The Use of Benzodiazepines in Anxiety Disorders

  • Frank E. Cashman


For the past three decades the benzodiazepines have been among the most widely used prescription medications (Blackwell, 1975; Mellinger, Balter, Uhlenhuth, 1984). These drugs have been viewed both as a panacea for the treatment of anxiety and as drugs which have similarities, in addictive potential, to the opiates and barbiturates (Gordon, 1979). Clinical trials have demonstrated (Greenblatt & Shader, 1974) or questionned (Bowden & Fisher, 1980) their efficacy, addictive potential and propensity for misuse (Marks et al., 1981). Soon after the introduction of these drugs authors warned against chronic use (Hollister, Motzenbecker, & Degan, 1961) and stressed the potential for addiction. Some investigators continue to see these drugs as dangerous and cite cases of serious addiction (Cooperstock & Jill, 1982; Petursson & Lader, 1984) while others feel that the benzodiazepines are safe and, while not advocating their indiscriminate use, suggest that abuse is minimal (Rickels, 1983; Marks, 1978). The benzodiazepines are therefore a group of drugs that are popular with some physicians and their patients while decidedly unpopular with others (Gordon, 1979).


Anxiety Disorder Withdrawal Symptom Severe Withdrawal Withdrawal Reaction Anticipatory Anxiety 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank E. Cashman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clarke Institute of PsychiatryUSA
  2. 2.University of TorontoCanada

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