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Benzodiazepine Abuse (cont.)

Benzodiazepine Abuse Prognosis

Benzodiazepine abuse or addiction often occurs with other problems (comorbidity). For example, individuals who abuse benzodiazepines often also abuse opiates.

Although benzodiazepines are commonly abused, they rarely cause serious illness or death unless combined with other drugs. Consultation with poison specialists is usually unnecessary. A psychiatrist, however, is often asked to interview anyone seen in the emergency department before sending the person home. This is done if there is any concern that the overdose was swallowed intentionally and that the person may be at risk of harming himself or herself or others.

Benzodiazepine Abuse Prevention

As is true in the prevention and treatment of most health problems, knowledge is power in preventing benzodiazepine abuse. Specifically, for example, educating individuals who are either being newly treated with benzodiazepines or have been prescribed a benzodiazepine for some time seem to be more often able to be appropriately taken off the medication when provided with sound information and encouraged to actively participate in the care for their condition and treatment.

Medically reviewed by Marina Katz, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

REFERENCES:

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

Assem-Hilger, E., S. Jungwirth, S. Weissgram, W. Kirchmeyr, P. Fischer, and C. Barnas. "Benzodiazepine Use in the Elderly: An Indicator for Inappropriately Treated Geriatric Depression?" Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 24.6 June 2009: 563-569.

Blunk, M., and K. Williams. "Early Identification, Treatment and Interventions for the Prevention of Benzodiazepine Dependence With Anxiety Disorders." Mental Health and Substance Use 4.4 (2011).

Rapeli, P., C. Fabritius, H. Kalska, and H. Alho. "Memory Function in Opioid-Dependent Patients Treated With Methadone or Buprenorphine Along With Benzodiazepine: Longitudinal Change in Comparison to Healthy Individuals." Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy 4 (2009): 6.

Simoni-Wastila, L., G. Ritter, and G. Strickler. "Gender and Other Factors Associated With the Nonmedical Use of Abusable Prescription Drugs. Substance Use and Misuse 39.1 (2004): 1-23.

Uzun, S., O. Kozumplik, M. Jakovlievic, and B. Sedic. "Side Effects of Treatment With Benzodiazepines." Psychiatric Danub 22.1 Mar. 2010: 90-93.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2016

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