Women’s use of benzodiazepines and sleeping pills has been identified as a critical health issue for many years. Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed, including drugs like Xanax and Ativan, and are used to treat anxiety, tension, and insomnia by slowing down the nervous system. It is estimated that 1 in 10 Canadians report using a benzodiazepine at least once a year and continue using them for at least one year .
Addiction to benzodiazepines usually occurs within one month, while tolerance to the sleeping effect of benzodiazepines and sleeping pills can occur within 7 days of initial use. Reducing the medication often results in a long withdrawal and recovery period that may last up to one year, including symptoms of insomnia, anxiety/panic, and depression, to name a few. Surprisingly, these withdrawal symptoms can begin while the person is taking the medication, which may result in the person being prescribed more medication to deal with these symptoms .