Benzodiazepine abuse decreases after low-cost community depression recovery program
A PLEASANT SIDE EFFECT
Nedley Clinic discovers that not only is there a decrease in depressive symptoms but a distinct reduction in benzodiazepine use after a low-cost 8-week community depression recovery program.
The findings were presented at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 25th Annual Meeting. An observational study of more than 300 participants from 7 countries who had moderate depression and who acknowledged use of benzodiazepines at baseline showed significantly lowered depression scores at the end of the 8-week program. Plus, 13% of those who had been taking benzodiazepines on an irregular basis stopped using them altogether, and 24% of those who had been taking them more than twice a month decreased or stopped use.
“Our focus in the program isn’t on benzodiazepines, but this was a nice side effect,” lead author Francisco Ramirez, MD. “Emphasis is also given to overcoming the usage of substances that can create an addictive relationship,” Dr. Ramirez adds.
The study’s eight 2-hour, once-weekly, lifestyle-focused depression treatment program teaches participants about exercise, rest, and nutrition, as well as temperance and the use of spiritual resources to improve depression and anxiety. They watch pre-recorded presentations of Neil Nedley, MD, presenting materials on mental health and the science linked to improving depression and anxiety. Participants are taught various lifestyle habits such as nutrition, physical exercise, circadian rhythms, bright light, sleep, avoiding negative distorted thought, enhancing frontal lobe function, and making and staying with positive lifestyle choices. After the presentation, participants are divided into professionally facilitated small groups where the material presented and how it can be incorporated into their lives is discussed. After completing the program, a final 75 item questionnaire is given to complete their assessment.
“This study demonstrates that an 8-week community-based depression recovery program can be an effective tool to help participants overcome the usage of benzodiazepines,” said Neil Nedley, MD.
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 25th Annual Meeting: Abstract 21, presented December 5, 2014.