Papers And Originals

Dependence on Hypnotic Drugs in General Practice

Br Med J 1968; 4 doi: (Published 07 December 1968) Cite this as: Br Med J 1968;4:613
  1. John Johnson,
  2. A. D. Clift


    Of the patients in an industrial general practice 1.3% required hypnotic drugs regularly. They were predominantly in the older age groups (mean 62.7 years), with an excess of widows. Only 0.02% were severely dependent; the remainder were mildly so, though they had been taking hypnotics for long periods (mean 5.6 years). There were three main original indications for hypnotics—namely, medical (pain), psychiatric, and onset insomnia in anxious personality disorder. One-fifth of the patients first took hypnotics while in hospital. The group as a whole manifested a high degree of abnormal psychological disposition.

    It is suggested that many patients who take hypnotics regularly may be placebo reactors, and a more critical attitude to hypnotic prescribing is required both in hospital and in general practice.