What are benzodiazepines (benzos or BZDs)?

What are benzodiazepines ("benzos" or "BZDs")?

asked 16 Feb '12, 21:28

Lamb's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

A benzodiazepine, also known as a “benzo” or “BZD”, is a drug most commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, restlessness, and seizures. Benzos also treat substance withdrawals and are used to stabilize patients for medical procedures. Benzodiazepines brands include Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, and other “tranquilizers”.

(25 Feb '12, 13:02) Jack ♦


Prescription Drugs

Benzodiazepines are available by prescription only.



Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are prescribed to treat anxiety, restlessness, seizures, and some withdrawal symptoms.



Xanax is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine.

Benzodiazepines (benzos, or BZD) are psychoactive drugs commonly referred to as “tranquilizers.” They were discovered in 1955, and first marketed as Librium (chlordiazepoxide) in 1960, followed in 1963 by Valium (diazepam). There are thousands of benzodiazepine drugs, but only about 25 are marketed at present. Other benzos include Xanax, Klonopin, Vival, Ativan, and more.


answered 16 Feb '12, 23:02

McKail's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

Benzos have anti-anxiety, anti-convulsive, sedative and sleep-inducing qualities due to their enhancement of the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain. These effects vary in their intensity, depending upon the specific benzo compound. Benzos also vary in their length of action, and are classed as short-acting, intermediate acting, and long acting. Short- and intermediate-acting forms are used for insomnia, to relieve anxiety and enhance the effects of anesthesia in surgical and dental procedures, while the longer-acting benzos are used for treatment of anxiety and symptoms of withdrawal.

Although normally used orally, benzos can also be introduced anally or by injection. Physical tolerance and dependence can occur after as few as three to four weeks of heavy use, as indicated by withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe and even fatal. Long-term use is associated with adverse effects on all levels of cognition (awareness), lowered IQ, poor learning and concentration, and poor information processing. These effects, along with general deterioration of physical and mental health, become worse the longer the drugs are used.

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Asked: 16 Feb '12, 21:28

Seen: 4,092 times

Last updated: 03 May '12, 23:09