1 in 4 older adults prescribed a benzodiazepi …

More studies need to be performed on treating withdrawal with propranolol, including testing it as a potential adjunct to tapering off both long-acting and short-acting BZD. Many studies have examined the effects of benzodiazepines on cognition with varied results. Some of the variations in results may be attributed to cognitive criteria in which each study followed. In a prospective longitudinal study on the effects of psychotropic drugs in the cognition of the elderly, Allard et al. [19] found no significant long-term effect of BZD use on cognition. This is supported in a similar study of elderly adults on a BZD for six months with drug discontinuation one month later.

  1. However, this study included a small sample size, so a larger study using this standardized counseling method would increase the validity of the results of this study [73].
  2. Characteristics of the benzodiazepine discontinuation and continuation groups were compared by using chi-square tests for categorical variables.
  3. The experimental treatment also included a BZD diary, a drinking diary, BZD withdrawal education, and assessments for ways of coping and “progressive relaxation exercise” [72].

There are indications that continuous use of benzodiazepines (BZDs) in various patient groups has a detrimental effect on cognition. Our aim was to explore the association between long-term BZD prescription, global functioning, and cognitive functioning in persons with PSD. The study cohort was restricted to community-dwelling persons in a single country with a relatively homogeneous population, which may limit generalizability.

This conflict-of-interest-based preference for SSRI treatments deprives individuals with anxiety disorders of potentially valuable treatment with BZ. Even worse, some physicians avoid prescribing them, and some patients take every pill feeling guilty or as if they are doing something against their health [2, 4]. The study explored a topic that continues to be underresearched, especially in the Balkans. Furthermore, studies on medication use of individuals with PSD are largely focused on acute/inpatient treatment.

Common withdrawal symptoms

One of the study’s limitations is the inability to collect data that differentiate mortality correlation with illicit BZD use from the use of prescribed pills. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) may offer lessons to apply in other health care settings for clinical guideline adherence to benzodiazepine-prescribing practices (3). VHA lowered benzodiazepine prescription rates through its Psychotropic Drug Safety Initiative (PDSI) (4), which focused on patient groups at higher risk of contraindications (older patients and patients with posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). Benzodiazepine prescribing declined markedly among older adults receiving VHA care, in contrast to much smaller declines in Medicare and commercial populations (3). In a medical cannabis program, veterans were less likely than nonveterans to use benzodiazepines (5). Yet in the VHA, knowledge gaps remain regarding the overall prevalence of long-term benzodiazepine use and whether some patient groups may be overlooked for discontinuation of potentially harmful benzodiazepine use.

Mental and physical health

They’re an important means of treating many conditions, ranging from mental health disorders to brain-related diseases. While these medications can treat many conditions and help millions, alcoholism: causes risk factors and symptoms they’re not without risks. If your healthcare provider prescribes one of these medications, don’t hesitate to ask for guidance, and take the medications exactly as prescribed.

How long can I stay on benzodiazepines?

Ark Behavioral Health Is an accredited drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, that believes addiction treatment should not just address “how to stay sober” but needs to transform the life of the addict and empower him or her to create a more meaningful and positive life. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful. Benzodiazepine abuse is a serious problem that warrants proper treatment for yourself or a loved one. To find the treatment that works best for you, contact us today or talk to your healthcare professional or primary care physician.

Of the 576 adults who received their first benzodiazepine prescription in 2008 to 2016, 152 still had a current or recent prescription a year later. The study only included people whose benzodiazepines were prescribed by non-psychiatrists, as the majority of older adults who use benzodiazepines have their prescriptions written by primary care physicians or other non-psychiatrists. To the best of our knowledge, the association between BZD-LT prescription (continual prescription of at least 6 months) with global functioning and cognitive functioning in PSD outpatients from a real-world setting has not been sufficiently evaluated.

As the study authors explain, these cells are activated, which leads to the deterioration and recovery of synapses (connections between nerve cells). Taking precautions is one of the best ways to protect yourself from unknowingly taking these drugs. Ethical review and approval were waived for this study due to no human subjects being involved.

Psychological symptoms include increased excitability, nightmares, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, depression, hallucinations, irritability, paranoid thoughts, social phobia, poor memory, poor concentration, delirium, and even psychosis. These symptoms may last for one to a few weeks after cessation, with duration and severity largely depending upon the amount of time spent chronically taking the BZD, the half-life of the specific BZD, and the daily dose consumed [26]. Most patients with anxiety disorders need long-term treatment to prevent recurrence of the disease. Two key issues in long-term treatment are the tolerability of pharmacological agents and withdrawal symptoms [15].

This included detailed interviews to screen for mental health issues including anxiety, depression, sleep issues and pain, as well as analysis of prescription records and other clinical data. The researchers calculated a medication possession ratio, based contingency plan examples on how many days’ supply of benzodiazepines the person had been prescribed, and how many days remained in the time the prescription was valid. They set a threshold MPR of 30 percent over the course of a year as the definition of long-term use.

Dorostkar was one of the lead researchers on an animal study, published in Nature Neuroscience, which demonstrated that the active ingredient in benzodiazepines results in a loss of neural connections in the brain. The decrease in nervous system activity makes these medications helpful for a variety of symptoms and conditions. Results showed that, compared to wild-type mice, mice on diazepam experienced longer uninterrupted sleep [42]. It also reduces the expression of mRNA transcripts such as CaMKIIa, BDNF, GIF, c-fos, NGFIa which are necessary for regulating synapses and plasticity [42]. The suppression of CaMKIIa by diazepam has a long-lasting effect leading to a limited neuronal response to changes in intracellular calcium and decreased response by GABA-A receptors [42].

Many benzodiazepines, including alprazolam, lorazepam, clonazepam, and diazepam, are controlled substances according to the U.S. Interestingly, when Baandrup et al26 examined whether objective cognitive performance would improve after BZD discontinuation by studying 80 patients with PSD, they demonstrated improvement across all cognitive domains after BZD withdrawal in chronic users. If you’re currently taking benzodiazepines for anxiety or insomnia, speak to your healthcare provider about alternatives. You may require another type of medication if your condition is severe, but in many cases anxiety and insomnia can be managed with non-medicinal therapies. Because benzodiazepines have a higher risk for misuse and can be habit-forming, healthcare providers tend to prescribe them cautiously.