Benzodiazepines for anxiety – friend or foe?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) expert committee on benzodiazepines listed the following indications for benzodiazepines:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety disorders (GAD, specific phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder)
  • Anxiety in depression (as an adjunct at initiation of antidepressant therapy)
  • Schizophrenia (catatonic type, and for rapid tranquillisation)
  • Acute mania
  • Suicidal patients with prominent anxiety symptoms
  • Adjustment disorders
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Status epilepticus
  • Adjuvants in anaesthesia
  • Tardive dyskinesia, akathisia
  • Spasticity (e.g. spastic paraplegia), acute torticollis

The value of early intervention and continuity of care in schizophrenia

The focus regarding the treatment of schizophrenia has been on the management of patients during and after their first episode of psychosis. The challenge in managing the disorder more effectively would be to focus on the prevention of the illness, before the onset of the first psychotic episode, as is the case in managing abnormal lipid levels in the blood to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Novel TAARgets in the treatment of schizophrenia

Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder Type 1, have a lifetime prevalence of about 3% and are the leading cause for disability in young adults. The Psychoses are highly heterogeneous in their clinical presentations and our understanding of their underlying mechanism remains limited.


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Psych Science Vol 6 No 1 - 2023