Benzos and Opiates: Which is More Addictive?

benzos and opiates

Doctors prescribe different medications to fit your different needs. Some may be used for physical pain, while others may be intended for mental health, which is one of the differences between benzos and opiates. Both of these medications are found to be addictive, but the question is which is more addictive? Our luxury rehab in Florida is here to clear it up for you.


What Are Benzos?

When comparing opioids vs benzos, it’s important to know more about each of them and how they work. Benzos are central nervous system depressants that reduce brain activity and the signaling of pain from the body to the brain. Also known as “downers,” benzos are prescribed for conditions like panic attacks and related anxiety symptoms. At Seaside Palm Beach, we offer mental health programs to help work through and strengthen mental health without the need for medications.


Some common side effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Memory Impairment
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Gain
  • Dry Mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Suicide
  • Seizures
  • Tolerance and Addiction
  • Withdrawal Symptoms (when drug use stops)


Another common side effect of benzo use is addiction. When used without a prescription or when higher doses are taken than directed by a doctor, benzos can produce a sedative high. This high targets chemicals in the brain such as GABA and dopamine, producing relaxation and a sense of well-being that reinforces further drug use. People who develop an addiction to benzos often require medical detox treatment to safely wean off of the drug and recover.

What Are Opiates?

Opiates, on the other hand, are painkillers prescribed to treat mild to chronic pain. While bringing a sense of calmness, people can get used to the effects of these drugs, therefore, needing higher doses as time passes, also known as tolerance. Tolerance can contribute to increased use of drugs and addictive behaviors. The term “opiates” refers to the natural versions of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant, such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. Opiates fall under the umbrella term of “opioids,” which classifies all the natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic versions of these drugs.


Some common physical and psychological effects of opiates include:

  • Euphoria
  • Sedation
  • Pain Relief
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Dry Mouth
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Chest Pain
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Tolerance and Addiction


A person can also overdose on opiates if they take large doses. Large doses of drugs intoxicate the body to the point where it displays certain physical and psychological symptoms. The most common symptom of an opiate overdose is respiratory depression, which refers to shallow or ineffective breathing. People who die from opiate-related overdoses most often die as a result of respiratory depression. Those who are addicted to these drugs can reduce their chances of experiencing an overdose if they receive luxury inpatient drug treatment as soon as possible.


Are Benzos More Addictive Than Opiates?

Although there is a lot of debate about which is more addictive, both benzos and opiates are equally addictive and dangerous. Unfortunately, they are often abused for the high they can produce and mixed together to intensify their side effects. It’s common for addicts to take benzos before taking opiates to increase their high.


Some similarities between opioids and benzodiazepines include:

  • Both are addictive
  • Both can produce tolerance and physical dependence
  • Both can cause withdrawal symptoms in people who are physically dependent and stop their use suddenly
  • Both are central nervous system depressants
  • Both affect dopamine and reward in the brain, reinforcing further drug use


Some differences between benzos and opiates include:

  • Opioids are mainly used to treat pain, while benzos are primarily used to treat anxiety symptoms and seizures
  • Both produce their highs differently (opiates attach to opioid receptors while benzos activate an inhibitory neurotransmitter called GABA)


Due to their high potential for abuse, opiates are generally taken for a short time until the pain lessens or goes away, and those who have chronic pain are monitored to prevent addiction. When it comes to benzodiazepines, the body builds up a tolerance over time if taken long-term, meaning patients will need more of the drug to experience the same relief as when they first used it. Additionally, when comparing the addictive natures of benzos and opiates, a common occurrence is that people with a history of addiction or addictive tendencies which take either of these medications are more likely to chase the high they offer, leading to physical dependence and addiction.


Benzos and opiates are some of the hardest drugs to quit, which is why Seaside Palm Beach offers both luxury benzo addiction treatment and opioid treatment to help you or a loved one quit these dangerous drugs. If you or someone you know is ready to take the first step on the road to recovery, call us today at 561-677-9374.

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