How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your System?

How long do benzos stay in your system? Learn about the half-life of benzodiazepines, as well as their side effects and treatment options.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, also called benzos, are a type of psychoactive drug prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Benzos were first synthesized in the 1960s and are commonly prescribed today. However, it’s easy to assume that since benzodiazepines are regularly prescribed by a medical professional, they are entirely safe and without risk. Unfortunately, that is not the truth. 1
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your System

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How Do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzos work by increasing the production of GABA cells, which slows down the central nervous system, resulting in calmness and euphoria. The benzo half-life is up to 12 hours. 1

What Are Benzos Meant to Treat?

Benzos drugs treat anxiety, sleeping issues, and work as a seizure medication. They can also be used “off-label” to soothe the effects of alcohol withdrawal. 1

Are Benzos Addictive?

Benzodiazepine addiction affects over five million people annually, roughly 2% of overall benzo prescriptions. Many other people abuse benzos, just not to the point of addiction. 2

Benzodiazepine Drug Uses

Benzodiazepine has value in a medical environment. Below are a few of the drug uses.

Seizure Disorders

Because benzodiazepine addiction affects the central nervous system, they reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures. Seizures are caused by waves of overly excited neurons. Benzos drugs slow down brain activity to counteract this effect.

Anxiety Disorders

For the same reason as seizures, benzos prevent anxiety disorders by calming brain activity. It also increases GABA in the brain, creating a sense of calm and wellbeing. A benzo drug is commonly prescribed for severe anxiety, depression, and excited mood disorders.

Insomnia or Issues with Sleeping

Insomnia can be caused by several factors, not the least of which is the brain’s inability to begin shutting down for the night. Benzos help encourage drowsiness. 1

Withdrawal from Alcohol

Withdrawal from advanced alcoholism can cause total bodily failure. A person develops shakes, irritability, body pain, and more. Benzodiazepine helps ease these symptoms. 1

Muscle Relaxants

As a sedative, benzos drugs cause muscle relaxation by increasing GABA and dulling pain receptors. The benzo half-life is lengthy, so it’s prescribed for post-surgery individuals. 1

How Long Benzos Stay in the Body

The exact time that a benzo type of drug stays in your blood depends on your health, age, gender, past drug use, and other individualized factors. But here are the averages based on the benzo half-life:

  • Blood: A benzo drug test happens in a medical environment and is administered by healthcare professionals. Because of this, blood tests are a little rarer than the other test on this list. Benzodiazepine stays in the blood for hours but is usually gone within a day of use. Benzodiazepine blood disorders and other niche complications are also detected. 3
  • Saliva: Saliva tests can detect benzodiazepine for up to two days from the last use. 3
  • Urine: When benzos drugs have been abused, they stay in the urine for up to a month and a half on average. 3
  • Hair: Hair testing for benzos is one of the most expensive tests. As such, it’s the rarest drug test. Benzodiazepines can be detected for up to a year after last use in hair samples. Hair testing for benzos can be done monthly in some cases. 4
A benzo drug test is designed to find trace amounts. That means there’s no amount minor enough to get a person high that won’t pop up on a test.

Factors Influencing How Long Benzos Stays in the Body

Here’s how your body can impact how long benzos stay in your system.
  • Individual Factors: Individual factors like age, gender, underlying conditions, etc., change how your body processes chemicals. For example, a slower metabolism means drugs stay in your system longer. Typically, older people have a slower metabolism.
  • Drug Dosage: Higher dosages take longer for the body to filter out.
  • Frequency of Use: Drug tests detect metabolites in the body. When your body metabolizes a chemical, it leaves behind metabolites. Frequent use causes these metabolites to build up in the system.
  • Use of Other Drugs: Using other drugs can strain the liver and slow the metabolism. This means drugs stay in the system longer.

Benzodiazepine Effect Timespan

Here’s how long benzos stay in your system on average.

Long-Acting Benzodiazepines

All long-acting benzos have a slow-release mechanism.
  • Valium: 4-6 hours. 5
  • Librium: 3-4 days. 6
  • Dalmane: 8 hours. 7

Intermediate Acting Benzodiazepines

Certain Benzos have a lifespan ranging between six to eleven hours.
  • Xanax: 11 hours. 8
  • Ativan: 6-8 hours. 9
  • Restoril: Up to 8 hours. 10

Short Acting Benzodiazepines

Certain Benzos have the shortest lasting half-life. They are depicted below:
  • Versed: Versed, also known as midazolam, lasts for up to 6 hours. It’s the benzo with the shortest half-life. 11
  • Halcion: Up to 7 hours. 12

Types of Drug Testing

Sweat is also used to detect benzodiazepines and other drugs. In addition to urine, hair, blood, and saliva, sweat determines drug use over an extended period. A patch is administered that will pick trace amounts of the drug for testing over weeks.

Treating Benzodiazepine Addiction

Treating benzodiazepine addiction

Treating benzodiazepine addiction is one of our specialties. There’s no one size fits all approach. We seek to provide the fastest benzo recovery and long-lasting sobriety. We do this by offering tailored treatment, various options, and a team of medical professionals. Benzodiazepine addiction doesn’t have to be endured alone. Here are a few of our programs.


The fastest benzo recovery starts with detox. We offer benzodiazepine rapid drug tests, rapid care, and dedicated professionals to help ease the initial stages of withdrawal.

Residential Care

Residential care for benzodiazepine disorders comes in inpatient and outpatient care. Both forms offer long-term care plans and a safe space for recovery.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnoses are key for people suffering from mental illness and addiction. Benzodiazepine disorders can amplify negative mental states. That’s why we provide benzodiazepine rapid drug tests to help identify and treat the cause of the problem.

Contact Stillwater Behavioral Health

Contact Stillwater Behavioral Health for treatment for you or a loved one. Call us, email us, or click contact us on the banner above for more information. It’s not too late to combat addiction. Get the help you need to recover.