Benzodiazepines / Anti-Anxiety Medications

Benzodiazepine medications are prescribed primarily for anxiety/panic attacks. They work in the central nervous system to give a calming effect on the central nervous system hence their use not just to calm a panic attack and help with sleep but to also acutely stop seizures (the uncontrolled firing of nerve cells in the central nervous system). Examples include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)

Sedation & Other Effects

Their abuse will cause marked sedation and this is potentiated with the use of other sedatives such as alcohol or opioids. It is this affect that makes benzodiazepines as well as other "date-rape" drugs possible.

Muscles relaxants are listed in the same category of Sedative/Hypnotics and one in particular has developed a large following on the street, carisoprodol (Soma). This medication breaks down into meprobamate in the body. This was a benzodiazepine developed in the 1950s called Miltown and subsequently removed from the market. It is also known as "Soma-Coma" and when taken with Xanax and Vicodin it is called "The Holy Trinity" and will give a heroin-like high.

Signs of abuse can be similar to that of opioid, marked sedation in addition to the aforementioned symptoms. Abuse can result in marked slowing of the heart rate and/or marked respiratory depression which may result in death.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Signs of withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Chills/cold sweats
  • Extremely long withdrawal compared to other drugs of abuse (as much as 2 to 4 months)
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Seizures (may be fatal)
  • Tremors