It has been demonstrated that, on abrupt withdrawal, patients with chronic exposure can experience a number of symptoms indicative of a dependent state. In clinical patients, the earliest to arise and most persistent signal of withdrawal from chronic benzodiazepine (Bzp) treatment is anxiety. In laboratory animals, anxiety-like effects following abrupt interruption of chronic Bzp treatment can also be reproduced. In fact, signs that oscillate from irritability to extreme fear behaviours and seizures have been described already. As anxiety remains one of the most important symptoms of Bzp withdrawal, in this study we evaluated the anxiety levels of rats withdrawn from diazepam. Also studied were the effects on the motor performance and preattentive sensory gating process of rats under diazepam chronic treatment and upon 48-h withdrawal on three animal models of anxiety, the elevated plus-maze (EPM), ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) and startle+prepulse inhibition tests. Data obtained showed an anxiolytic- and anxiogenic-like profile of the chronic intake of and withdrawal from diazepam regimen in the EPM test, 22-KHz USV and startle reflex. Diazepam chronic effects or its withdrawal were ineffective in promoting any alteration in the prepulse inhibition (PPI). However, an increase of PPI was achieved in both sucrose and diazepam pretreated rats on 48-h withdrawal, suggesting a procedural rather than a specific effect of withdrawal on sensory gating processes. It is also possible that the prepulse can function as a conditioned stimulus to informing the delivery of an aversive event, as the auditory startling-eliciting stimulus. All these findings are indicative of a sensitization of the neural substrates of aversion in diazepam-withdrawn animals without concomitant changes on the processing of sensory information.