Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 330–335 | Cite as

Major Depression and Sedative-Hypnotic Use Disorder: a Review

  • Lian-Yu ChenEmail author
  • Christopher N. Kaufmann
  • Ramin Mojtabai
Dual Diagnosis (T George and A Hassan, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Dual Diagnosis


Purpose of Review

Nonmedical use or addiction of sedative-hypnotics is commonly seen among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this article is to review the prevalence of, the relationship between, and the current treatment of MDD comorbid with sedative-hypnotic use disorder.

Recent Findings

Approximately 3–5% of general population is prescribed sedative-hypnotic medications and prescribing of these agents is more common in women and the elderly. About 2.3% of the US population reported using hypnotics nonmedically, with 0.6% reporting using sedatives nonmedically. Among these nonmedical sedative-hypnotic users, 9.8% met criteria for sedative use disorders. MDD was found to be associated with higher odds of sedative-hypnotics both in adult and adolescent population; however, very few studies examined specifically the prevalence of sedative-hypnotic use disorders in MDD patients. The main motive to misuse or abuse these medications is self-medication of sleep and anxiety problems. In addition, the relationship between MDD and sedative-hypnotic use disorders seems bidirectional. While MDD is a risk factor for the development of sedative-hypnotic use disorder, long-term use of these medications could lead to occurrence of MDD. Thus, it is crucial to offer integrated program that could treat both MDD and sedative-hypnotic use disorder simultaneously.


Adequate treatment of MDD and earlier identification of sedative-hypnotic use problems are essential for the treatment of MDD with sedative-hypnotic use disorder. A more integrated treatment program that fulfills the need of patients with both mental and addiction problems should be developed and expanded.


Dual diagnosis Sedative-hypnotic use disorder Major depressive disorder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lian-Yu Chen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christopher N. Kaufmann
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ramin Mojtabai
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Addiction Psychiatry, Taipei City Psychiatric CenterTaipei City HospitalTaipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive MedicineNational Taiwan UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on AgingUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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