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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Sep 1;142:105-9. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.06.020. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Quality of life in a cohort of high-dose benzodiazepine dependent patients.

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Addiction Unit, Department of Medicine, Verona University Hospital, Verona, Italy.
Alcohol Addiction Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Department of Economics, Statistics and Finance, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy.
Alcohol Addiction Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:



Benzodiazepines (BZD) are among the most widely prescribed drugs in developed countries. Since BZD can produce tolerance and dependence even in a short time, their use is recommended for a very limited time. However, these recommendations have been largely disregarded. The chronic use of BZD causes a number of serious side effects, i.e., cognitive impairment, falls, traffic accidents, dependence and tolerance. The aim of the present study was to evaluate quality of life (QoL) in a cohort of 62 consecutive high-dose BZD-dependent patients seeking a BZD detoxification.


Patients seeking BZD detoxification were evaluated using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the short form-36 questionnaire (SF-36).


Patients showed a significant reduction of QoL as measured by either SF-36 or GHQ-12. In particular, the greater impairment was observed in the items exploring physical and emotional status. Physical functioning was the item more influenced by the length of BZD abuse. Female patients showed a greater reduction of QoL compared to male, at least in some of the explored items. Social functioning scores were greatly reduced.


The present study shows for the first time that high-doses BZD dependent patients have a reduced QoL and a reduced social functioning, along with high levels of psychological distress.


BZD; Benzodiazepines; Dependence; GHQ12; Megadose; QoL; SF36; Tolerance

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