Good Morning and Welcome to HealingWell,
Dependence and abuse are adverse effects of benzodiazepines. Long-term use can result in a withdrawal syndrome, so the drugs are often prescribed for a few weeks only.
However, there are ways to minimize the withdrawal syndrome, usually by very gradually decreasing the dose, so long-term use of the drugs is appropriate when needed.
Non Benzodiazepine drugs used to treat anxiety include buspirone (BuSpar).
This, and similar drugs in this group (called azapirones), cause less sedation than the benzodiazepines, and do not have muscle relaxant or anticonvulsant effects. Side effects are minimal, and dependence seems less likely than with the benzodiazepines.
Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril), which is an antihistamine, is also occasionally used for anxiety and sedation. I have not read that Atarax is addicting but you can become psychologically dependent on any medication.
For weaning from the benzo, a very slow wean is the best way to go and please due talk with your physician re weaning off slowly. Also discuss what withdrawal sx you are likely to encounter.
I weaned off Ativan, 4mg/day using Valium as a substitute as you can cut the dose of Valium slowly, it took me over 6 months but I had no withdrawal sx and my Doctor supported me all the way.
Take care and good luck.