Benzo Side Effects from Use and Abuse

Benzo Side Effects from Use and Abuse

People take medications for many different reasons. Even if these pills are prescribed by a doctor, they are not always completely harmless. Benzos, for instance, can be used for various reasons, but they can still come with side effects. 

What Are Benzos?

Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are a class of drugs known as tranquilizers that depress the central nervous system. They are prescribed by doctors to treat insomnia, anxiety disorders, and even seizures because of their sedative effects. Some common benzodiazepines are alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), and triazolam (Halcion).

Benzodiazepine Side Effects

Like many medications, benzodiazepines can come with side effects. The severity and presentation of these effects will depend on the drug, the condition being treated, their use, and the person’s medical health.

Although these can vary, some possible and more common benzo side effects include:

  • Lethargy
  • Decreased coordination or motor control
  • Weakened muscles
  • Slowed breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Mental confusion

If you are taking benzos as directed and are experiencing any of these issues, talk to your doctor immediately.

Side Effects of Benzo Abuse

While benzodiazepine side effects can occur for people taking their prescriptions as advised, not everyone taking these drugs is so careful. Some people may take more of these medications than directed. Other people may not have a prescription but take these drugs for their sedative effects. Because benzodiazepines can be addictive, with continued abuse, some people develop a dependence on them. Without benzo addiction treatment, there will likely be more severe benzo side effects.

The long-term effects of benzo abuse may include:

  • Higher risk of motor vehicle accidents
  • Increased risk of fractures
  • Memory problems
  • Decreased visuospatial ability
  • Poor mental processing speed
  • Lowered ability for verbal leaning
  • Increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease 1,2,3,4

Luckily, some of these benzodiazepine effects can be reduced with treatment. A drug detox can help someone quit their addiction to these medications and reverse some of these side effects. While some of the damage can be undone, a person’s cognitive functioning may never fully return back to pre-benzo levels.1 Because of this limitation, it is important to get help sooner rather than later to avoid the most damage or a serious injury that is a result of the effects.  If you or a loved one has a substance abuse problem, our Palm Springs drug rehab wants to help. At Banyan Treatment Centers Palm Springs, we work with people with addiction problems on stopping their abuse and getting their lives on a better path.

At Banyan Palm Springs, we want to help. Call today at 888-280-4763 to get started.


  1. NCBI – The effects of benzodiazepines on cognition
  2. Harvard Health Publishing – Benzodiazepine use may raise risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  3. NCBI – Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents
  4. NCBI – Risk of fractures requiring hospitalization after an initial prescription for zolpidem, alprazolam, lorazepam, or diazepam in older adults.

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.