Benzodiazepine addiction, abuse and withdrawal syndrome: a literature review

Vytautas Steponavičius1, Brigita Klimbytė1, Simona Petkutė1

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania


Benzodiazepines were first introduced in 1959. Benzodiazepine dependence has been reported shortly after their introduction. These reports were later based on animal and human studies. Despite concerns about the potential harmful effects of long-term benzodiazepine use, benzodiazepines remain one of the most widely prescribed classes of drugs in the world. Abuse and dependence on these drugs are widespread worldwide and develop within 2-6 weeks. Discontinuation of the drug is recommended by slow dose reduction, but even today the administration and discontinuation of benzodiazepines cause not only addiction problems but also withdrawal syndrome.

Keywords: benzodiazepine, abuse, addiction, withdrawal syndrome.