Statistics on Benzodiazepines
Out of adults in the U.S.:
- 12.5% use benzodiazepine
- 2.1% misuse benzodiazepine
- 0.2% have a benzodiazepine use disorder
Of adults in the U.S. who have used benzodiazepine:
- 17.1% misuse them
- 2% have a benzodiazepine use disorder
Dangers of Benzodiazepine Misuse by the Numbers
Dangerous side effects of benzodiazepines include memory and reasoning impairment, dependence, attention deficits, drowsiness, uncoordinated motor actions, confusion, hallucinations, and more.
The effects of benzodiazepines can cause people to fall and hurt themselves, become dependent or addicted to the drugs, or even overdose if used in large quantities or with other drugs.
- 16% of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines in 2019
- 9,711 people died of a benzodiazepine-related overdose in 2019
- 35% of people who take benzodiazepines for more than 4 weeks will become dependent
Benzodiazepines can be very helpful for treating insomnia and anxiety but they also have many negative side effects and should be used carefully.
Benzodiazepine Misuse in Young People
Tranquilizers, sleep medications, and anxiety medications containing benzodiazepines can be misused by young people to get high. In large doses, benzodiazepines can cause users to experience euphoria, hallucinations, and calming effects.
Reported Use of Tranquilizers (Including Benzodiazepines) by Adolescents in 2020
|8th Graders||10th Graders||12th Graders|
|Past 30 Days||1.1%||0.7%||1%|
While some teenagers may be prescribed these drugs to help them with anxiety and insomnia, many are abusing their own or another person’s prescription recklessly.
Benzodiazepine Misuse in Older People
In 2011, there were an average of 2,056 drug-related emergency visits made by adults ages 65 and older. 290 of these visits involved illegal drug use, including misuse of prescription drugs.
The second most common reason for these visits was benzodiazepine misuse. Pain relievers were the only drugs that caused more emergency room visits than benzodiazepines.
- 48 out of 290 Emergency Department visits by older adults were for benzodiazepines
- 20-50% of women over age 60 are prescribed benzodiazepines
- Somewhere between 9% to 54% of older adults have taken benzodiazepines in the past year
- Old age and gender are the greatest factors in benzodiazepine use
- Women are twice as likely as men to use benzodiazepines
Chronic anxiety and sleep problems are common in older adults and therefore benzodiazepines are prescribed to them often. Benzodiazepines are most effective when given for a short period of time. Many older adults, especially women, find themselves using benzodiazepines long-term and becoming dependent.
Benzodiazepines can cause users to become confused and alter their motor skills to the point where they become uncoordinated. For many older adults, a simple accident such as losing their balance and falling down can cause serious injuries. Chronic use, misuse, dependence, and addiction to benzodiazepines is are dangerous issues among older adults.
Treatment Types and How to Get Help
Benzodiazepine addiction can be treated in many different ways. Addiction treatment professionals use different types of medications and therapy to help patients stop using benzodiazepines. Help is available in many different programs throughout the United States.