Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia because patients respond quickly to them. Although they are meant to be short-term solutions, patients often use them for more than ten years. Long-term use is associated with tolerance, dependence, rebound anxiety and insomnia, painful withdrawal symptoms, and higher rates of falls and motor vehicle accidents. The purpose of this project is to educate patients about the dangers of using benzodiazepines and encourage consideration of safe alternative therapies for anxiety and insomnia. Results suggest that patient education in the form of a handout may effectively discourage new benzodiazepine users from continuing or starting benzodiazepine treatment. However, this is not be the case for long-term users of benzodiazepines who have become dependent and require more aggressive intervention. Preventing initiation of benzodiazepine therapy for people who have never used them before may be an effective way to address the growing benzodiazepine epidemic.
Brookfield Family Medicine, Connecticut
benzodiazepine, anxiety, insomnia
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Medical Education | Primary Care
Tsao, Jackie, "Discouraging Use of Benzodiazepines for Anxiety and Insomnia" (2018). Family Medicine Clerkship Student Projects. 390.