Benzodiazepines are a group of prescription medications that include Valium, Xanax and Ambien. Though they are commonly prescribed in the UK and can be very effective but can also be easily abused. This can often lead to addiction.

In a government report from 2021, there was a 6% increase in people entering treatment for benzodiazepine addiction. Many people do not get help so the number of people addicted to benzodiazepines will be much higher.

If you are struggling with benzodiazepine addiction and are looking to get treatment then you should know that help is out there. Alcohol and drug rehab centres like Ocean Recovery can help you overcome your benzodiazepines addiction in a safe and secure environment.

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are sedative medications, meaning that they slow your brain function down. This can make you feel more relaxed and calmer.

Due to these effects, they are normally prescribed to help people with severe anxiety, panic disorders and those suffering from insomnia.

Your body naturally produces a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which reduces activity in the brain that controls emotions, breathing, and memory. Benzodiazepines increase the effect of GABA – this is what reduces your anxiety and makes you feel sleepy and relaxed.

You can become dependent on benzodiazepines quite quickly so doctors tend not to prescribe them for long. Many people come to crave the relaxed feeling the drug gives them and their body adapts, producing more GABA. Soon more has to be taken to get the same effects.

Signs of Benzodiazepines Addiction

There are many signs to be on the lookout for if you think you or someone you know is suffering from benzodiazepines addiction. There are three key areas of symptoms (physical, psychological and behavioural) to pay attention to.

Physical Signs:

  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • Coordination issues
  • Psychological Signs:
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Increased irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • More apathetic
  • Behavioural Signs:
  • Social isolation
  • Poor work performance
  • Engaging in more risky behaviour
  • Financial problems
  • Becoming more secretive

A clear sign of addiction is that you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms a few hours after your last use of benzodiazepines. This combined with an increased tolerance points towards a growing problem.

If you have found yourself denying that you have an addiction to others, despite the bad effects it is having on your life then that is another clear sign. If you are also neglecting responsibilities as you spend more time and effort on acquiring benzodiazepines then it may point to serious drug addiction.

Short-Term Effects of Benzodiazepines Abuse and Overdose Risk

Benzodiazepines can be dangerous in the short term. They can make you unsteady and slow down your reactions, which can be very dangerous if you get behind the wheel or find yourself engaging in risky behaviour.

Combining benzodiazepines with other substances like alcohol can also be very dangerous. Alcohol also depresses the central nervous system, slowing down your breathing. This could prove lethal by increasing the chance of overdosing.

Taking a large dose that could cause an overdose may put you into a coma or badly affect your lungs. Symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose include shallow breathing, slurred speech and loss of consciousness.

Long-Term Impact of Abusing Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are not meant to be used for a long time, so continuing to abuse them can have consequences.

Your brain can be damaged by using benzodiazepines for a long time, affecting your memory and coordination. You may find that your thinking becomes slower and now have poor concentration. This brain decline may mean you need more time to complete simple tasks.

Benzodiazepines can begin to slow down your heartbeat, which can lead to blood clots. In really bad cases your heart may even stop altogether.

The liver can also be affected as tissue damage caused by benzodiazepines means you cannot metabolise the drug as well as before. This could lead to liver failure.

These are all serious issues that cannot be allowed to happen by letting your addiction worsen. Private drug and alcohol rehab is the best way to break the addiction cycle and live a drug-free life.

What Rehabilitation Treatment Options are there for Benzodiazepine Addiction?

When it comes to going to rehab, there are many treatment options available. At Ocean Recovery we feel that residential treatment is the best option out there. It provides a personalised addiction treatment programme that is effective against benzodiazepine addiction. With medical detox, therapies and making use of aftercare, you can achieve your long-term recovery goals.


Drug detox is the process of ending your physical dependence on benzodiazepine. You do this by not taking the drug anymore and getting through the unavoidable withdrawal. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and you will likely experience sleep problems, vomiting, anxiety, abdominal cramps, light sensitivity and loss of appetite.

Detox takes around 7-10 days and you will take part in other aspects of the treatment programme during this time.


The therapies that you will take part in at Ocean Recovery can help you understand your addiction. Addiction counselling and psychoeducation give you more information to improve your mental health and explore the reasons behind your addiction. Group sessions allow you to talk to others so you don’t feel isolated. They can help improve your self-confidence and belief so you have the strength to beat your addiction.

We also employ more holistic therapies such as yoga sessions and mindfulness walks to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. This can improve your mental well-being and make you more receptive to treatment.


You can have access to continued support through aftercare. In group sessions after rehab, you can talk to other addicts and receive guidance. These sessions can be vital to relapse prevention. By honing your coping skills and talking with others you can better identify potential signs of relapse and get support before you slip back into destructive habits.

Contact Ocean Recovery

Benzodiazepine addiction can be beaten. There is help out there to start the journey right now. Contact the team at Ocean Recovery and we can begin the admissions process. We aim to make this process as stress-free as possible and have an admission date finalised as quickly as we can.

Call Ocean Recovery today at 01253 847 553.


John Gillen - Author - Last updated: May 13, 2024

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.

Dr Adel Ghaly

    Dr Adel Ghaly - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: December 27, 2023

    MB BCh, Psychological Medicine (Substance Misuse Psychiatry) from 2002

    Dr Adel Ghaly is a registered Doctor who is a specialist psychiatrist. Dr Ghaly gained an MB BCh in 1982 from Assiut University and has since become a substance misuse specialist and psychiatrist. After gaining his qualification in Psychological Medicine (Substance Misuse Psychiatry) in 2002, Dr Ghaly has worked in hospitals and as a specialist trainer recognised by the GMC.