Benzodiazepines which are commonly prescribed to alleviate anxiety or treat insomnia. have wide use in psychiatry. One of the major side effects of these medications is dependence. Because of withdrawal syndrome, patients have problems with stopping these medications .The aim of this study is to investigate the frequency of benzodiazepines use and dependence , patterns of use and demographic features of outpatients of a psychiatry centre. 524 consecutive psychiatry outpatients were selected and completed the Benzodiazepine Dependence Self-report Questionnaire. 77/1% of the patients reported previous history of benzodiazepine use. 356 were female and 168 were male . 53.8% reported dependence which was higher in men between 20-39 years old range and non-educated. Clonazepam was the most widely used drug and the majority of the dependent patients reported more than 6 month drug use. Because of high dependency on benzodiazepines and resulting adverse side effects, reconsideration of the prescribed drugs, educating the patients, restriction of drug use and replacement of other medications with less side effects, deem necessary.
KEYWORDS: Benzodiazepines, dependency, pattern of use, withdrawal symptoms, psychiatric outpatients