Learn the common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents.
Learn more about common mental health conditions that affect millions.
Find Your Local NAMI
Call the NAMI Helpline at
Or text "HelpLine" to 62640
Benzodiazepines are medications that lower the activity of the nerves in the brain and cause you to be drowsy. They can be used to treat problems such as general anxiety disorder, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures.
Benzodiazepines work by boosting the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a chemical that reduces electrical activity in the brain.
Other safety information
If a person has been taking a benzodiazepines for a long time they can develop dependence. When this happens stopping the medication suddenly can cause withdrawal and you can experience tremors, sweating, upset stomach, vomiting, headaches, muscle pain, heart problems, seizures, and even death.
If the prescriber stops a benzodiazepine, the dose should be slowly lowered over weeks to months to reduce the likelihood of withdrawal symptoms.
©2021 The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP). Shedrick Martin, PharmD, February 2019
This information is being provided as a community outreach effort of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists. This information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical advice. This information contains a summary of important points and is not an exhaustive review of information about the topic. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified medical professional with any questions you may have regarding medications or medical conditions. Never delay seeking professional medical advice or disregard medical professional advice as a result of any information provided herein. The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists disclaims any and all liability alleged as a result of the information provided herein. CPNP makes this document available under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives 4.0 International License. Last Updated: January 2016.
To view the references for this resource, please visit cpnp.org/390124.
In a crisis? Call or text 988.