Benzodiazepine Dependence - Treatment and Prevention

Treatment and Prevention

Benzodiazepines are regarded as a highly addictive drug class. A psychological and physical dependence can develop in as short as a few weeks but may take years to develop in other individuals. Patients wanting to withdraw from benzodiazepines typically receive little advice or support.

Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed only short-term, as there is little justification for their prescribing long-term. Some doctors however, disagree and believe long-term use beyond 4 weeks is sometimes justified, although there is little data to support this viewpoint. Such viewpoints are a minority in the medical literature.

There is no evidence that "drug holidays" or periods of abstinence reduced the risk of dependence; there is evidence from animal studies that such an approach does not prevent dependence from happening. Use of short-acting benzodiazepines is associated with interdose withdrawal symptoms, which may increase the risk of kindling; kindling has clinical relevance with regard to benzodiazepines; for example, there is an increasing shift to use of benzodiazepines with a shorter half-life and intermitant use, which can result in interdose withdrawal and rebound effects.

Read more about this topic:  Benzodiazepine Dependence

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