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Addiction Self-Assessment: Am I Using Too Many Benzodiazepines?

By taking our self-assessment, you can learn more about the signs and symptoms of benzo misuse to watch for, as well as if this substance may be harming your health. It’s not uncommon for addictive behaviors to go unnoticed, so taking a self-assessment to identify if you have an issue with benzo misuse can help shed some light on the potential severity of your use.
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What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a class of central nervous depressant drugs that have sedative and anti-anxiety properties.1 These drugs, which include prescription medications like Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium, are widely prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety and panic attacks.1 Benzodiazepines can also be used to treat other conditions, including muscle spasms and seizures, and may also be used as an adjunct to anesthesia.1,2

What are the Health Risks of Benzodiazepine Misuse?

Benzodiazepines are controlled substances with a known risk for both misuse and dependence.1 Physiological dependence to benzodiazepines may develop with continued use or misuse, as the body becomes desensitized to their therapeutic inhibitory effects and increasingly sensitized to undesirable, excitatory counter-effects.1 Therefore, people may continually increase the amount of benzodiazepines they are taking to achieve the desired effects. When this occurs, it is referred to as tolerance. As use continues, and dependence grows, people may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when no longer taking the substance.1

In addition to the development of tolerance and dependence, long-term benzodiazepine misuse can also lead to several additional health-related risks, such as memory problems, injuries from falls, addiction development, and overdose.1 Benzodiazepine overdose becomes much more likely when the drugs are combined with other substances, specifically opioids.2

Am I Using Too Many Benzodiazepines?

Any benzodiazepine use can be dangerous in the setting of non-medical misuse, which might include taking benzos in a way other than prescribed, taking someone else’s benzos, or taking them for the sole purpose of getting high.3 While everyone may experience different signs of problematic benzodiazepine use, there may be some outward signs that benzo misuse or other type of substance misuse is occurring. These can include losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, not caring about appearance, changes in eating or sleeping habits, and experiencing problems with friends and family members due to misuse.4

What are the Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction?

There exists a set of criteria that professionals use to diagnose an addiction to benzodiazepines, which is known as a sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder.5 These criteria can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition(the DSM-V).5

Some of these criteria include taking benzos over a longer period of time or in greater amounts than initially intended, experiencing cravings for benzos, failing to fulfill major personal and professional responsibilities, and continuing to use benzos despite the negative consequences that occur as a result of that use.5 For a full list of diagnostic criteria, click here.

How Can I Get Help for Benzodiazepine Addiction?

If you or someone you know is experiencing issues related to benzodiazepine misuse or someone you care about may have a benzodiazepine addiction, treatment is available. At AAC, we have treatment facilities across the country with various levels of care to best suit your treatment needs, including medical detox, inpatient addiction treatment, and outpatient addiction treatment programs.

Contact one of our admissions navigators today at to discuss treatment plans, health insurance coverage for addiction treatment, and payment options, and to begin the admissions process. You can also check your insurance coverage now to ensure coverage is available for your treatment.