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Acad Psychiatry. 2018 Apr;42(2):297-303. doi: 10.1007/s40596-017-0750-0. Epub 2017 Jul 6.

Opinions Regarding Benzodiazepine Teaching and Prescribing Among Trainees in Psychiatry.

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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY, USA.
City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA.
New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.
Northwell Health, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY, USA.



Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed for a variety of symptoms and illnesses. There has been limited investigation on the training psychiatry residents receive regarding benzodiazepine prescribing. This study surveyed US psychiatric trainees about their didactic and clinical experience with benzodiazepines, investigating how experience with benzodiazepines may shape trainees' opinions and likelihood to prescribe.


The 14-question online survey was distributed to residents and fellows at US training programs through an invitation from their training directors.


Of 466 programs contacted, with an estimated 1345 trainees, a total of 97 programs (20.8%) and 424 trainees (31.5%) responded. The analyses focused only on the 342 general psychiatry trainees who responded. Most trainees reported having formal didactics on benzodiazepines, and earlier training was correlated with higher trainee quality of instruction assessments (p < 0.01). Most trainees rated their instructors as Above or Well Above Average. Trainees cited the observation and opinion of supervisors as the two most important factors affecting likelihood of future benzodiazepine prescribing. Trainees commonly reported pressure from patients to prescribe benzodiazepines but were split on perceived pressure from supervisors about prescribing and whether a bias exists against prescribing at their program or in general.


The survey indicated that psychiatry trainees generally feel adequately trained through didactic and clinical experience with benzodiazepines. Trainees perceived pressure by patients to prescribe benzodiazepines, but generally felt comfortable in managing benzodiazepine usage. Psychiatry attendings' opinions on benzodiazepines most impacted trainees. Influences on trainees' prescribing patterns are important variables that can impact future benzodiazepine prescribing.


Benzodiazepines; Psychopharmacology; Sedative-hypnotic-anxiolytic; Teaching

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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