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Benzodiazepines - Effects

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The effects of any drug (including benzodiazepines) vary from person to person, but some of the immediate effects are:

  • relaxation
  • calmness
  • relief from tension and anxiety

Other effects can include:

  • drowsiness, tiredness, lethargy
  • dizziness, vertigo, blurred or double vision
  • slurred speech, stuttering
  • mild impairment of thought processes and memory
  • feelings of isolation,
  • emotional depression.



Higher Doses

Symptoms intensify as the dose increases. The most probable effects of higher doses are:
drowsiness or sleepiness
slurred speech
poor co-ordination
impaired judgement
loss of memory
blurred or double vision and/or dizziness
mood swings and aggressive outbursts may also occur
jitteriness and excitability often become evident as the effects of large doses wear off.
Serious Health Problems
Very high doses of benzodiazepines can cause unconsciousness or coma. Some deaths have occurred when large doses were combined with alcohol or other drugs. Some people who have taken benzodiazepines have died inhaling or choking on their mucus or vomit when they were unconscious.

Long-term Effects

The use of benzodiazepines over more than two to three weeks is not recommended. Benzodiazepines can help to relieve anxiety in the short term, but they don't solve the problems that caused the anxiety in the first place. (In other words, they treat the symptoms but not the cause.)

The long-term use of benzodiazepines may cause (in addition to the effects stated above):
lack of motivation
difficulty thinking clearly
memory loss
changes in personality and emotional responses
difficulty sleeping and/or disturbing dreams
skin rash
menstrual problems
sexual problems
greater appetite and/or weight gain
increased risk of accidents.

Very high doses of benzodiazepines over a long period of time may cause confusion, lack of coordination, depression and slurred speech, and may lead to increased aggressiveness.