Friday, September 22

Benzodiazepines vs Opioids: What Are the Differences?

benzodiazepines vs opioids

Have you accidentally taken an opioid when you were meant to take a benzodiazepine?

It happens more often than you might think. Both classes of medications are popular across the world for their ability to alleviate pain, induce sleep, and calm anxiety, among other things. If you’re not careful, it can be easy to grab the wrong pill bottle when you’re in a rush.

If you’re having a hard time telling the two apart, you have come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to compare benzodiazepines vs opioids, as well as outline key differences between the two.

Chemical Structure

What are Benzodiazepines and opioids and how do they differ in their chemical structure? Benzodiazepines contain a benzene ring attached to a diazepine ring. On the other hand, opioids contain a phenyl ring attached to an oxygen atom.


Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs typically used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Opioids, on another hand, are a class of drugs used to treat pain.

Effect on the Body

Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that act on the brain and spinal cord to produce a calming effect. Opioids are also central nervous system depressants, but they bind to receptors in the brain that control pain signals. Both types of drugs can cause drowsiness, slowed reflexes, and impaired judgment.


Benzodiazepines and opioids are depressants of the central nervous system and can cause similar effects. Both can slow down breathing and heart rate and cause drowsiness. When taken in large doses, both can cause unconsciousness and death.

However, opioids are more likely to cause death from overdose than benzodiazepines. The reason for this is that opioids are more potent and have a higher risk of respiratory depression. Benzodiazepines also have a lower therapeutic index, meaning that a person is more likely to overdose on benzodiazepines than opioids.

When you or your loved one aren’t able to function properly anymore without these drugs, it could lead to an overdose. To avoid such, consider a rehab center. An example of this is Hope Rising Recovery which could help with benzodiazepine addiction.


Opioids are more likely to be addictive than benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepine are more likely to cause side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness. While opioids can cause more serious side effects, such as respiratory depression.

Both classes of drugs being addictive can lead to withdrawal symptoms when halted. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can cause insomnia and seizures, while withdrawal from opioids can cause pain, nausea, and vomiting. Both types of withdrawal can be dangerous and require medical supervision.

Considering Benzodiazepines vs Opioids

Both benzodiazepines vs opioids have their own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. When choosing between the two, it is important to consider their chemical structure, usage, and effects on your body. These two drugs, although both can lead to overdose, differ in withdrawal and overdose side effects.

Did you find this article about the differences between opioids and benzodiazepines guide useful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more helpful content!

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