[Anxiety level and addiction to first-time prescriptions of anxiolytics: a psychometric study]

Presse Med. 2008 Nov;37(11):1555-60. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2007.10.019. Epub 2008 May 23.
[Article in French]


Context: The anxiety epidemic and its corollary, the widespread prescription of anxiolytics, present a public health problem in view of the risk of addiction to these drugs.

Objective: To assess the level of anxiety and addiction in the borderline population at risk of addiction.

Design: The study analyzed a series of patients in the third month of their first prescription for anxiolytics. It used two validated scales: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD), and a French scale measuring addiction (the "Echelle Cognitive d'Attachement aux Benzodiazepines" or ECAB).

Result: 83% of patients were still anxious at the third month of treatment. 23% had become addicted.

Discussion: There is a contradiction between the prolonged prescription and use of anxiolytics, which are associated with a risk of addiction, and professional guidelines that recommend short treatment for outpatients using these drugs for the first time.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alprazolam / adverse effects
  • Alprazolam / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety Disorders / classification*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use
  • Bromazepam / adverse effects
  • Bromazepam / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / classification
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France
  • General Adaptation Syndrome / classification
  • General Adaptation Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Phobic Disorders / classification
  • Phobic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Bromazepam
  • Alprazolam