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  Oct 10, 2018

Sedative Abuse

Benzodiazepines, opioid analgesics and other sedatives have indispensable medical uses, but they can also stimulate the reward center in the brain. In susceptible individuals, this can lead to sedative abuse and misuse (defined as any use of those prescription medications outside of the intent for which it was prescribed), and create a plethora of serious consequences.

Sedative use disorders are regarded as considerable contributors to disability and mortality worldwide. Despite strict government regulation of these drugs in most of the countries, their abuse and its consequences have not only persisted, but also increased. Therefore physicians who are in charge of prescribing sedatives have a significant role in reversing such trends.

One or more criteria must be satisfied in the 12-month period in order to diagnose sedative abuse (but also substance abuse in general). Those are failure to fulfill major obligations due to sedative use, their recurrent use in physically dangerous situations, recurrent legal problems, as well as continued sedative use despite social or interpersonal issues.

Epidemiology and most frequent type of abuse

Benzodiazepines are one of the most frequently prescribed psychotropic medications in the world. Abuse of benzodiazepines is