Our research paper on BIND is still getting attention from academia and the media almost three weeks after its publication. In the last week alone, the study was picked up by the U.S. Sun, Forbes, and Vanderbilt University, among others.
The paper, "Long-term consequences of benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction: A survey," published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, was the third paper on the Benzodiazepine Survey of 2018/2019, and it formally introduced the term benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction (BIND) into medical literature. Research team members include Alexis Ritvo, MD, MPH (University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus), Christy Huff, MD (Benzodiazepine Information Coalition), A. J. Reid Finlayson, MD, MMHC & Peter R. Martin, MD, MSc (Vanderbilt University Medical Center), Bernard Silvernail (The Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices) and D E Foster (Easing Anxiety, author of this article).
Highlights from Recent Articles
Of particular note this past week, is the article from Vanderbilt University Medical Center titled "Study highlights consequences of chronic benzodiazepine use." This article highlighted two distinguished members of the research team who call Vanderbilt University Medical Center home: Dr. Peter Martin, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and senior author of the study, and Dr. Reid Finlayson, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Benzodiazepines are toxic to brain functioning, especially to the anxiety mechanisms in the brain — Dr. Peter Martin, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
In this article by VUMC Reporter Danny Bonvissuto, Drs. Martin and Finlayson shared some insight into the effects of benzodiazepines on the brain and body. This study identified that more than 50% of the respondents to the survey had suicidal thoughts or had attempted suicide. The author also cautioned that, "because benzodiazepines change the biochemistry of the brain, they require a slow tapering process to avoid elevated blood pressure, anxiety and seizures."
[Benzodiazepine] is an anesthetic agent generally assumed to be helpful for anxiety symptoms. There are a few studies that, unfortunately, show worse outcomes for anxiety symptoms, particularly if the benzodiazepine use exceeds several weeks. — Dr. Reid Finlayson, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Another team member and co-originator of the study, Christy Huff, MD, was interviewed for the Sun article in which she shared that, "[benzodiazepines] can take months to years to fully resolve." The Sun article also highlighted the correlation between benzodiazepine use and physical aggression, sexual disinhibition, impulsive decision-making, and acts of physical violence. According to a 2018 report from Cambridge University Press, "benzodiazepines act by reducing 5HT (serotonin) neurotransmission, which may, in turn, lead to aggressive behavior."
The continuing coverage of this research is raising awareness and improving opportunities for education. We welcome the feedback and inquiries it has generated.
Bonvissuto, Danny. Study highlights consequences of chronic benzodiazepine use. VUMC Reporter, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. July 19, 2023. https://news.vumc.org/2023/07/19/study-highlights-consequences-of-chronic-benzodiazepine-use/.
Ghlionn, John Mac. BENZO ABUSE Xanax and other anxiety medications linked to horror side effects including ‘aggression and acts of violence’. The U.S. Sun. July 15, 2023. https://www.the-sun.com/health/8567743/xanax-anxiety-medications-linked-aggression-violence-seizures/.
Paton, C. (2002). Benzodiazepines and disinhibition: A review. Psychiatric Bulletin,26(12), 460-462. doi:10.1192/pb.26.12.460. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychiatric-bulletin/article/benzodiazepines-and-disinhibition-a-review.
Ritvo AD, Foster DE, Huff C, Finlayson AJR, Silvernail B, Martin P. (2023) Long-term consequences of benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction: A survey. PLOS ONE 18(6): e0285584. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0285584.
Varanasi, Anuradha. Benzodiazepine Use Might Result In Long-Term Neurological Dysfunction. Forbes. July 11, 2023. https://www.forbes.com/sites/anuradhavaranasi/2023/07/11/benzodiazepine-use-might-result-in-long-term-neurological-dysfunction.