Addiction can cause a multitude of problems for a person, in the short and long term. Every year, millions of people abuse drugs and use them recreationally. Depressant drugs are some of the most abused drugs out on the market. Depressant drugs tend to slow down the brain’s activity. When used properly, depressants can help treat conditions and relax a person.

Addiction can cause a multitude of problems for a person, in the short and long term. Every year, millions of people abuse drugs and use them recreationally. Depressant drugs are some of the most abused drugs out on the market. Depressant drugs tend to slow down the brain’s activity. When used properly, depressants can help treat conditions and relax a person. 

As with all prescribed drugs, depressants can have several negative issues on a person’s mind and body when abused. Abuse happens when someone uses a drug in a way that was not intended by a medical professional. Abuse also comes down to how much of a particular depressant a person is consuming. There are several different types of depressants, each used to treat different conditions. 

A Closer Look at Depressants and Their Use

Over time, a person abusing depressants will slowly develop an addiction. With most drugs, depressants not only affect the body but the mind as well. If you are concerned that a loved one or a friend may be dealing with a depressant addiction, it may be time to get treatment. Let Unity Behavioral Health be your guide towards a better future for you and your family. With years of experience in drug addiction, our team is ready to help you today.

What Are Depressants?

Depressants (also known as ‘downers’) are substances that decrease brain stimulation while depressing the central nervous system. There are several different types of depressants, each used to treat a variety of conditions. Depressants can be used to treat the following disorders:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Sleep disorders
  • Seizures
  • Pain
  • Panic attacks

Types of Depressants

While there may be different types of depressants, they can all be just as addictive as the last. As with all drug classes, depressants should be used as instructed by a medical professional. Another common name for depressants is sedatives or tranquilizers (which are a part of some specific depressants). When used as instructed, depressants can help relieve some of the symptoms and effects of specific disorders. Depressants affect the neurotransmitter named gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and create a feeling of drowsiness and relaxation. It is this component that makes it a widely abused drug.  

Types of Depressants

While there may be different types of depressants, they can all be just as addictive as the last. As with all drug classes, depressants should be used as instructed by a medical professional. Another common name for depressants is sedatives or tranquilizers (which are a part of some specific depressants). The major categories of depressants include the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Sleeping Pills (most of them)
  • Opioids

Depressants cover a handful of different drugs and prescription medication. Some of these can be bought and acquired over the counter, while others are not. Depressants addiction can develop within anyone, sometimes without them even realizing it. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and effects associated with depressant abuse. Let’s take a closer look at the common forms of depressants. 

Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world. What many people don’t know is that alcohol is considered a depressant. Alcohol affects the brain in several ways and has many different effects on a person’s life. The amount of which alcohol affects the nervous system and brain is dependent on how much and how fast a person drinks. While a few drinks to loosen up is completely normal, the more someone drinks the worse things can get. 

The more someone drinks, the higher chance they have of experiencing negative emotional effects. While many people may drink alcohol to ease the effects of anxiety – it typically has the opposite effect. Alcohol exasperates stress and anxiety instead of easing it. Alcohol also creates negative emotions like anger, depression, and overall aggression. This can also lead to a slippery slope of withdrawal, addiction, and dependence on alcohol. 

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines (also referred to as benzos) are central nervous system depressants that are used to treat various conditions. Benzos are used to treat anxiety, convulsions, sleep disorders, and other stresses. Benzos come in many different brand names and are used for various different disorders. Common benzos on the market include:

  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Ativan
  • Restoril
  • Dalmane
  • Klonopin

Benzos are particularly useful in cases of insomnia and anxiety because of its sleep-inducing, sedative properties. While benzos are safe and effective when taken in the short-term if taken in the long-term, benzos can be extremely addictive and problematic. A person can form tolerance and end up building a dangerous tolerance to the drug. Benzos should be taken as instructed. 

Barbiturates

Barbiturates (also called ‘downers’) are a type of depressant drug that is used to treat anxiety, tension, sleep disorders, and other conditions. At one point in time, barbiturates were considered safe but problems with abuse and other issues have started to become an issue. Barbiturates come in many forms, some of which include Luminal, Mebaral, Seconal, and Amytal among others. Even when taken in small doses, barbiturates have a tendency to create euphoria and a feeling of relaxation.

Barbiturates are especially effective when it comes to sleeping patterns. They have the potential to induce suppressed REM sleep. Due to its addictive nature and high abuse rates, benzodiazepines eventually replaced them. Benzos are considered to be less addictive and not as likely to result in an overdose. Barbiturates are no longer used to treat cases of sleep disorders or anxiety. 

Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are commonly used by millions of people every single year. Sleeping pills cover a wide umbrella of different brands and include non-benzodiazepine sleeping aids. These include Sonata, Lunesta, and Ambien. The main use of these drugs is to treat cases of sleeping disorders like insomnia. Non-benzodiazepine sleeping aids do not reduce or help with anxiety. Additionally, sleeping pills are less risky than benzodiazepines when it comes to addiction. However, a person can still become addicted to sleeping pills and even grow dependent on them. 

Opioids

Opioids are some of the most prescribed pain medication in the United States (and around the globe). Opioids are also some of the most abused drugs out on the market as well. Some opioids are actually used to treat opioid addiction (such as methadone). With the number of legal opioids, comes a handful of illegal opioids. Heroin is one of the more known forms of illegal opioids. Legal forms of opioids include prescription medications, hydrocodone, and codeine.

Opioids vary greatly from each other, in severity and addictiveness. However, most opioids are very similar when it comes to their chemical composition. They also have much for the same effects. Opioids are extremely effective in treating different spectrums of pain. With this in mind, opioids can be extremely addictive and dangerous when abused. Opioid overdose and death have continued to take the lives of thousands of people every year. 

The Effects of Depressants on the Body 

As with all drugs, depressant drugs have their own effects on the body and the mind. When abused, a person can grow tolerant to its effect, which requires a person to take more if it for the desired effect. It is imperative to be knowledgeable about these signs and symptoms in loved ones or friends. 

Depressant drugs slow down the brain’s activity and create a sense of relaxation and drowsiness. Along with these effects, are a number of other symptoms as well: 

  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Fatigue and sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Slurred speech
  • Decreased coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Blackouts
  • Problems urinating
  • Troubles focusing or concentrating

The long-term effects of depressant drugs differ in severity and can have a multitude of problems on a person’s body and mind. Depressant drugs should be taken as advised and not abused. Long-term effects of depressant drugs use include:

  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Problems breathing and sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Addiction
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dependence on depressant drugs

Signs of Possible Addiction to Depressants 

There are a number of behavioral signs that may signify an addiction in a loved one. It’s important to be aware of these signs so you can get help fast. A depressant addiction can be extremely stressful and dangerous if left untreated. Don’t wait to reach out for help if you notice any of these effects. Common signs of depressants addiction include:

  • Problems at work and in their social life
  • Guilty and secretive behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased energy and lack of motivation
  • Attempting to stop drug use but not being able to 
  • Depression and apathy

The Withdrawal Effects of Depressant Drugs and When to Seek Treatment 

When someone stops using depressant drugs, their body may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Some depressant drugs are so strong they can affect the brain’s chemistry. Withdrawal symptoms can be seen anywhere between 12 and 24 hours of not using. In some cases, people who experience barbiturate or benzo sedative withdrawals will experience a sort of rebound effect. Rebound in this case refers to the condition they were using benzos or barbiturate for comes back stronger than before. 

Withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and unpredictable at times. This is why it is recommended to get a medically assisted detox rather than doing it yourself (‘cold-turkey’). At Unity Behavioral Health, we want to make sure your treatment goes smoothly and safely. You should never attempt to detox alone, let us help you today. The withdrawal effects of stopping depressant drugs use include: 

  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Body tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in perception
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Shaking
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscular stiffness or pain
  • Stress

Depressant Addiction Treatment

At Unity, we provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment to help you or a loved one recovery from depressant drug addiction. During your stay or your weekly sessions, you will meet with a number of experienced therapists and counselors that are ready to help you at a moment’s notice. Using group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and support groups are crucial to helping you change your behavior and learn to cope with triggers and negative thoughts. 

Do not wait to get help, let Unity help you today! Depressant drugs can create problematic and life-threatening effects on a person’s body. Unity Behavioral Health can help you work towards a happier and cleaner life for you and your loved ones. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and if you have any questions at all about the process. 

 

Get Help Now

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