June 1986

Lack of Preference for Diazepam in Anxious Volunteers

Author Affiliations

From the Drug Abuse Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(6):533-541. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800060023004

• Using a choice procedure, these experiments tested whether diazepam is more highly preferred by anxious subjects than by normal control subjects. Subjects first sampled and then chose between two capsules containing diazepam (5 or 10 mg) and placebo, or amphetamine (5 mg) and placebo. The number of times each drug was chosen over placebo and the subjective effects of the drugs were measured. Anxious subjects did not differ from controls in their drug choices. Most subjects chose diazepam less often than placebo, especially at the higher dose, whereas they chose amphetamine more often than placebo. The subjective drug effects (including anxiety reduction after diazepam) were similar for anxious and nonanxious subjects, despite predrug differences in anxiety. The results suggest that individuals with high anxiety are not at greater risk for dependence on antianxiety drugs.