Benzodiazepine drugs are used to treat a variety of physical and psychological ailments in the United States. As central nervous system depressants, benzodiazepines are known for their muscle-relaxing and anxiety-relieving characteristics.
These medications have useful medical properties and are usually a fairly safe treatment for anxiety. However, the calming properties that make benzos such important medical tools also make them highly addictive and potentially dangerous in some cases.
Intentional abuse of prescription benzodiazepines is fairly uncommon in the general population. Some people combine the medication with alcohol, opioids or illicit drugs to increase its effects, but this can lead to dangerous or even fatal outcomes due to central nervous system depression. Benzo abuse on its own also heightens the risk of dangerous effects, including dependence, addiction and overdose. Additionally, people who misuse benzodiazepines also have a higher risk for developing cognitive problems over the long term.
Benzodiazepine overdose fatalities in Florida are a significant problem, with the most common culprit being alprazolam (Xanax).
Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed and abused drugs in Florida. Statistics about benzo use in the Sunshine State include:
Benzodiazepines are a class of medications that affect the central nervous system to ease the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions. Overall, benzodiazepines are similar in how they affect the brain. However, different types contain different potencies, durations of action and receptor site attractions. This explains why some benzodiazepines work better than others in treating particular conditions.
Commonly prescribed medications within the benzodiazepines drug category include Valium and Xanax, which are some of the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications in the United States. Physicians may prescribe a benzodiazepine for medical conditions like:
Some people take benzos without a prescription to experience sedating and calming effects, which is considered drug abuse. Benzodiazepines have also been used as date rape drugs. They have the ability to distinctly impair and even eliminate functions that would allow someone to resist sexual aggression or assault. The drug is usually added to alcohol-containing drinks in powder or liquid forms and can be hard to taste.
All benzodiazepines have certain characteristics in common; for example, they are all central nervous system depressants and Schedule IV controlled substances. However, each drug has certain factors that make it unique among other benzodiazepines.
|Route of administration|
Orally disintegrating tablets
|Peak effect||Within one to two hours||Within one to four hours||Within 1.5 hours||Within two hours||Several hours||Within 1.6 hours|
|Duration of action||Up to 11 hours||Up to 12 hours||Varies||Varies||Varies||Varies|
|Half-life||Up to 16 hours for long-acting tablets, up to 12.5 hours for other formulations||Up to 50 hours||Up to 50 hours||Up to 20 hours||Up to 30 hours||Up to eight hours|
Benzodiazepines are classified as Schedule IV controlled substances, meaning they carry the risk of abuse, dependence and addiction. Further, these drugs have been chronically abused for decades and cause thousands of drug overdoses each year.
At normal, prescribed doses, benzodiazepines relieve anxiety and sleep problems for people with diagnosed medical conditions. Benzos are usually well-tolerated medications with a few mild side effects, such as drowsiness or dizziness. These side effects may be much more pronounced with increased doses.
Signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse may include the following:
Signs of chronic drug abuse can be seen through changes in appearance and behavior that disrupt relationships and work performance. These can include:
At the Orlando Recovery Center, benzo addiction treatment typically begins with a medical detox that helps wean clients off the drug in a supervised environment. This is followed by rehabilitation, which provides a full continuum of care ranging from inpatient treatment to long-term aftercare.
If you or someone you love needs treatment for a benzodiazepine addiction, the Orlando Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable admissions representative and learn more about programs that can work well for you.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.