What Are the Different Types of Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are one of the most frequently abused legal drugs on the market today.  Most of us have heard the term “benzos” and tended to associate it with drug addicts.  However, there are some legal, beneficial aspects of the drug when used as prescribed.  Also, there are several different types of benzodiazepines that work in various ways.  Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly prescribed benzodiazepines.

All types of benzodiazepines are used mainly for treating anxiety; however, they are often used for other applications.  For instance, different types of benzodiazepines have been used with positive results for addressing the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures, convulsions
  • General anesthesia
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Sedation before surgery
  • Depression

Although the average person uses benzodiazepines with no significant problems, long-term use can result in withdrawal symptoms when the drug is suddenly discontinued.

Most Commonly Prescribed Types of Benzodiazepines

Some of the following benzodiazepines are well-known and widely used.  Unfortunately, there is a risk of increased tolerance and dependency after prolonged use.  The most frequently abused benzos are Xanax and Valium.  The most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines today are:

  • Xanax   (alprazolam) – antidepressant
  • Librium  (chlordiazepoxide) – anxiolytic
  • Klonopin  (clonazepam) – muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant
  • Valium  (diazepam) – anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant
  • Ativan  (lorazepam) – anxiolytic, amnesia, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, hypnotic,
  • Restoril  (temazepam) – hypnotic, anxiolytic, muscle relaxant
  • Versed  (midazolam) – hypnotic, anticonvulsant, amnesia

People who wish to enjoy euphoria often combine benzos with prescription opioids to enhance the effects.  This combination can result in dangerous consequences.

Dangers of Abusing Benzodiazepines

Many people use benzodiazepines with no problems. However, prolonged use can result in higher tolerance levels.  When tolerance increases, the user often takes more of the drug or combines it with other substances to get the desired results.   Some of the dangers of abusing benzodiazepines include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Severe weakness
  • Breathing problems
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Shakiness
  • Confusion
  • Slow heart rate
  • Coma

Additionally, benzodiazepine addiction and abuse can cause dementia which involves gradual memory loss, poor motor skills, and decreased cognitive skills.

Benzodiazepine abuse is the cause of hundreds of overdoses and visits to the ER each year.  In some cases, the patient is injected with flumazenil (Romazicon) to counteract the effects of the benzo.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

After long-term use or abuse of benzodiazepines, sudden discontinuance of the drug will result in several withdrawal symptoms.  Anyone who is considering getting off of whatever types of benzodiazepines should do so under the supervision of their physician or with the help of an addiction treatment facility.  Some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced by benzodiazepine users include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety, irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Poor coordination
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Seizures

Depending on the duration of use and the amount of dosage, benzodiazepine withdrawals can be life-threatening.  For this reason, it is highly recommended that professional detox or medical supervision be sought before attempting to discontinue these medications.

If you have a friend or loved one who is experiencing adverse side effects from benzodiazepine use or abuse, please contact us today.  We can help you determine the steps you need to take to overcome the powerful control of these addictive substances.