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Title: Psychological correlates of long-term benzodiazepine use in a primary care population
Author: Quigley, April
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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Objectives: long-term use of benzodiazepine medication results in dependence, tolerance, withdrawal symptomatology, and reduced pharmacological efficacy. In addition, long-term use of benzodiazepines can have adverse effects on cognitive, psychomotor and psychological functioning. In response to these problems prescribing guidelines clearly discourage the long-term use of benzodiazepines. The aim of the study was to examine the long-term use of benzodiazepine medication in a primary care population. The study included patients who were prescribed benzodiazepines by their general practitioners for sleep problems. Detailed information was collected regarding psychopathology, sleep difficulties and benzodiazepine dependence in this patient group with the aim of establishing whether a common psychological profile prevailed amongst those individuals who had been taking prescribed benzodiazepine medication for longer than the recommended period of time. This research study could therefore offer support to general practitioners by providing a greater psychological understanding of this client group, and mis knowledge could inform alternative treatment options. Results: Results found significant psychopathology (somatisation and phobic anxiety) in long-term benzodiazepine users. Anxiety was found to significantly predict benzodiazepine dependence and sleep difficulties. The use of long-term benzodiazepine medication did not relieve sleep difficulties. Older benzodiazepine users and daily benzodiazepine users were significantly less psychologically minded than younger users and non-daily users. Conclusion: The study concluded that long-term benzodiazepine use is ineffective in treating sleep difficulties and it would appear that anxiety is a significant feature in this cohort. Therefore, the study proposes that to address the problem of long-term benzodiazepine use in the primary care setting, psychological approaches should be employed to treat anxiety and sleep difficulties.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available