Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers often used to treat anxiety like Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam) serve to enhance the presence of GABA, decreasing stress and tension and promoting sedation. They are often abused for the mellowing and pleasant high they can produce.
Over 2 million American adults abused sedatives or tranquilizers at the time of the 2014 NSDUH. These medications are also habit-forming and can cause drug dependence even with licit medicinal use. Abuse of these drugs increases the risk for adverse reactions and addiction.
Benzodiazepines withdrawal symptoms
Prescribed to treat anxiety, lower tension, and induce sleep, benzodiazepines slow down the central nervous system by increasing the presence of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. These drugs are not generally designed to be taken long-term, as they are extremely habit-forming and drug dependence can set in quickly.
Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepine drugs can be significant and even possibly life-threatening, as the central nervous system functions that have been regularly suppressed may come rebounding back, resulting in possible seizures and/or delirium. Benzodiazepines also carry a high risk for fatal overdose and are often mixed with other drugs and/or alcohol with tragic results. Effects of benzodiazepine intoxication may be similar to alcohol intoxication, including sluggishness, slurred speech, cognitive deficits, and coordination issues.