Benzodiazepines-Short Paper

Benzodiazepines -a very short condensed paper by Aidan O’Connell

Today, I’m just looking at the main meds, addiction and withdrawal. This is a very short paper and doesn’t intend to advise anyone. Talk to your Doctor

Alprazolam (Xanax)

The National Library of Medicine describes Xanax as a short-acting benzo that is mostly used to treat short-term or intermittent anxiety or panic disorders. It is often also prescribed to help with anxiety that occurs with mood disorders such as depression. This medication has a high affinity for gamma 2 subtype receptors, and it is considered to be highly addictive.

Diazepam (Valium)

Valium is a common benzo that has become familiar in popular culture through movies and television. According to a fact sheet from the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration, this long-acting medication is used to treat anxiety and provide sedation, as well as to help manage some disorders related to muscle spasms or seizures. In addition, diazepam may be used to help treat withdrawal from alcohol in people struggling with alcoholism.

Lorazepam (Ativan)

Ativan is a short- to middle-term benzo, like Xanax. It is also used to treat anxiety issues but can also be applied to insomnia, seizure disorders including severe seizures, or mania. Sometimes lorazepam is provided before surgery as a sedative, according to Healthline. Lorazepam has a high gamma 2 receptor affinity, and it is considered to be highly addictive

Clonazepam (Klonopin)

The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders indicates that Klonopin is more sedating than Xanax, making it a potent treatment for more severe anxiety disorders, panic disorder, and PTSD. It is often also used to treat epilepsy, social phobias, and mania.On the other hand, clonazepam has been shown to trigger depression in some people when using it, and it puts people who take it at a higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts or attempts.


Aren’t benzodiazepines addictive?
Yes. Around 4 in every 10 people who take them every day for more than 6 weeks will become addicted. The signs are that you:
* feel bad if you don’t take them
* find you have to take more and more to get the same effect
* crave them
* get withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop. You:
* can’t sleep
* feel tense and agitated
* feel dizzy
* can get odd metallic tastes in your mouth, odd feelings like electric shocks in your arms and legs
* have blurred vision, sensitivity to light.


Managing withdrawal

If you have taken a benzodiazepine every day for more than 3 weeks or so, you should not stop them suddenly. It’s safest to stop them gradually, by reducing the daily dose every 2 – 4 weeks, by 1/8 or a 1/4. of the original dose – although some people find they need to do it in smaller steps. 

It is better to reduce too slowly rather than too quickly, even if this takes months or years.

Some benzodiazepines are harder to come off than others – such as the shorter-acting ones like Lorazepam. If you are finding it hard to stop one of these, your doctor can change it to Diazepam which can be easier to withdraw from.
Do speak to your doctor though. I’m not a clinician.