Benzodiazepines became widely used as medication in the 1960s and replaced barbiturates in treatments of many conditions. Benzodiazepines proved themselves less prone to abuse and safer than barbiturates. There is a small chance of accidental overdose too because the needed amount is much less than a poisonous amount.

Benzodiazepines (also called “benzos”) are a class of drugs which work in the central nervous system. They act on specific receptors in the brain, called gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors. Benzodiazepines attach to these receptors and make the nerves in the brain less sensitive to stimulation, which in turn, has a calming effect. Benzodiazepines are used for treating a variety of medical conditions, such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, seizures, nausea, vomiting, muscle relaxation, sedation, and alcohol withdrawal. This class of drugs is also used to calm people and to treat convulsions. Some people may experience mild euphoria.

Benzodiazepine drugs and the problems they address

Benzodiazepines are primarily prescribed for anti-anxiety treatment, but they can also be effective in calming emotional and physical reactions to specific phobias. A lot of people suffer from anxiety disorders at some point in their lives. We may have problems at work or feel a lot of pressure and stress because we have so many things we need to do, so we can become worried that we might not be able to manage it all. We shouldn’t suffer if we experience those feelings. Anxiety disorders symptoms are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Below is the list of all major Benzodiazepine group drugs and the problems they address.

  • Alprazolam (also known under the trade name Xanax)is widely used for the treatment of panic attacks, generalized anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, and OCD.
  • Clonazepam (also known under the trade name Klonopin)used in case of panic attacks, generalized anxiety, phobias, and social anxiety.
  • Diazepam (also known under the trade name Valium)treatment for general anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias.
  • Lorazepam (also known under the trade name Ativan)used to treat general anxiety, panic attacks and phobias.
  • Chlordiazepoxide (also known under the trade name Librium)effective treatment for general anxiety and phobias.

Benzodiazepine drugs as premedication before procedures

Benzodiazepines can be also used as premedication prior to certain medical procedures such as surgery, endoscopies or unpleasant medical procedures such as dental work where tension and anxiety can be present. Usually, take a couple of hours before the procedure, benzodiazepines induce sedation and amnesia for the procedure, bring anxiety relief and produce amnesia. Amnesia can help in situations then patients will not be able to remember any recent unpleasant experiences from surgery. Fear is an emotional response to an immediate threat, which sometimes can help us to prepare for some danger.

If you think you or someone you care about may be suffering from anxiety disorders or specific phobias, we strongly recommend that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and necessary support. Don’t take any medication without a prescription.