Depressants

Understanding Depressants

Depressants

Depressants are a class of drugs used to slow down brain activity. Also referred to as sedatives, hypnotics, and tranquilizers, depressants inhibit the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS), though in varying degrees. Small doses of these medicines are used as sedatives to relieve anxiety while higher doses of these drugs (called hypnotics) are prescribed as sleeping pills to treat insomnia. Tranquilizers, on the other hand, are effective in relieving anxiety and muscle spasms.

Depressants are prescription drugs that help alleviate intense stress and anxiety, treat insomnia, and prevent seizures. However, on the flip side, all depressants have immense abuse potential. And that is why many prescription drugs of this class are illegally sold on the street. It is important to note that uncontrolled use of depressants may lead to a number of adverse effects including increased tolerance, dependence, and addiction

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Depressants

Types of Depressants

Depressants can be divided into four major categories:

  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Sedative-hypnotics or non-benzodiazepines

Alcohol

Though alcohol is not a drug depressant, it is regarded as a depressant for its ability to lower the activity of the CNS and induce a calming effect on users. Alcohol may offer momentary relief in anxiety symptoms but the user has a high risk of developing dependence and addiction. Alcohol causes intoxication and its overuse leads to staggering, slurred speech, loss of coordination, confusion, and disorientation among other side effects. Excessive alcohol consumption is also associated with deleterious effect on vital organs including the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys. In addition, alcohol users are prone to unsafe and unprotected sex, car crashes, homicide, and suicide.

Barbiturates

Barbiturates are a category of CNS depressants that include drugs like phenobarbital, mephobarbital, and pentobarbital sodium. These drugs have significantly higher risk of causing overdoses than benzodiazepines. Therefore, physicians prescribe them less frequently to manage anxiety or to relieve sleep problems. Barbiturates find their application mostly in surgical procedures and to alleviate seizures.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, including clonazepam, diazepam, and alprazolam, are prescription drugs used to treat panic attacks, anxiety, and acute stress reactions. Doctors may also prescribe clonazepam to treat other disorders like insomnia and seizure. Benzodiazepines like estazolam and triazolam belong to a class of higher degree sedatives and may be prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep-related problems. It is important to note that long-term use of benzodiazepines may raise one’s risk of developing tolerance, dependence, or addiction. Therefore, these drugs should be taken strictly under medical supervision, in recommended doses and for the designated period.

Sedative-hypnotics or Non-benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, including clonazepam, diazepam, and alprazolam, are prescription drugs used to treat panic attacks, anxiety, and acute stress reactions. Doctors may also prescribe clonazepam to treat other disorders like insomnia and seizure. Benzodiazepines like estazolam and triazolam belong to a class of higher degree sedatives and may be prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep-related problems. It is important to note that long-term use of benzodiazepines may raise one’s risk of developing tolerance, dependence, or addiction. Therefore, these drugs should be taken strictly under medical supervision, in recommended doses and for the designated period.

Mechanism of Action of Depressants

CNS depressants slow down brain activity by causing an increase in the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The activation of GABA, by virtue of inhibiting brain activity, induces drowsiness and calming effects, thereby alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and sleep disorders.

Side Effects of Depressants

Though prescribed doses of depressants have a favorable effect on anxious and sleep-deprived people, some may experience sleepiness and lack of coordination for the first few days before the body starts coping with the side effects. People using and misusing (higher risk) these drugs are prone to the following adverse effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed breathing
  • Light-headedness
  • Poor concentration
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Problems associated with memory and movement

Chronic users of depressants might require higher doses to manage their symptoms. At the same time, they are at an increased risk of dependence and withdrawal following an abrupt decrease in dosage or complete abstinence. Sudden abstinence may result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.

Invictus Health Group Treats Addiction to Depressants

Long-term use of depressants is associated with a number of health risks including chronic fatigue, breathing difficulties, depression, sleep disorders, and sexual problems. As the dependency on the drug grows, users find it difficult to deal with cravings, which in turn, flare up anxiety or feelings of panic. In most cases, people dependent on or addicted to depressants would not be able to achieve complete drug recovery on their own, owing to the withdrawal symptoms and other related problems.

At Invictus Health Group, we help such people overcome their addiction to depressants. We offer multiple therapeutic interventions such as medically assisted detox (MAT) to manage withdrawal symptoms. We provide optimum care and supervision to patients throughout the substance abuse treatment regimen and see them recover safely from their miseries.

To know more about our substance abuse treatment programs, call our 24/7 addiction treatment helpline 866-548-0190. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.

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