a mild tranquilizing effect.

Like many other substances, benzodiazepines have the potential for misuse, addiction, and dependency. Some people use the drug on its own, while others take it after using stimulants to come down from a high. Addiction poses significant risks to your physical, mental, and social well-being and can lead to overdose and death.

This class of drug is also referred to as benzos, downers, tranx, and sleepers. Learn the facts about benzodiazepines, review frequently asked questions about the drug, and get more information about treatment that can help you or someone you love overcome addiction. 

Quick Facts About Benzodiazepines

  • Benzodiazepines are controlled substances used for anesthesia and to treat certain medical conditions, such as insomnia and anxiety disorders. 
  • Because of their addictive nature, health professionals don’t prescribe benzodiazepines as often as other drugs for anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions.
  • Benzodiazepines can be habit-forming and have a potential for misuse.
  • Taking Benzodiazepines with certain opioid medications, drugs, or alcohol can cause dangerous and deadly interactions.
  • In 2021, almost 14% of opioid-related overdoses in the US involved benzodiazepines. 


Commonly Asked Questions

Get answers to frequently asked questions about benzodiazepine use and addiction.

What Are the Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal?

If you suspect you or a loved one has overdosed on benzodiazepines, call 9-1-1 immediately. An overdose is a medical emergency that can result in death. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Extreme drowsiness, loss of consciousness, or coma
  • Confusion
  • Decreased reflexes and coordination
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mood swings and aggression
  • Death 


What are benzodiazepines used for? 

Benzodiazepines are used to treat many conditions, including sleep and anxiety disorders. This drug class also has a use in anesthesia, helping to put patients to sleep for surgical procedures.

Barbiturates vs. Benzodiazepines: What’s the Difference?

While both drugs depress the central nervous systems, barbiturates and benzodiazepines work much differently. Barbiturates slow down brain and nerve activity by binding to specific receptors within the brain. On the other hand, benzodiazepines increase the effects of your brain’s neurotransmitters called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 

Are Benzodiazepines Addictive?

Yes, benzodiazepines can be habit-forming and lead to addiction and dependency. 

What Is the Classification of Benzodiazepines?

Under the Controlled Substance Act, benzodiazepines are a Schedule IV controlled substance. 

How Do You Pronounce Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepine is pronounced ben-zo-di-azepine.

The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Benzodiazepines

Understanding the effects of this substance can help you better understand why people use and misuse it.

Short-Term Effects Long-Term Effects
Reduced stress and anxiety Depression or anxiety
Calmness Irritability, aggression, or paranoia
Drowsiness or fatigue Weakness or lethargy
Impaired thinking or memory loss Fatigue
Euphoria Difficulty sleeping
Dry mouth Weight gain
Confusion Addiction or dependency
Memory loss Nausea
Impaired thinking Personality changes
Impaired coordination
Loss of appetite or nausea

Addiction and Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, Buena Vista Recovery can help. When you contact Buena Vista, you can talk to a caring professional to get the facts about benzodiazepines and explore addiction treatment options.

Overcoming benzodiazepine addiction requires comprehensive treatment and support. Fortunately, we offer specialized, patient-centric treatment programs that address addiction and its underlying causes.

Reach out to Buena Vista today to get on the road to recovery and break free from benzodiazepine addiction. 

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