Posted on October 6, 2017 in Drug Addiction

Benzodiazepine Dependence Questionnaire

Benzodiazepines are a large group of prescription medications you might know better as sedatives or tranquilizers. People who use these medications for extended periods of time can develop symptoms of physical dependence, even if they follow the terms of their prescriptions. In some individuals, cases of dependence turn into diagnosable cases of abuse and addiction. Doctors can look for signs of benzodiazepine abuse and addiction with a variety of dependence questionnaires.

Understanding Benzodiazepines

The benzodiazepine family includes some of America’s most widely prescribed medications. Examples that may be familiar to you include:

  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)
  • Restoril (temazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam), and
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Less well-known examples include:

  • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
  • Serax (oxazepam), and
  • ProSom (estazolam)

Doctors use benzodiazepines to treat a range of conditions, from anxiety and insomnia to seizures and muscle spasms. The medications also frequently play a role in the treatment of panic attacks and to help manage the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Benzodiazepine Dependence Questionnaires

Benzodiazepine dependence questionnaires are specifically designed to help doctors identify patients who have undergone the brain changes that lead to physical dependence on benzodiazepines. These tests can also help doctors identify diagnosable signs of benzodiazepine abuse and addiction (both of which fall under the heading of a condition called sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder). Examples of the questionnaires in use include:

  • The Severity of Dependence Scale, a five-question test originally developed to detect the presence of opioid dependence
  • The Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptom Questionnaire, a 20-question test specifically designed to detect the uncomfortable symptoms that can appear when a dependent user stops taking benzodiazepines or rapidly decreases intake, and
  • The Benzodiazepine Dependence Questionnaire, a 30-question test that covers many aspects of dependence/abuse/addiction

All three of these questionnaires have demonstrated usefulness in helping doctors accurately detect the presence of benzodiazepine-related problems. While you can take the questionnaires on your own, only a medical professional has the skill and training required to assess your health and make a detailed diagnosis of sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder.

Resources

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration: Benzodiazepines https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/benzo.pdf

Treating Drinkers and Drug Users in the Community: Appendix 6 – The Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) Adaptation for High-Dose Non-Therapeutic Benzodiazepine Users http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470693742.app6/pdf

Journal of Affective Disorders: The Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptom Questionnaire https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1971833

Addictive Behaviors: The Benzodiazepine Dependence Questionnaire (BDEPQ) – Validity and Reliability in Mexican Psychiatric Patients                 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21481543

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