Benzodiazepines, also frequently referred to as benzos, are a class of drugs with sedating effects that can be prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders.
Benzos help patients by suppressing the central nervous system, but some people will take these drugs outside of their normal medicinal use. Instead, there are several commonly abused benzos taken for reasons not prescribed by a doctor.
Examples of Benzodiazepines that Are Abused Frequently
Because benzodiazepines can be addictive, some people who have prescribed these medications and misuse them could eventually become addicted. In other cases, people will abuse benzos to help with anxiety -- but without following a doctor’s recommendation, may also become addicted. Still, others may abuse these drugs simply for the euphoric and relaxing effects they provide. Some of the most commonly abuse benzos include:
Xanax is a common brand name for Alprazolam that is prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It is one of the most commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs in the United States.1 Unfortunately, this benzo is also commonly abused. Within minutes users will start to experience the relaxing effects of Xanax, but this does not come without a price. Those who stop taking this drug suddenly may experience withdrawal symptoms, and prolonged abuse may result in other problems like decreased coordination, memory problems, cognitive decline, and poor reaction time.2
Valium is the brand name for diazepam, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and epilepsy. The fast onset of Valium is what makes this drug troubling because it leads to a higher risk of abuse.3 Those who do become addicted should also go to a medical detox center to avoid more severe withdrawal symptoms from stopping suddenly and manage any that do arise.
Klonopin, also known by the drug name clonazepam, is a pill used to treat a panic disorder as well as some types of seizure disorders. While this medication is usually only prescribed for a short amount of time to decrease the risk of addiction, stopping suddenly without approval from a doctor could result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms including nausea, dizziness, rapid heart rate, and even seizure.4
Ativan or lorazepam is mostly used to treat seizure disorders. Like other commonly abused benzodiazepines, stopping the use of this medication suddenly can lead to uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous withdrawal symptoms.5
Unfortunately, while these drugs are prescribed by doctors, they are not safe when abused. Even taking these medications as recommended may still result in dependence. Those who neglect to get into a benzo detox and treatment program may experience several negative long-term effects. These issues can extend to various areas of their life.
At Banyan Delaware, our residential rehab in Milford helps people overcome addictions to both prescription and illicit drugs. Patients can regain control of their lives and start working toward a better future.
To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at 888-280-4763.
- Scientific American- 1 in 6 Americans Takes a Psychiatric Drug
- American Family Physician- Risks Associated with Long-Term Benzodiazepine Use
- NCBI- Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Diazepam (Valium)
- NAMI- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- WebMD- Ativan