Treatment of anxiety including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and acute stress disorder. In addition, some benzodiazepines are used as hypnotics, anticonvulsants to prevent delirium tremors during alcohol withdrawal, and as adjunctive therapy for relaxation of skeletal muscle spasms. Midazolam, a short-acting benzodiazepine, is used for preop sedation and relief of anxiety for short diagnostic/endoscopic procedures (see individual monograph for midazolam).
Benzodiazepines are the largest and most frequently prescribed group of antianxiety agents. The exact mechanism is unknown, but they may increase the inhibiting effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which inhibits nerve impulse transmission by binding to specific benzodiazepine receptors in various areas of the central nervous system (CNS).
Refer to individual entries of nonbenzodiaepine drugs for more information on uses and actions.