This study was undertaken to evaluate the therapeutic value of representative drugs of the phenothiazine, benzodiazepine, and tricyclic classes for treatment of anxiety and depression in detoxified alcoholic patients. Drugs were prescribed in the dose ranges ordinarily used for treatment of patients with similar symptom manifestations but without alcohol histories.
Results clearly suggest that the benzodiazepine was less effective at the low-dose level than were the phenothiazine or tricyclic drugs. Crosstolerance between alcohol and benzodiazepines is proposed as a possible explanation for the results. The results may have implications, not only for the management of alcoholic patients, but also for the use of psychotropic drugs in the treatment of anxiety and depression in other patients with histories of alcohol abuse.