A holistic approach to treating benzodiazepine dependency: the rural and regional perspective

A holistic approach to treating benzodiazepine dependency: the rural and regional perspective

Benzodiazepine dependency remains a challenging clinical presentation for medical, AOD, and mental health services. For individuals presenting for treatment, the silos between healthcare services involved in benzodiazepine treatment are problematic and most evident in rural and regional areas. As Reconnexion is a state-wide service specialising in benzodiazepine treatment, we are uniquely positioned to tackle this issue and invested in a program of work to increase collaboration and treatment pathways in regional Victoria (i.e., with primary care clinics, hospitals, community health centres, and AOD services). Lessons learned from our experience canvassing these services will be covered, including GP perspectives on working with AOD services and barriers to integration and referral between different health services. This presentation will also outline future steps for AOD services to improve collaboration across sectors and regions.


Erin Oldenhof Benzodiazepine Counsellor, Reconnexion

Dr Erin Oldenhof is a psychologist and benzodiazepine counsellor at Reconnexion and adopts a trauma-informed approach to supporting clients to reduce their benzodiazepines and z-drugs safely. As a research fellow at Deakin University and the research coordinator at Reconnexion, Erin’s research focuses on improving the patient-centredness of benzodiazepine deprescribing.

Adam Engel Benzodiazepine Counsellor, Reconnexion

Adam Engel is a benzodiazepine counsellor at Reconnexion and leads the rural and regional program. He has extensive experience working with benzodiazepine dependency and associated mental health presentations such as anxiety and insomnia. Adam is particularly interested in taking a personality, and individual differences approach to mental health and addiction.

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