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Review
, 77 (1), 7-15

[Benzodiazepine Dependence: Causalities and Treatment Options]

[Article in German]
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Review

[Benzodiazepine Dependence: Causalities and Treatment Options]

[Article in German]
A Heberlein et al. Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr.

Abstract

Benzodiazepines are very often prescribed because of their anxiolytic, sedative and hypnotic properties. However, long term treatment is associated with development of benzodiazepine dependence. Besides development of physical dependence, which is linked to a typical benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome when drug intake is discontinued, also behavioural addiction to benzodiazepines has been described. Benzodiazepines are known to enhance GABAergic neurotransmission. Counter regulation of enhanced GABAergic neurotransmission by enhancement of glutamatergic neurotransmission is thought to be one reason underlying the typical symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Also alterations in the expression of neuropeptides like Corticotropin Releasing Hormone and Neuropeptide Y are thought to be involved in the development of benzodiazepine dependence. However, until today the knowledge of neural mechanisms underlying the development of benzodiazepine dependence remains incomplete. Because even long term treatment with small doses of benzodiazepines is associated with adverse reactions like cognitive dysfunctions withdrawal from benzodiazepines should be aimed. Anticonvulsants and antidepressants seem to reduce the intensity of benzodiazepine withdrawal and to enhance long term prognosis of dependence.

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