Benzodiazepines (Xanax®, Valium®, Klonopin®, Librium®, Restoril®) are commonly used for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and a number of other conditions. When used appropriately over a short period of time, they can be very effective; however, when misused they can cause physical dependence and addiction. Other sedative hypnotic medications such as Ambien®, and Lunesta® if misused, also produce physical dependence and addiction.
Benzodiazepine addiction can involve both physical and a psychological dependence on the drugs, resulting in withdrawal when doses are stopped or reduced. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, poor concentration, and depersonalization. Some of these symptoms continue after the acute withdrawal is over and is termed post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Abrupt cessation of benzodiazepines can lead to seizures and psychosis and is not recommended in a dependent individual.