Benzodiazepines are depressants prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
Common types of benzodiazepines include Valium®, Ativan® and Xanax®. Users might call them downers, downs, benzos, or xanies.
Any non-medical use of benzos is misuse. Examples include the following:
Benzodiazepines can be swallowed in the form of pills or crushed and snorted. Users may feel euphoric, dizzy, forgetful or calm.
Benzodiazepines slow down brain activity and can cause sleepiness and loss of coordination. Other effects may include slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, weakness, headache, lightheadedness, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and slowed breathing. Heavy use of benzodiazepines and using with alcohol or other drugs can change the heart rate and slow breathing enough to cause death.