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  • A benzodiazepine high may feel like your senses are dulled. Benzodiazepines, also known as tranquilizers or benzos, can cause feelings of drowsiness, poor concentration, confusion, and light-headedness. These feelings lead to a sluggish, unfocused high.

    The high caused by benzos make them an appealing target for substance abuse. Benzodiazepine abuse can lead to an increased risk of side effects beyond the high, including long-term physical dependence.

    How A Benzo High Affects Your Mind & Body

    Benzodiazepines slow down brain activity, which can slow down your entire body in turn. When you are high on benzos, you may take a longer time to process things around you. You may also feel drowsy, lethargic, and sedated.

    Physically, you may also move slower when on a benzodiazepine. You may find it harder to do many motor functions, like driving a car or even walking in a straight line. Benzos can also affect your body’s functions, including blood flow and heart rate.

    The physical and mental impairment caused by benzodiazepines may be appealing to some. They may see it as a temporary escape or a way to self-medicate. Unfortunately, getting high on benzos can create its own problems.

    Is It Safe To Get High On Benzodiazepines?

    Taking benzodiazepines for the sole reason of getting high is a form of drug abuse. It is not a medically approved way to take these substances. Getting high on benzos can increase your drug tolerance, and you will likely need more of the substance to get the same effect.

    Drug tolerance may lead to physical dependence, where your body cannot function properly without benzodiazepines. Dependence usually leads to withdrawal when you try to stop taking the drug.

    Benzodiazepine withdrawal can start hours after your last dose, and last for weeks or even months. Symptoms may include:

    • increased heart rate
    • increased anxiety
    • panic attacks
    • hallucinations
    • hostile behavior
    • ​other mental health effects

    Getting high on benzodiazepines can have long-term effects on your health.

    Other Side Effects Of Benzodiazepines

    If you are taking benzodiazepines for their effects of sedation, you may be at risk for other side effects such as:

    • low blood pressure
    • dry mouth
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • slowed breathing

    High doses and long-term use of benzodiazepines can increase your risk of these side effects.

    Causes Of A Benzodiazepine High

    Many benzodiazepines affect gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that slows and limits brain activity. Large amounts of GABA can lead to impairment and slowed bodily functions.

    In the short-term, these effects of benzodiazepines can manage anxiety disorders and panic disorders. They can also help with alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The following benzos can be prescribed for these reasons:

    • Xanax (alprazolam)
    • Valium (diazepam)
    • Ativan (lorazepam)
    • Klonopin (clonazepam)
    • Serax (oxazepam)
    • Halcion (triazolam)

    You should always practice responsible drug use. Taking these medications as directed by your doctor or physician who is prescribing them is one way to reduce health risks.

    Treatment For Benzodiazepine Abuse

    Getting high on benzodiazepines is a form of substance abuse. Benzodiazepines see widespread abuse as both prescription drugs and illicit drugs. In the illicit drug market, these “downers,” “tranks,” and “zannies” are bought and sold for their abuse potential.

    Treatment programs are out there to help you overcome a chronic benzodiazepine use problem. A supervised drug detox program at a treatment center may be necessary to help you manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. After detox, further treatment may be necessary.

    If you are taking benzodiazepines to help with your mental health, other more effective treatments are available. To learn how to make the most of the treatment options available to you, talk to your healthcare professional or contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Fact Sheet: Benzodiazepines
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prescription CNS Depressants DrugFacts
    PubMed - Benzodiazepines I: Upping the Care on Downers: The Evidence of Risks, Benefits and Alternatives
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Ativan (lorazepam)
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - KLONOPIN TABLETS (clonazepam)
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - LIBRIUM (CHLORDIAZEPOXIDE HYDROCHLORIDE) Label
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Xanax

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