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Br J Psychiatry. 1989 May;154:697-704.

The damnation of benzodiazepines.

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  • Bethlem Royal Hospital, London.


It is argued that there are two kinds of benzodiazepine dependence: a therapeutic and a morbid kind. The therapeutic dependence is acceptable in that it mitigates the clinical manifestations in patients with long-standing and fluctuating anxious-depressive symptoms. The morbid dependence is an unfortunate complication which can arouse therapeutic concern because it ties patients to an excessive dosage, unless the penalty of a sometimes grim abstinence syndrome is paid on drug reduction. The present, often strident and threatening, damnation of benzodiazepines oversteps the mark and causes avoidable misery to patients whose well-being has become largely and therapeutically dependent on the drug.

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