Views of general practitioners and benzodiazepine users on benzodiazepines: a qualitative analysis

Soc Sci Med. 2006 Mar;62(5):1237-49. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.07.016. Epub 2005 Sep 6.


Effectively assisting benzodiazepine users to cease use requires a greater understanding of general practitioners' (GPs) and benzodiazepine users' views on using and ceasing benzodiazepines. This paper reports the findings from a qualitative study that examined the views of 28 GPs and 23 benzodiazepine users (BUs) in Cairns, Australia. A semi-structured interview was conducted with all participants and the information gained was analysed using the Consensual Qualitative Research Approach, which allowed comparisons to be made between the views of the two groups of interviewees. There was commonality between GPs and BUs on reasons for commencing benzodiazepines, the role of dependence in continued use, and the importance of lifestyle change in its cessation. However, several differences emerged regarding commencement of use and processes of cessation. In particular, users felt there was greater need for GPs to routinely advise patients about non-pharmacological management of their problems and potential adverse consequences of long-term use before commencing benzodiazepines. Cessation could be discussed with all patients who use benzodiazepines for longer than 3 months, strategies offered to assist in management of withdrawal and anxiety, and referral to other health service providers for additional support. Lifestyle change could receive greater focus at all stages of treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Qualitative Research
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Withholding Treatment


  • Benzodiazepines