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Benzodiazepines

Sounds Like: ben.zo.die.aza.peen

Classification: benzodiazepine

Controlled Substance Act Schedule: IV

Other names for Benzodiazepines

  • Benzos
  • Downers

Benzodiazepines Addiction

Benzodiazepine drugs are part of a drug class that consists of a variety of anxiolytic substances, including Xanax, Valium, Librium, and more. Benzodiazepines are relaxants in humans that can help treat anxiety and depression in a variety of ways. This class of drugs was properly synthesized in the early part of the 1900s and then further refined in labs until modern benzodiazepine drugs were developed enough to hit the market in the 1950s. This class of drugs was effectively the first class that contained drugs used as pharmaceutical interventions in treating anxiety disorders in therapeutic patients.

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Intended Use of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine drugs are primarily intended for treating anxiety disorders, both short-term and long-term.

How Benzodiazepines Is Taken

There are a wide variety of benzodiazepine drugs on the market with a wide range of ways to take the drugs. Some benzo drugs are taken in pill form or injected, depending on the desired effect or what’s prescribed by a doctor. Different forms require different methods of administration to patients.

Side Effects of
Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine drugs can cause cognitive issues in those prescribed them, particularly in the formation of short-term memories. Stopping medium-to-high-dose prescriptions or non-medical use of a benzodiazepine can have severe consequences in the form of lowered seizure thresholds; this can be fatal. Drug tolerance in benzos can be common, meaning the drugs can lose their effects in users. Other side effects of taking benzodiazepines include:

  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • slurred speech
  • hypnosis
  • paradoxical aggitation

Signs of an
Addiction to Benzodiazepines

Up to 10% of the adult population prescribed benzodiazepine drugs become dependent, with 34% of those suffering from a ciomrbid depressive disorder showing dependency. Some of those who abuse opioid drugs may use benzodiazepines non-medically to treat opioid withdrawal or intensify the analgesic effects of methadone. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can result in some of the following effects:

insomnia

anxiety

seizures

cravings

psychosis

prioritizing use of drugs over spending time with family or friends

criminal behavior in order to obtain drugs

Benzodiazepines
Abuse Facts

According to the CDC, an increasing number of overdose deaths involve benzodiazepine drugs. In 2016, over 10,000 people had a benzodiazepine-involved overdose, up from around 2,000 in 2002.

In 2008, Heath Ledger overdosed on a fatal mix of opioids, benzos, and doxylamine.

Lena Dunham, star of the popular TV series Girls, has previously shared that she was dependent on benzodiazepine drugs for about three years at one point in her career.