Dependence on benzodiazepines

J Clin Psychiatry. 1983 Apr;44(4):121-7.


Psychotropic drugs are widely prescribed and tend to be used on a long-term basis. The barbiturates are known to induce tolerance and dependence, with a well-defined and often severe withdrawal syndrome from high doses. By contrast, the benzodiazepines are infrequently associated with tolerance and dependence at high doses. Recent work, however, has suggested that a definite withdrawal syndrome can supervene on discontinuation of long-term normal doses of benzodiazepines. In view of the widespread and chronic use of the benzodiazepines, this may represent a major problem. The theoretical implications of such normal-dose dependence are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents* / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents* / adverse effects
  • Anxiety Disorders / chemically induced
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Rats
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines