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List of Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly abused medications in the United States today. In fact, many opioid overdoses that are plaguing the nation today involve some type of benzodiazepine. Due to the dangerous rise in benzodiazepine abuse, it’s important to be able to identify the most commonly abused benzodiazepines.

What are Benzodiazepines?


Benzodiazepines are a group of medications that are prescribed to treat anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. They are also used to treat insomnia, seizure disorders, and alcohol withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines work by affecting how GABA, a neurotransmitter, works and is used in the brain. These medications increase the production and reuptake of GABA to produce calming and relaxing effects. This can reduce anxiety, prevent seizures, and treat an array of other conditions.

Benzodiazepines are popular drugs of abuse due to their ability to produce calming, sedating, and tranquilizing effects. However, they are also highly addictive when used incorrectly. As a result, medical professionals generally do not use benzodiazepines for periods of time longer than two weeks.

All of the benzodiazepines on this list are habit-forming and addictive when abused. In extremely high doses, they can also lead to a life-threatening overdose.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Abuse

When people take benzodiazepine drugs in greater quantities than prescribed, they experience calming and sedative sensations. The effects may cause individuals to behave differently and exhibit certain signs or symptoms.

signs of benzodiazepine abuse

Signs that someone is abusing a benzodiazepine in this list include:

  • Disorientation
  • Impaired judgment
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Lack of inhibitions
  • Poor coordination
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Slowed speech
  • Vertigo
  • Low blood pressure

Addiction and overdose are the two most pressing dangers when it comes to benzodiazepine abuse. Anyone who uses these medications without a prescription is susceptible to physical dependence, addiction, and other long-term consequences.

List of Most Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines

There are many different kinds of benzodiazepines and each one is slightly different from the rest. Here is a list of some of the most commonly abused benzodiazepines.

Xanax (Alprazolam)

Xanax (alprazolam) is a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It is available in both immediate-release and extended-release tablets. It is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States and also the most commonly abused benzodiazepine on this list. Nearly 50 million prescriptions are dispensed for Xanax each year.[1]

Klonopin (Clonazepam)

Klonopin (clonazepam) is approved to treat panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) as well as some seizure disorders. It is a highly potent and long-acting benzodiazepine. This medication also has many off-label uses, such as for restless leg syndrome, insomnia, acute mania, and tardive dyskinesia.[2]

Valium (Diazepam)

Valium (diazepam) is used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and certain types of refractory seizures. It may also be used in ICUs for sedation or short-term treatment of spasticity in children suffering from cerebral palsy. It is a fast-acting, yet long-lasting benzodiazepine medication that can produce effects for up to 12 hours.[3]

Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

Next on the list of commonly abused benzodiazepines is Librium (chlordiazepoxide). Librium is used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal, but it can also be used to help alleviate fear and anxiety before surgery. Librium is considered to be one of the least harmful benzodiazepine medications in terms of abuse and addiction.[4]

Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety, insomnia, sleep difficulty, and continuous seizures. It may also be given before anesthesia or for alcohol withdrawal. Ativan is commonly used in inpatient medical settings due to its rapid onset of action and minimal side effect profile. While the other benzodiazepines listed so far are not ideal for treatment lasting longer than two weeks, Ativan can be used for up to four months.[5]

Restoril (Temazepam)

Restoril (temazepam) is used to treat insomnia. It can help people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up less throughout the night. It is a long-lasting medication that may cause memory loss if taken while trying to stay awake. Like other benzodiazepines, Restoril is habit-forming and not meant for periods of time longer than two weeks.[6]

Halcion (Triazolam)

Halcion (triazolam), the last on the list of commonly abused benzodiazepines, is used to treat insomnia, anxiety, aggression, schizophrenia, Tourette’s, and suicidal behavior. It is a short-acting medication that is effective in treating many acute psychiatric symptoms.[7]

List of Most Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines

Find Help for Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction

Regardless of which benzodiazepine from this list is being abused, benzodiazepines are addictive and harmful in the long term. However, it is never advised to stop using these medications cold-turkey. Doing so can lead to severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Instead, individuals should detox at a medically supervised detox facility and continue their care with a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

If you or a loved one are addicted to benzodiazepines, our team at Mandala Healing Center can help. We offer medically assisted detox, holistic rehab, and intensive outpatient programs to help you get your life back on track. Don’t wait any longer. Call now to begin your recovery journey.