In part one of this two-part series, we examined what is benzo, as well as three popular prescription drugs with properties that resemble benzodiazepines. Those properties range from feelings of euphoria through to states of relaxation, which is indicative of benzodiazepine’s purpose as a tranquilizer.

In this article, we’ll examine two additional drugs whose effects resemble benzodiazepines, and with that, are often mistaken for benzos.


Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, were found to an effective treatment for anxiety and first put on the market in 1960.

The drug immediately garnered attention as the first mass-produced tranquilizer available to the public.

Called “Mommy’s Little Helper,” since being introduction to the public, benzos have consistently been one of the most prescribed medicines in America.

Even while in lieu of the recent prescription drug epidemic, 5.2 percent of American adults between 18 and 80 years of age, was given at least one benzodiazepine prescription in 2008. Of that percentage, women consisted for nearly twice as many men who used the drug.

Benzos are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures, muscle tension and to calm someone before surgery or a medical procedure.

Influencing the central nervous system, benzos relax muscles and produce sedation. Depending upon the dosage, benzos can have a short or long duration within the body.

Because of their popularity, benzos are also quite easy to get hold of, and once abused, can become quite addictive.

What is benzo


Sertraline, also known as Zoloft, is used to treat depression. It belongs to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

While researchers still aren’t entirely aware of how sertraline operates, the current belief is sertraline positively effects communication between nerve cells in the central nervous system, and/or can restore chemical balance in the brain.

Of its many uses, Zoloft treats depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).


At first it may seem like sertraline and drugs within the benzodiazepine family, such as Ativan, valium and Xanax, perform in similar ways.

However, it should also be kept in mind that sertraline is used to treat depression, while benzos are used to calm a person down.

Another issue to consider, particularly in lieu of drug testing, is that sertraline can leave false positives that point to benzo use.

If you find your use of sertraline has somehow been mistaken for benzodiazepine use, call your doctor to assist you with this issue.


Seroquel, also known by the name quetiapine, is an antipsychotic medicine. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain, and is used to treat schizophrenia in adults and children who are at least 13 years old.

Seroquel also treats bipolar disorder (manic depression) in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.

Additionally, the drug is used with antidepressant medications to treat major depressive disorder in adults.

The extended-release Seroquel XR is for use only in adults and should not be given to anyone younger than 18 years old.


Seroquel can be mistaken for benzodiazepines due to its sedative effect. And yet while the drug can achieve a calming effect, it nonetheless is an antipsychotic prescribed mostly for those suffering bipolar issues and schizophrenia.

Some have reported that Seroquel has been prescribed off-label for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety, though not regularly.

Unlike sertraline, Seroquel does not leave trace amounts which after a drug test can be mistaken for benzodiazepines.

This isn’t to say that Seroquel and benzos have nothing in common as far as their overall effects. Both medications offer calming qualities, particularly when inducing sleep. However, it is strongly recommended that Seroquel is not prescribed off label for any symptom other than what the drug is designed for.

In most cases, drugs that are substituted for other drugs because they can yield similar effects is an ill-advised idea. Other side effects need to be considered, as well as dosage sizes, longevity of the medication, and its addictive properties.

Never believe one drug meant to alleviate one type of ailment, will work on another ailment only because both drugs can cause similar results, such as sleep or euphoric feeling.

This is a perilous mix that doctors, pharmaceutical sales staff and the companies which created, markets and sells the drug need to stress about their medications for the well-being of their patients/clients.

If you or a loved one have an addiction issue with benzodiazepines or drugs similar in effect to benzodiazepines, 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.

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