Benzodiazepines, or “benzos” as they are sometimes referred to, are a class of drugs that effectively treat anxiety, panic disorder, and certain types of seizure disorders. While benzodiazepines were originally developed in order to help people with real mental health or physical health concerns, people who abuse these drugs aren’t doing so in order to make their lives better. Instead, they’re driven to use these drugs because of chemical changes deep inside the brain.
Common Benzodiazepine List:
Xanax (alprazolam): This drug, used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, comes in a variety of different strengths. One formulation is of deep concern, as it’s made to release benzodiazepine effects over an extended period of time. Users who crush these pills can get all of the Xanax power at once. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) says, too, that Xanax works immediately, delivering big changes all at once. That makes Xanax more dangerous than other benzos on the market.
Klonopin (clonazepam): Seizure disorders and panic disorders are often treated with Klonopin. Pills come in 1 mg or 2 mg strengths. Some are made to dissolve or disintegrate in the mouth. EMCDDA says Klonopin is an intermediate-acting benzo.
Valium (diazepam): Anxiety disorders, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can all be treated with Valium. Valium is one of the oldest benzos on the market today. This drug, which has many generic formulations, comes in a number of different strengths, including some that release their power over an extended period of time. There is good news, as EMCDDA says Valium takes a long time to hit the body. That means this drug doesn’t provide an immediate high. It tends to come on slower, and it’s a little less rewarding as a result.
Ativan (lorazepam): This drug is designed to assist people with panic disorders. It comes in pill formats, but it can also be sold in a liquid format that can be popped into veins with a needle. EMCDDA says this particular drug has a short-to-intermediate onset, which means it could deliver a big and rewarding drug rush to some users.
Ambien (zolpidem): This hypnotic drug is made to assist people who can’t sleep through the night. The sedating impact of the drug allows people to fall asleep, while other ingredients help people to forget what happens while they’re asleep. This drug has a fast onset, but it isn’t always a target of abuse, as some people grow so sleepy on this drug that they can’t stay awake long enough to take another hit.
How Does It Affect Your System?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that benzos cause a minor shift in the chemical signals the brain uses to communicate a pleasurable event. When that shift takes hold, people feel a boost of sensation that is associated with reward, joy, and security. They may not be able to name the change, but the brain marks that change. When it comes to addictions, benzodiazepines are dangerous because they cause persistent brain chemical changes.
These medications are central nervous system depressants, or CNS depressants, and work by increasing inhibitory nerve cell signaling in the brain to help manage certain conditions.
What Are The Symptoms & Risk
About one-third of individuals who take benzos for six months or more will experience health problems, including seizures, when they try to quit. Other symptoms include:
Sedation, dizziness, weakness, and unsteadiness
Depression, insomnia, confusion, irritability, delusions
Loss of orientation, paranoia, and aggressive behavior
Memory Impairment "blacking out" and hallucinations
Higher risk of Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
Increased tolerance and physical/psychological dependence
Seizures, fatal withdrawals ,and fatal overdose
Detoxing Symptoms (Withdrawl)
When used as prescribed under the care of a physician, benzos can help many people manage anxiety, panic, and certain other conditions. However, if someone misuses benzodiazepines to experience their euphoric effects, their risk of developing a dependence on these drugs escalates.