*The effects of benzodiazepine use include drug dependence as well as the possibility of adverse effects on cognitive function, physical health, and mental health.
Some of the symptoms that could possibly occur as a result of benzodiazepines include emotional clouding, flu-like symptoms, suicide, nausea, headaches, dizziness, irritability, lethargy, sleep problems, memory impairment, personality changes, aggression, depression, social deterioration as well as employment difficulties.
Other concerns about the effects of benzodiazepine use, in some, include dose escalation, benzodiazepine abuse, tolerance and benzodiazepine dependence and benzodiazepine withdrawal problems. Both physiological tolerance and dependence can lead to a worsening of the adverse effects of benzodiazepines.
Effects of benzodiazepine use may include disinhibition, impaired concentration and memory, depression,[17
Sleep architecture can be adversely affected by benzodiazepine dependence. Possible adverse effects on sleep include induction or worsening of sleep disordered breathing. Like alcohol, benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat insomnia in the short term (both prescribed and self-medicated), but worsen sleep in the long term. Although benzodiazepines can put people to sleep, while asleep, the drugs disrupt sleep architecture: decreasing sleep time, delaying time to and decreased REM sleep, increasing alpha and beta activity, decreasing K complexes and delta activity, and decreasing deep slow-wave sleep (i.e., NREM stages 3 and 4, the most restorative part of sleep for both energy and mood).
The use of benzodiazepines may have a similar effect on the brain as alcohol, and are also implicated in depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mania, psychosis, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, delirium, and neurocognitive disorders. As with alcohol, the effects of benzodiazepine on neurochemistry, such as decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, are believed to be responsible for their effects on mood and anxiety. Additionally, benzodiazepines can indirectly cause or worsen other psychiatric symptoms (e.g., mood, anxiety, psychosis, irritability) by worsening sleep (i.e., benzodiazepine-induced sleep disorder).
Daily users of benzodiazepines are also at a higher risk of experiencing psychotic symptomatology such as delusions and hallucinations. A study found that of 42 patients treated with alprazolam, up to a third of users of the benzodiazepine drug alprazolam (Xanax) develop depression. Studies have shown that use of benzodiazepines and the benzodiazepine receptor agonist nonbenzodiazepine Z drugs are associated with causing depression as well as a markedly raised suicide risk and an overall increased mortality risk.
Pardon the tirade but when I was in drug rehab I roomed with 3 women addicted to benzodiazepines ~ Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, etc. These were respectable women ~ a business woman, a housewife, and the wife of a minister ~ who were prescribed benzos for sleep that quickly escalated into addiction. The withdrawals were worse than those of the heroin addicts. And every one of them swore that they took them exactly as prescribed ~ except they were all buying additional supplies of their drugs!