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In the past, benzodiazepines were the most frequently prescribed drugs for GAD and were usually obtained from family physicians (Beardsley et al. 1988). They still play an important role in the treatment of GAD. Benzodiazepines cause sedation, muscle relaxation, anxiety reduction, and increased seizure threshold (Tallman et al. 1980). Benzodiazepines have the most pronounced effects on arousal; they lower hypervigilance, inducing relaxation and, at higher doses, somnolence. Psychic symptoms are less affected by benzodiazepines (Hoehn-Saric et al. 1988; Rickels et al. 1993). In clinical doses, benzodiazepines only slightly decrease a person's tendency to worry, to ruminate, or to be hypersensitive in interpersonal relationships.

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