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Benzodiazepines Addiction Resources

What are they?

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs prescribed by doctors to treat many conditions, like anxiety and seizures. Common benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax®), clonazepam (Clonipin®), and diazepam (Valium®).

Benzodiazepines are fast-acting and addictive just like opioids. A user can develop a tolerance or dependence upon, benzodiazepines quickly.

Side effects include drowsiness, confusion, and depressed feelings.

Signs someone is misusing:

Changes in mood and behavior can be an indicator of substance use. Speech may be slurred, coordination may be impaired, disoriented, and a person may also seem tired and lethargic.

How they're taken:

Prescription benzodiazepines are most often taken in pill form. When prescribed by a doctor, they can be used properly. 

Prescription benzodiazepines can also be misused. For example, if taken at higher doses, taken more often than prescribed, or if taken without a prescription.​1

What they do:

Benzodiazepines strengthen the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter calms neurons that are associated with stress. Using benzodiazepines enhances GABA's effectiveness, which helps an overly excited brain to become more tranquil and calm.​2

Benzodiazepines are fast-acting and addictive just like opioids. A user can develop a tolerance or dependence upon, benzodiazepines quickly.

  1. “Well-Known Mechanism Underlies Benzodiazepines' Addictive Properties.” NIDA Notes, 19 April 2012.

  2. NIDA for Teens. Prescription Depressant Medications.

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