Benzodiazepine Fact Sheet

Benzodiazepines are a class of minor tranquilizers used to provide sedation, muscle-relaxation and anti-anxiety effects. Also known as .benzos, or .benzies,, benzodiazepines are ingestible in pill form or injected. Benzodiazepines can be found in many prescription tranquilizer medications, including:

  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
  • Tranxene (clorazepate)
  • Paxipam (halazepam)
  • Centrax or Verstran (prazepam)
  • Klonopin/Clonopin (clonazepam)
  • Dalmane (flurazepam)
  • Serax (oxazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Restoril (temazepam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)

Effects of Benzodiazepines on the Human Body
Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs which target the emotional response system (limbic) of the brain, instead of affecting the entire central nervous system like other depressants such as alcohol. This targeting means benzodiazepines produce their desired effects with fewer side effects. This lack of side effects leads many users to believe that they are not dependent upon benzodiazepines.

Long Term Effects of Benzodiazepine Use
Because of their targeted nature, benzodiazepine medications have few long term effects other than physical and/or psychological addiction. Benzodiazepines typically become less effective after between 2 weeks and 4 months, depending upon their desired effect. As an individual continues to use benzodiazepines, increasing amounts must be taken to produce the same calming or sedating effects. Many users find themselves unable to sleep properly without benzodiazepine medication.

Benzodiazepine Rehab and Detox Considerations
Convincing the benzodiazepine addict to enter treatment is often very difficult. He or she most likely does not experience debilitating side effects and likely chalks up sleeplessness and/or anxiety to their own problems rather than benzodiazepine dependence. In many cases, users are able to hide their addiction even from loved ones. Detox may be required, as benzodiazepines can cause nausea, panic attacks, irritability, insomnia, and convulsions.