Preference for diazepam in anxious adults. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated whether anxious adults desiring treatment for their anxiety would choose to take 10 mg of diazepam (Valium) or placebo after sampling both substances under double-blind conditions. Subjective effects of the drugs were also assessed, and the relationship between self-reported subjective effects and the number of times subjects chose diazepam or placebo was examined. Fourteen male and female volunteers meeting criteria for generalized anxiety disorder were recruited. They participated in a nine-session choice experiment in which they sampled diazepam 10 mg and a placebo on the first four sessions and chose whichever they preferred on the next five sessions. Only three subjects chose diazepam on all five choice occasions, no subjects chose diazepam on three or four occasions, and 11 subjects chose diazepam on two or fewer occasions. Overall, diazepam produced typical, tranquilizer-like subjective effects. However, subjective responses to diazepam differed in the 0-2-time choosers compared with the 5-time choosers: the 0-2-time choosers showed an increase on the measure of confusion, while the 5-time choosers showed decreases on measures of anxiety and confusion and increases on measures of stimulation.

publication date

  • June 1990