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Benzodiazepine Addiction Symptoms, Signs & Side Effects

Last Updated: January 17, 2023

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Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly prescribed class of drugs in Ohio and all over the country. Though they do have some medical benefits as they are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, they are also one of the most abused prescription medications in the country. Whether you live in CincinnatiCleveland, Columbus or anywhere else in Ohio, you likely have experience with benzodiazepines, whether you personally have taken them or someone you know has taken them.

Benzodiazepines – commonly referred to as benzos – produce a calming, sedating effect. In the United States, there are more than a dozen benzodiazepines that are prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. Also, they can be prescribed for seizures.

It is important to know the side effects of benzodiazepines as well as the signs of potential benzodiazepine abuse. If you think someone you love may be abusing benzodiazepines, it is important to know what to look out for.

Benzodiazepine Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects with benzodiazepines are coordination problems, drowsiness and sometimes even irritability or hostility. Other side effects can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Loss of orientation
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Sleep problems
  • Memory problems
  • Aggression or excitement

One of the most troubling side effects of benzodiazepine use, however, is addiction.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction

While benzodiazepines are often prescribed for legitimate reasons, there is the potential for abuse and addiction with medications such as these. Some of the most common benzodiazepines that are abused are Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Ativan.

Benzo abuse may occur in different ways. For example, a patient may take more than his or her doctor prescribes, taking it more frequently and/or in a larger dose. Benzodiazepines may also be used recreationally, and sometimes they are even mixed with other substances like opioids or alcohol, which can have deadly consequences. Another sign of benzodiazepine abuse is crushing them up to snort them.

Other signs of benzodiazepine abuse may include doctor shopping or pharmacy shopping to get more than one prescription, faking symptoms in order to get a prescription and taking the medication without a prescription at all. If you suspect someone you love may be addicted to benzodiazepines, you may also want to watch out for different sorts of behaviors such as lying, stealing and hiding their drug use.

Benzodiazepine abuse and benzodiazepine addiction are not the same thing. Not everyone who abuses benzodiazepines is addicted to the drug. However, addiction is much more likely to occur the longer you abuse the medication.

When you become addicted to benzodiazepines, your brain has changed, and it now needs the medication to feel normal. When someone is addicted to benzos, they may try to stop taking them but not be able to or they may keep taking them in spite of negative consequences.

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Benzodiazepine Toxicity Symptoms

In Ohio as well as the whole country, the prescription of benzodiazepines is incredibly common. Because of this, many people think that these drugs cannot be harmful. This, however, is not the case. Benzodiazepine toxicity symptoms do happen, and they can lead to fatal outcomes.

Benzodiazepine toxicity symptoms are most typical when the medication is taken with another substance like alcohol or opiates.

Benzodiazepine Overdose Signs and Symptoms

Due to the fact that benzodiazepines are so common, it is smart to know what the signs and symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose are. Some of these signs may include:

  • Bluish tint to fingernails or lips
  • Extreme dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Stupor
  • Muscle spasms
  • Out-of-control movements
  • Vision problems
  • Extreme confusion and disorientation
  • Problems breathing
  • Coma

People who take benzodiazepines more frequently than they should, mix the drug with other substances or take the drug in large doses are more likely to experience benzodiazepine overdose symptoms. These symptoms are also much more common when the drug is crushed up and injected.

The Recovery Village Columbus offers inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for the treatment of benzodiazepine addiction. Also, at our facility, we offer medically-supervised detox to ensure that you get off the medication in a safe manner. Call us today.


Whether you are seeking more information about addiction treatment options or need help finding resources near you, our recovery advocates are standing by to help.