CBT for Benzo Withdrawal. Medications have largely proven unsuccessful for benzodiazepine withdrawal, but CBT looked promising in this meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials. Compared to gradual tapering without CBT, the addition of this psychotherapy allowed an extra 1 in 3 patients to successfully come off their benzodiazepine. A therapist and patient guide to this therapy is available through the Treatments That Work series (Stopping Anxiety Medication, 2009) (Takeshima M et al, Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2021 Jan 15).
Silexan Lacks Abuse Potential. In August 2020 we covered Silexan, a proprietary lavender extract, suggesting it had an effect comparable to benzodiazepines but without their addictive potential. Silexan’s lack of rewarding qualities was recently confirmed in a randomized controlled trial that allowed 40 recreational users of sedatives to try Silexan (80 and 640 mg), lorazepam (2 and 4 mg), or placebo. Silexan’s rewarding and sedative qualities were about equal to placebo and a long way away from lorazepam (Seifritz E et al, Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2020 Dec 10;pyaa064).
Cats Reduce Anxiety in Autism. This small trial randomized 11 children with autism to adopt a cat or continue with treatment as usual. After 18 weeks, cat adoption reduced anxiety, hyperactivity, and externalizing/bullying behaviors, and increased empathy. A practical tip: Cats were screened for calmness and docility with the Feline Temperament Profile (available at www.thecarlatreport.com/feline) (Carlisle GK et al, J Pediatr Nurs 2020;58:28–35).
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