Of all the most commonly abused substances, benzodiazepines are perhaps the most difficult to stop using. Benzodiazepine belongs to a class of drugs called anxiolytics, used in the treatment of anxiety or insomnia. Some common benzodiazepines are Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. Users experience a reduction in stress, euphoria, drowsiness, lack of coordination and dissociation.
Benzodiazepines are successfully used often in medicine as anticonvulsants, short term anti-anxiety medication, and even in the detox process for alcohol.
Benzodiazepines act in the body similarly to alcohol. They act primarily on the GABA receptors, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This causes the calming and drowsy feeling.
The problem is, when benzodiazepines are used long term, they deplete the body of GABA, and make it difficult for the body to produce GABA. This leads to all the opposite effects of benzodiazepines during detox: seizures, insomnia, anxiety, hypertension and in some cases death.
In addition, many drugs sold on the streets as the benzodiazepine Xanax, are actually counterfeit pills. They are either other, often stronger, benzodiazepines mixed with fentanyl. This has led to many overdoses, including rapper Lil’ Peep.
It is highly recommended to seek medical detox and treatment when attempting to get clean off of benzodiazepines. The symptoms of detox can last up to several weeks, and often times a medical taper is required. When done in a medical setting, benzodiazepine detox can be as safe and comfortable as possible.