Benzodiazapines– Are a class of drugs that behaves like tranquilizers yielding results of relaxation, calmness, and relief from anxiety and tension. They sit within the drug category of “Depressants,” and are a Schedule II drug as per the Controlled Substances Act.  They are the most prescribed Depressant medication (Webster New Medical Dictionary). To fall within the classification of a Benzodiazepine, it must possess one or more of the following drug action(s): anxiety relief, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, anti-convulsant, or an amnesiatic. Once in this category they will then further be categorized within two sub-categories, long-acting and short-acting. Long-acting drugs are characterized by either accumulating in the bloodstream and/or will taking a longer amount of time to leave the body when compared to the short-acting drugs. Short-acting drugs are metabolized and cleared from the body in a short amount of time. The potential for tolerance, dependence, and abuse varies with short and long-acting benzodiazapines. (Center for Substance Abuse Research).  Effects of the drug will vary based upon the amount of the drug taken.

Benzodiazapines act mainly on the neurotransmitter known as gamma-amino butyric acid or GABA. Normally, GABA inhibits motor neurons in the brain resulting in the neurons decreasing or stopping neuronal activity. When Benzo’s are introduced to the body they cause an increase GABA activity resulting in the slowing of the nerve impulses throughout the entire body. The body has two types of receptors that respond to GABA. One results in providing anti-anxiety and the second in sedation.


Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Drowsiness Mood Swings Altered Vision
Tremors Slurred Speech Respiratory Depression
Euphoria Hostile Behavior Slowed Reflexes
Abdominal Discomfort Impaired Thinking & Memory Impaired Motor Coordination


Common Abused Depressants

Generic Name Brand/Trade Name Street Names
Alprazolam Xanex Z-bars; Handlebars (White pills); School bus (yellow pills); Footballs (blue pills)
Diazepam Valium Vs; Yellow Vs (5 mg); Blue Vs (10 mg) Benzos; Dead flower powers
Haloperidol, Haloperidol lactate Haldol
Thioridazine Mellaril-S