On the surface, drug abuse and addiction are relatively easy to understand, yet, as more studies begin to emerge, new curveballs are forcibly thrown in the direction of scientists. As a recent study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has revealed, people who take a popular brand of sleeping pill might not be as susceptible to abuse or addiction as medical professionals previously believed. Surprisingly, when people take this drug in excess (typically opening up the door for misuse), a large portion of these subjects do not suffer from a resulting disorder. Let’s take a closer look at this study and see what NIDA uncovered about the sleep drug benzodiazepine.
Meeting Criteria for Benzodiazepine Use Disorder
Benzodiazepines are medical tranquilizers that are typically used to treat short-term anxiety and sleeping problems (insomnia). More commonly known as Xanax or Valium, these drugs are some of the most frequently prescribed sleeping aids in the United States, the use of benzodiazepines is particularly high amongst adult patients. Besides these statistics, however, experts in the field of public health have not fully calculated the ratio of benzodiazepine users to benzodiazepine use disorders. In that light, a recent study might change how scientists view this condition.
A Lower Rate of Abuse
As part of the 2015-2016 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, researchers have discovered that benzodiazepine use disorders are (for the most part) rare among adults who use the sleeping medication (even if these people are currently taking excessive amounts of the drug). For the study, investigators analyzed 102,000 adult test subjects for an ongoing period, covering medication uses for medical or psychiatric problems.
As a result, the following statistics were produced:
- 5% of adults in the United States used benzodiazepines (30.5 million people)
- 1% of adults misused benzodiazepines at least one time
- 2% of adults were diagnosed with benzodiazepine use disorders
- Concerning benzodiazepine users, 17.1% abused the drug while less than 2% of these people suffered from benzodiazepine use disorders.
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