Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 297–303 | Cite as

Opinions Regarding Benzodiazepine Teaching and Prescribing Among Trainees in Psychiatry

  • Amir Garakani
  • Hussain M. Abdullah
  • Christine M. Chang
  • Nathaniel Mendelsohn
  • Kyle A.B. Lapidus
Empirical Report



Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed for a variety of symptoms and illnesses. There has been limited investigation on the training psychiatry residents receive regarding benzodiazepine prescribing. This study surveyed US psychiatric trainees about their didactic and clinical experience with benzodiazepines, investigating how experience with benzodiazepines may shape trainees’ opinions and likelihood to prescribe.


The 14-question online survey was distributed to residents and fellows at US training programs through an invitation from their training directors.


Of 466 programs contacted, with an estimated 1345 trainees, a total of 97 programs (20.8%) and 424 trainees (31.5%) responded. The analyses focused only on the 342 general psychiatry trainees who responded. Most trainees reported having formal didactics on benzodiazepines, and earlier training was correlated with higher trainee quality of instruction assessments (p < 0.01). Most trainees rated their instructors as Above or Well Above Average. Trainees cited the observation and opinion of supervisors as the two most important factors affecting likelihood of future benzodiazepine prescribing. Trainees commonly reported pressure from patients to prescribe benzodiazepines but were split on perceived pressure from supervisors about prescribing and whether a bias exists against prescribing at their program or in general.


The survey indicated that psychiatry trainees generally feel adequately trained through didactic and clinical experience with benzodiazepines. Trainees perceived pressure by patients to prescribe benzodiazepines, but generally felt comfortable in managing benzodiazepine usage. Psychiatry attendings’ opinions on benzodiazepines most impacted trainees. Influences on trainees’ prescribing patterns are important variables that can impact future benzodiazepine prescribing.


Benzodiazepines Psychopharmacology Teaching Sedative-hypnotic-anxiolytic 



We would like to acknowledge and thank Nancy Delanoche from the American Psychiatric Association for her help with distribution of the survey. We would also like to thank Lucy Swank for her editorial assistance. And, we would also like to thank all the training directors and trainees for their participation in our survey.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was reviewed by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Institutional Review Board and qualified for exemption under 45 CFR 46.101(b)(2) part 46 requirements (US Department of Health and Human Services Policy for Protection of Human Research Subjects).


Dr. Lapidus reports non-financial support and other from Halo Neuroscience, non-financial support from Medtronic, non-financial support from Neuronetics, non-financial support and other from Brainsway, non-financial support from Roche, personal fees from FCB Health, personal fees and non-financial support from SmartAnalyst, personal fees and non-financial support from Cipla, personal fees from LCN Consulting, other from New York Neuromodulation, outside the submitted work. In addition, Dr. Lapidus has a patent System and Method for Controlled Medical Therapy pending. Dr. Garakani, Dr. Abdullah, Dr. Chang, and Dr. Mendelsohn all have nothing to disclose.

Funding Sources



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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amir Garakani
    • 1
  • Hussain M. Abdullah
    • 2
  • Christine M. Chang
    • 3
  • Nathaniel Mendelsohn
    • 4
  • Kyle A.B. Lapidus
    • 5
  1. 1.Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Westchester Medical CenterValhallaUSA
  3. 3.City of HopeDuarteUSA
  4. 4.New York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Northwell Health, Lenox Hill HospitalNew YorkUSA

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