Benzodiazepines: Abuse, Addiction Effects, and Treatment

Benzodiazepines, sometimes referred to as benzos, are prescription drugs that can lead to addiction. 

Prescription drugs, like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and more, are the most common substances abused by Americans who are 14 and older as prescription drugs can be easily shared between friends and family members.


Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat:

  • Chronic pain
  • Generalized anxiety disorders
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Panic disorders
  • Seizures
  • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

First discovered by Leo Sternbach in 1957, these substances have sedative, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, and muscle relaxant properties. Illicit use and popularity of benzodiazepines stem from accessibility.

Benzos are prescribed to patients by their physicians. However, many of these drugs can now easily be obtained, illegally, without a prescription. Some users may even visit multiple doctors so that the same prescription can be provided repeatedly. Many people unknowingly contribute to abuse by sharing their prescription drugs with the people around them. Because of their high risk of abuse, benzodiazepines are controlled with strict regulations regarding their production, distribution, and usage.

Benzodiazepines Use and Withdrawal

Repeated use of benzodiazepines can lead to:

  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations

In high doses, benzodiazepines can lead to coma or death when taken alongside other substances such as alcohol.

Many users prescribed benzos may not even know they are abusing the drug, which is why it is important to understand and speak with a doctor about the risks and symptoms of addiction.


Detox and behavioral therapy can help to begin the recovery process for benzodiazepine addiction. Contact Elan today if you or someone you know would like more information regarding our treatment services.