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Benzodiazepines are classified as tranquilizers and include some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the country, including Xanax, Ativan, and Valium. There are more than 2,000 known types of benzodiazepines, but the FDA approves of just 15. Benzos are used as surgical anesthetic and may also be used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal. They may even be used for controlling seizures and as muscle relaxers.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that there were an estimated 943,000 emergency room visits involving benzos between 2005 and 2011. These cases include cases of benzos used alone and benzos combined with other drugs.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Benzo Use

Benzodiazepines are all designed to provide intense physical relaxation, calm, and euphoria. While this makes for an effective treatment for anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks, abusing benzos can easily lead to addiction. Some common side effects of benzo use include:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Depression

Complications of Benzo Abuse

Thanks to their high potency and attainability, addiction to benzodiazepines is a huge problem. Addiction has a significant effect on your health and wellbeing. It can change your character and make you behave recklessly or push away the people you love. Worst of all, it takes control of your life and prevents you from truly living it to the fullest.

Some common health complications associated with benzo addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Structural brain damage
  • Seizures

Dangers of Benzo Use

Abusing benzodiazepines comes with a variety of dangers. It is becoming more popular as a date rape drug. While death and serious illness are rare, when paired with other drugs, benzos can lead to excessive sedation and other serious problems, including:

  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Drowsiness leading to coma
  • Reduced heartbeat
  • Respiratory arrest

Symptoms of Benzos Addiction

Consistently taking benzodiazepines or increasing dosage leads to a flood of dopamine GABA receptors, which leads to feelings of calm and euphoria. The brain will adapt by producing less of these natural chemicals, but that forces the user to take more benzos in order to maintain equilibrium. Dopamine is also involved in the body’s sense of reward. The user will constantly want benzodiazepines to consistently feel rewarded.

Some common symptoms of addiction to benzodiazepines include:

  • Extending their use beyond the prescribed length
  • Taking doses that are larger than what the doctor prescribed
  • Using benzos with alcohol or other drugs
  • Withdrawals when not using benzos


  • Rebound insomnia and anxiety within a few days of discontinuation
  • Irritability
  • Problems sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Panic attacks and anxiety
  • Pain and tension in the muscles

Medical Intervention for Benzos Addiction

Medication plays a crucial role in detox. Along with correcting any chemical imbalances, medication can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and curb intense cravings to give you the upper hand in your fight for sobriety.

Some common medications prescribed for benzodiazepine abuse include:

  • Propranolol
  • Buspirone
  • Carbamazepine

Benzos Detox Process

Detox is a vital first step to recovery. The main goal of detox is to rid your body of harmful chemicals and toxins that have developed from your drug abuse. This is often achieved through discontinued or tapered use, administration of medication, and therapy.

Inpatient care is the best option for those seeking detox care. Inpatient care puts you directly in the hands of medical professionals. This not only puts you in a safe, supportive environment, but also gives you easy access to a medical staff. Whether you need counseling for emotional support or scheduled medication, you can count on inpatient care staff to help you throughout your detox treatment.

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