Consequences of Long-term Benzodiazepine Use

Woman with anxiety and depression — longterm effects
Photo by valentinrussanov/

Benzodiazepines are most often prescribed for so-called panic disorders and anxiety. While there may be some who find these drugs temporarily relieve symptoms, they are extremely addictive and the risk of using them cannot be overstated. As more information has surfaced regarding this drug’s addictive potential, many medical professionals have shied away from prescribing it. Psychiatrists have argued that benzodiazepines have a low potential for abuse when taken as prescribed, but studies show that over 10 million people aren't using them as their doctor advised.

Among the variety of side-effects caused by long-term use of benzodiazepines are loss of appetite, lethargy, loss of motor skills, and concentration problems. There is also a pronounced effect associated with the use of benzodiazepines, like Xanax, best described as a reduction in the ability to make rational decisions. This effect manifests itself in various ways, and there have been instances of users doing things that are remarkably out of character for them. These can range from harmless to potentially deadly. There are reports of users getting up in the middle of the night and doing things like laundry, or dishes, only to have entirely forgotten the next morning what took place the night before.

More sinister manifestations include stealing for thrills, getting into fights, and spending sprees far outside of one’s budget. People make unwise decisions under the influence of Xanax, and sometimes the consequences are grave.

Poor decisions aside, there are several unavoidable consequences of Xanax abuse. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Sedation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Decreased respiration
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Irritability or depression

Dependency and Withdrawal

Daily use of benzodiazepines, even as prescribed, causes the body to develop a tolerance. This tolerance eventually turns into a dependency. This can be life-threatening if withdrawals begin unexpectedly. When someone is dependent on benzodiazepines, it means they need it to function normally. When someone becomes physically dependent on benzos, they will experience withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, sweats, convulsions, and seizures. These symptoms can be potentially deadly.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Xanax abuse, reach out to get help.




Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.