Benzodiazepines not recommended for patients with PTSD or recent trauma Journal of Psychiatric Practice: July 2015 doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000091
Although BZDs are prescribed to 30% to 74% of patients with PTSD, there is little literature—and no reviews before this article—focusing exclusively on the use of BZDs to prevent or treat PTSD.
The review identified 18 studies including more than 5,200 participants who survived one or more traumas, including physical injuries, life-threatening medical conditions, combat-related trauma, sexual trauma, and disasters. Based on evidence from these studies, benzodiazepines were associated with no improvement in …..or worsening of overall severity….., psychotherapy outcomes, aggression, depression, and substance use in PTSD patients.
Because benzodiazepines have ongoing effects on memory, they may hinder patients from learning how to cope with PTSD symptoms. “Evidence-based trauma-focused psychotherapies require that patients experience and then master anxiety,” Dr. Guina and colleagues write. “Benzodiazepines can impair that experience by numbing emotions, decreasing learning efficiency, and inhibiting memory processing of material learned in therapy.”