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What Are Benzodiazepines?

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Updated December 04, 2013

Definition:

Benzodiazepines are a class of mild tranquilizers that prevent or reduce anxiety symptoms by affecting the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Some well-known benzodiazepines include Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Klonopin (clonazepam). Benzodiazepines can be habit forming and are not recommended for those with substance abuse disorders. Benzodiazepines are sometimes used in treating social anxiety disorder (SAD), however the first choice of medication is usually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

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