From the Editor

Singer Olivia Rodrigo may have a catchy song about getting a driver’s license and Ariana Grande has a ditty about past relationships, but, in the late 1960s, the Rolling Stones wrote a whole song about diazepam, “Mother’s Little Helper.” The choice of topic isn’t so surprising: between 1968 and 1982, diazepam was the most prescribed medication in the United States and commonly used around the world.

But the pendulum has swung in the other direction. Today, we hesitate on prescribing benzodiazepines like diazepam, in part because of concerns about substance misuse and dose escalation. But how addictive are these meds? How significant is dose escalation over time? Though smaller studies have sought to answer these questions, Dr. Thomas Wolff Rosenqvist (of the University of Copenhagen) and his co-authors drew on Danish databases in an important, new study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry. They looked at two decades of data involving almost a million Danes who have used benzodiazepines. “A limited portion of the population that received benzodiazepines prescriptions were classified as continuous users, and only a small proportion of this group escalated to doses higher than those recommended in clinical guidelines.” We consider the study, the editorial that accompanies it, and the implications for practice.

Denmark: beautiful buildings, rich history, great data on benzodiazepines

In this week’s other selection, Michael Dickson (of the University of South Carolina) writes about the symptoms of schizophrenia. Dickson, who is a professor of philosophy, touches on philosophical concepts but, also, on personal experience – as an individual with the illness. In a paper published by Schizophrenia Bulletin, he recalls a psychotic episode, his ongoing symptoms, and how he came to terms with the disorder. “This attitude has made life better and has made the ‘near-collapses’ much rarer.”


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