Perceptions of Benzodiazepine Dependence Among Women Age 65 and Older

Sarah L. Canham, Joseph Gallo, Linda Simoni-Wastila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A phenomenological study explored whether older women who are chronic benzodiazepine users identified themselves as dependent, how dependence was perceived, and how meanings and understandings shaped experiences of benzodiazepine use. Self-reported benzodiazepine dependence was associated with being unable to reduce use or a desire to discontinue use and reliance on benzodiazepines to remain comfortable and able to handle daily life. Themes included: (a) benzodiazepine dependence is similar to dependence to diabetes or blood pressure medications; (b) dependence is distinctive from addiction/abuse; (c) addiction/abuse is perceived as worse than dependence; and (d) concerns of addiction/abuse result in low-dose benzodiazepine use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)872-888
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2014


  • aging
  • prescription drug abuse
  • qualitative research
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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