Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are a large class of anime drugs that are broadly prescribed all over the world for common health issues including stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines have a calming effect on both body and mind and are thus often prescribed to serve as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety agent), a sedative (used as a calming agent, to reduce irritability or excitement), or hypnotic (used to induce sleep, treat insomnia). Benzodiazepines can also be used as an anticonvulsant to treat seizures, a muscle relaxant, and are occasionally used to treat some types of depression (especially anxiety-related depression).
Benzos are psychotropic medications, meaning that they are mood-altering drugs: chemical substances that cross the blood–brain barrier and act primarily upon the central nervous system, affecting one’s perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. Benzos act selectively on gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors in the brain.
Benzodiazepines are highly addictive central nervous system depressants. Although guidelines provide clear warnings against prescribing benzodiazepines for long-term use, many people end up using benzos long enough to become addicted. Others become addicted to these prescription drugs after abusing the substance(s) over a long period of time. Those abusing benzos will generally develop a tolerance for the drugs and will get to extremely high dosages.
Habituated users who suddenly stop taking benzodiazepines without tapering off properly run the risk of experiencing hallucinations, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, or even death in some cases. In fact, benzos are one of the only two types of substances from which sudden withdrawal can actually kill the addicted or dependent user; the other is alcohol. Benzos and alcohol act upon the brain in similar ways.