Patterns of Benzodiazepine Misuse & Abuse

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Nonbenzodiazepine Depressants: Sedative Hypnotics & Antianxiety Medications

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Benzodiazepines
  • 0:24 Misuse vs. Abuse
  • 1:37 Signs of Abuse
  • 3:20 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Benzodiazepines, like the famous Valium, are drugs that have been successfully used to treat a wide variety of problems. However, they can be misused and abused. Find out the differences between misuse and abuse, and discover their signs and symptoms.


Ever heard of Valium? That's the brand name of a kind of benzodiazepine, which is a type of drug that may have anti-anxiety, sedative, hypnotic, and muscle relaxant properties. Because of their ability to relax the body, some people misuse and abuse these drugs, especially when stressful life events, like the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job, occur. Let's figure out what this looks like.

Misuse vs. Abuse

Bill has been prescribed a benzodiazepine for his anxiety. The prescription states that he should take one pill a day only. But Bill decides to self-medicate and take two pills today, because he feels a bit more anxious than normal. He's had a stressful day at work, and he thinks that another pill can't hurt. This is an example of benzodiazepine misuse, the inappropriate use of legal prescription drugs in a way that they are not intended to be used. Basically, Bill isn't following directions.

If this happens once, it's misuse. But if Bill continues to disobey his doctor's orders to the point where he becomes dependent on this medication, and it negatively affects his quality of life, he's now abusing the drug. Benzodiazepine abuse refers to a pattern of using any drug in such a way that it negatively affects a person's psychological and physiological well-being and negatively affects their daily life functions, like school and work.

Someone's drug abuse may just look like simply using more at once than necessary, or it may be a pattern of using the drug inappropriately, like snorting it instead of swallowing a pill.

Signs of Abuse

If Bill begins to develop symptoms like drowsiness, slurred speech, confusion, and dizziness, then these may be signs of benzodiazepine abuse or even overdose. If people that love Bill see his relationships deteriorating, his work performance suffering, and his personal life falling apart, then these, too, could be a sign he is abusing benzodiazepines. Ironically, some signs of benzodiazepine abuse are actually the same signs and symptoms for which the medications are prescribed in the first place.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account