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An evaluation of persisting cognitive effects after withdrawal from long-term benzodiazepine use


Twenty participants with self-reported long-term benzodiazepine use (mean 108 months) who had previously withdrawn from medication (mean 42 months) were administered a battery of neuropsychological tests. Each long-term user was case matched for age, sex, and education to two control participants who reported never taking benzodiazepines (those with and those without anxiety). The results indicated that long-term benzodiazepine use may lead to impairments in the areas of verbal memory, motor control/performance, and nonverbal memory but not visuospatial skills and attention/concentration. The length of abstinence (> 6 months) indicates that these impairments persist well beyond cessation of benzodiazepine use. However, observed impairments in the area of nonverbal memory were not solely attributable to benzodiazepine use and may be influenced by the elevated anxiety levels present in both the case and the anxious control group. (JINS, 2005, 11, 281–289.)

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Reprint requests to: Professor Simon F. Crowe, School of Psychological Science, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia. E-mail:
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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
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