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The Science of Benzos: GABA and Glutamate

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

How do benzodiazepines work? What do they do in the body? Why do they initially calm us, but then stop working? And why are they so incredibly hard to stop? When we take a look at the neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate, we find a few answers.

In today’s episode, we examine two key chemicals in the brain and discover a few insights into why withdrawal is so difficult for so many. We also answer a couple questions about support groups, spotlight two regional organizations, and hear a story from Nova Scotia, Canada.

Video ID: BFP018


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00:00 Introduction 07:50 Mailbag 12:35 Benzo News 15:24 Benzo Spotlight 19:32 Benzo Story 25:52 The Science of Benzos 42:22 Moment of Peace



The following resource links are provided as a courtesy to our listeners. They do not constitute an endorsement by Easing Anxiety of the resource or any recommendations or advice provided therein.




FEATURE: The Science of Benzos – GABA and Glutamate



In today’s intro, I decided it was time to focus on the positive. I even added some ukulele music to lighten the mood. The message was simple, why wait until your back to normal to feel happy. Grab every happy moment you can when you can. You need it those joyful moments now more than ever.



This is where we share questions and comments which were discussed:

  • QUESTION: Are there any emotional support groups or organizations specifically for families and other caregivers of those recovering from benzo use? This comment was from an anonymous listener. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good answer and didn’t know of any off-hand. I did ask for input from our listeners to see if anyone could provide one that I could share with this listener or anyone else.

  • QUESTION: Starting a withdrawal support group in NYC, can I help spread the word? This comment was from Naomi, in NYC. She first asked if I knew of any support groups in NYC, which I didn’t. But then said that she was going to start up a Meet-Up and could I help spread the word. I said I would and would add a new category to our resources just for regional support groups.


Benzo Spotlight

Today’s spotlight shined on two regional support groups in the U.K. They are Bristol and District Tranquilliser Project (BTP) and Battle Against Tranquillisers (BAT). Both groups provide one-on-one and group services to people living in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire areas. Even though these services are not available outside of this area, their websites are still useful resources.


Benzo Story

Today’s story was from Jane in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada.



Today’s featured topic: The Science of Benzos: GABA and Glutamate

In the feature, we examined the science of how benzodiazepines work inside of the body. In particular, we explored the neurotransmitter mechanisms of GABA and glutamate. Glutamate excites, and GABA inhibits, kind of like the gas pedal and the brakes on a car. Benzodiazepines enhance the actions of GABA and increase their inhibitory effect. Listen to the podcast for more detail.


The Podcast

The Benzo Free Podcast provides information, support, and community to those who struggle with the long-term effects of anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium) and Z-drugs (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata).


All content provided by Easing Anxiety is for general informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. Any health-related information provided is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems, or to prescribe any medical devices or other remedies. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it. Please visit our website for our complete disclaimer at


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Benzo Free Theme

— Title: “Walk in the Park”

— Artist: Neil Cross


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