Predictors of benzodiazepine use in a transdiagnostic sample of panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder patients

Luana D. Laurito, Carla P. Loureiro, Rafaela V. Dias, Paula Vigne, Gabriela B. de Menezes, Rafael C. Freire, Ulrich Stangier, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the rates of current and past benzodiazepine (BZD) use in a sample of 102 subjects attending specialized anxiety disorder clinics, including panic disorder (PD; N = 36), social anxiety disorder (SAD; N = 28) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD; N = 38) patients. Almost 56% of the entire sample was using BZDs at the moment of the assessment, and 74.5% described having used them at some point during their lifetimes. The duration of psychiatric treatment and a lifetime history of PD, but not any other “transdiagnostic” measure of severity (such as the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale, the Social Phobia Inventory, the Dimensional Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-36, and the Beck Inventories) were independent risk factors for current prescription of BZDs. Patients who continued to use BZDs differed from patients who stopped them by being older (both currently and when firstly seen in the clinic), by having a later age at onset of their most significant anxiety disorder, by being more agoraphobic/avoidant, and by believing to be less capable of stopping their BZDs for the fear of not being able to sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social phobia
  • Substance abuse

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