Long-Term Use of Pills for Anxiety and Sleep Linked to Dementia

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Up to 43 percent of older adults use benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, etc.) for anxiety and insomnia, often chronically, even though their long-term effectiveness and safety remain unproven.

International guidelines recommend short-term use of benzodiazepines, because they cause withdrawal symptoms that make discontinuation problematic. Despite this, many seniors take them for years instead of a few weeks, as is recommended.

But research has found another reason to avoid their long-term use, as new data suggests they're associated with the leading cause of dependency in older people… dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
 

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