June 30, 2023 – The new research, published in PLOS One, includes a lengthy list of side effects that a majority of benzo users experienced more than a year after they stopped taking the drugs.

Those long-lasting symptoms include low energy, difficulty focusing, memory loss, anxiety, insomnia, sensitivity to light and sounds, digestive problems, symptoms triggered by food and drink, muscle weakness and body pain. 

Alarmingly, users also struggled with severe life impacts: 54.7% reported suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts, for example. Other negative life impacts included being fired or loss of employment, marriage and relationship problems, lower income or loss of income, increased medical costs and violent thoughts or actions.

“This should change how we think about benzodiazepines and how they are prescribed,” Dr. Alexis Ritvo, assistant professor of psychiatry at University of Colorado Medicine, said in the news release.