People easily become addicted to benzos, thinking that because they are legal pharmaceuticals, they are safer than other illegal drugs, but that rationale is simply not true.

Benzodiazepines (often referred to as benzos) are prescription sedatives. These central nervous system depressants are just as dangerous and addictive as illicit street drugs.

Benzo abuse occurs when the prescription drug is taken (outside or beyond a physician’s advice) for the recreational purpose of achieving a “high.” When the effects associated with obtaining the “high” begin to interfere with critical areas of a person’s life, substance abuse is apparent. Although benzos are usually taken orally, they can also be snorted or injected for a quicker and more intense “high”. Recreational use of benzos produce an effect similar to alcohol intoxication. The most common benzos people misuse are xanax, valium, klonopin and ativan.

Signs of benzo addiction may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Tolerance to the medication
  • The amount taken exceeds that which is prescribed
  • The drug is used for longer than prescribed
  • A lot of time is spent getting, using or recovering from the drug
  • Disinterest in normal activities in which the individual usually participates
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Poor judgment and decision-making
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty breathing

Complications of abusing benzos can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Blackout
  • Paranoia
  • Violence
  • Criminal behavior
  • Addiction
  • Withdrawal seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Diseases from sharing needles
  • Worsening depression and anxiety with long-term use
  • May even cause dementia with long-term use as well as memory impairment
  • Overdose
  • Death

Withdrawal from benzos is severe and harmful to your health. To avoid the severe withdrawal symptoms associated with benzo dependency, the person should not stop taking the drug suddenly. The process of detoxing from benzos is gradual and needs to be supervised by medical professionals.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with benzo misuse are:

  • Depression
  • Shaking
  • Feeling unreal
  • Appetite loss
  • Muscle twitching
  • Memory loss
  • Motor impairment
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pains
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Light sensitivity
  • Peculiar taste
  • Pins and needles
  • Touch sensitivity
  • Sore eyes
  • Hallucinations
  • Smell sensitivity
  • Seizures

Commonly Asked Questions about Benzodiazepines: