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Benzodiazepine Prescribing and Recognition of a Substance Use Disorder

Author: Dana Bartlett, BSN, MSN, MA, CSPI
(Click author's name for bio)

CE: 2 hours Pharmacology: 0.5 hour
Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 based on 11292 reviews

Course Summary

Benzodiazepines have been widely prescribed for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, psychiatric emergencies, and seizures. Neuro-inhibitory processes take place with the use of benzodiazepines, and patients need to be advised of both the benefit and risks of drug use.  Special attention should be given to vulnerable populations such as the elderly when prescribing benzodiazepines. Chronic use of these drugs may lead to chemical craving and the development of a substance use disorder. Because of this risk, patients who are prescribed benzodiazepines require adequate monitoring and follow-up to avoid the misuse of these drugs. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) a benzodiazepine use disorder is generally regarded as a sedative-hypnotic-anxiolytic use disorder and is assigned a corresponding International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 code based on the DSM-5 level of severity. Levels of benzodiazepine use and treatment for the development of a substance use disorder are discussed.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

I.        Introduction
II.       Benzodiazepines
III.      Benzodiazepine Use Disorder Under DSM-5 and ICD
IV.      Prevalence of Benzodiazepine Use
V.       Pharmacology of Benzodiazepines
1.        Adverse Effects
VI.      Epidemiology of Benzodiazepine Use Disorder
VII.     Diagnosis of Benzodiazepine Use Disorder
1.        Risk Factors
2.        Clinical Characteristics
VIII.     Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
IX.       Clinical Characteristics of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
X.        Treatment: Benzodiazepine Use Disorder
1.        Pharmacological Management
2.        Dosing Regimens
3.        Adjunctive Drug Therapy
4.        Flumazenil
XI.       Psychotherapy
XII.      Case Study: Benzodiazepine Use Disorder
XIII.     Summary


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