Benzodiazepine is a type of CNS depressant prescribed to relieve anxiety and sleep problems. Valium and Xanax are among the most widely prescribed medications.
Since their introduction in the 1960s, drugs categorized as benzodiazepines, which include diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), have been widely prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and other conditions. Although they are highly effective for their intended uses, these medications must be prescribed with caution because they can be addictive. Now, work by NIDA-funded researchers has established that benzodiazepines cause addiction in a way similar to that of opioids, cannabinoids, and the club drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). The discovery opens the door to designing new benzodiazepines that counteract anxiety but are not addictive.