WHAT ARE BENZODIAZEPINES?

Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are tranquilizers. Benzodiazepine medications are required to have hypnotic, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant or amnesiac properties. Another benzo requirement is that the drug must provide anxiety relief.

From 2005 to 2013, one benzodiazepine medication, Xanax, was the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States, according to IMS Health, who provides information and services to the healthcare industry.

Benzodiazepines can be short-, intermediate-, or long-acting. They are generally dispensed either in tablet or capsule form, liquid syrup, or intravenously.

Benzos with shorter half-lives usually work rapidly and leave the system faster, while longer-acting medications have longer half-lives, take longer to begin working, and stay effective for an extended length of time.

Short-acting benzodiazepines usually start working within minutes, are out of the system in a few hours,

Benzodiazepines are prescribed for the following:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Insomnia
  • Social anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Catatonia
  • Tremors
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Sedation prior to surgery
  • Acute agitation
  • Seizures

The four most popular benzos to combat the above afflictions are:

Yet, even with these four drugs touted under the benzo umbrella, other medications exist that can cause people to wonder as to whether they too are members of the benzodiazepine family.

Let’s take a closer look at what those medications are.

 

IS FLEXERIL A BENZO?

The reason Flexeril is not a benzodiazepine simply lies within the intent of the drug. Flexeril is a muscle relaxer, while benzos are used to combat anxiety and nervousness.

As benzos effect the neurotransmitter GABA, which is the feel-good neurotransmitter, their anti-anxiety properties do have some muscle relaxant properties. However, Flexeril tends to work in a different manner than benzos as it releases norepinephrine to relax strained muscles.

While a person’s muscles may seem tense from anxiousness, taking Flexeril is not the correct treatment. Anxiousness is more likely treated with benzodiazepines. Muscle-related pain or stiffness due to physical activity is reserved for a dedicated muscle relaxant such as Flexeril.

 

IS LYRICA A BENZO?

Although Lyrica and benzos can be applied in some situations in which a muscle relaxant is needed, Lyrica is more likely prescribed to individuals with nerve pain due to diabetes. So, to ask is Lyrica a benzo, the proper response is no.

Nevertheless, those who use Lyrica say the drug’s effects are similar to valium, a drug within the benzo family.

The similarity in effects shared between Lyrica and benzos is the mellow feeling both drugs produce. But not everyone experiences that feeling with Lyrica. Clinical experts cite that only between four and 12% of those who take Lyrica will have that “all’s right with the world” sensation.

Yet, it is the feel-good sensation found in Lyrica and valium that the two drugs have even more similarities, making both substances potentially addictive to those who abuse them.

Even with that fact, make no mistake about Lyrica and valium’s true uses as interchangeable, because they simply aren’t. As was explained earlier, Lyrica treats muscle and nerve pain due to diabetes, while valium mitigates anxiety as well as alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Yes, both drugs share some muscle relaxant abilities, however that isn’t either Lyrica or valium’s tier one intent. If taken in that regard, one characteristic Lyrica has in its favor over valium is that Lyrica isn’t as addictive as Valium.

 

IS AMBIEN A BENZO?

Insomnia and anxiousness are different afflictions. Therefore, the question as to if Ambien is a benzo receives a resounding no.

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, which is the point where a person would take Ambien. With nervousness and anxiety, a benzodiazepine such as valium or Xanax might be prescribed to relax an individual to a functional level of not just sleep, but wakefulness as well.

To further reinforce the differences between Ambien and benzodiazepines, Ambien is not nearly as addictive as any form of benzo. Without a doubt, Ambien can become addictive, but not at the rate or short duration of benzos.

In fact, with Ambien being a non-benzodiazepine, but with the same medical effectiveness as benzodiazepines like Xanax, yet without the same habit-forming properties, Ambien by far is a safer drug.

If you or a loved one have an addiction issue with benzodiazepines or any other type of prescription drug, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers, we custom tailor our recovery programs with the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction, and help you achieve true recovery. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.