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Depressants are prescription drugs which act in the central nervous system. It blocks or ‘depresses’ the normal brain activity. Doctors commonly prescribe depressants for people who have difficulty in sleeping or to relieve anxiety. Depressants can effectively lower stress and anxiety levels when taken exactly as prescribe.


These drugs have three main groups which are barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sleep medications.

  • Barbiturates drugs are used as a treatment for surgical procedures and seizures disorders. Street names of barbiturates include barbs, phennies, tooies, reds, red birds, yellow and yellow jackets.


  • Benzodiazepines can treat panic attacks, acute stress reactions, convulsions and sleep disorders. Street names of benzodiazepines include downers, candy, tranks and sleeping pills.


  • Sleep medications are used to deal with sleep disorders. Street names include A-minus and zombie pills.


The most common depressants sold in the marker include:

  • Ambien (zolpidem)
  • Lunesta (eszopiclone)
  • Mebaral (mephobarbital)
  • Nembutal (sodium pentobarbital)
  • ProSom (estazolam)
  • Sonata (zaleplon)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)


History of Depressants

Experts believed that the origin of depressants goes back to 1832. It was initially named Chloral Hydrate. The drug was used to induce sleep and for sedation. During those early times, depressants substituted opium and alcohol but turned out as a very potent drug. Many died because of depressant poisonings or drug overdose.


Why are Depressants abused?

Depressants generate calming effects on the brain which in return can cause addiction to the user. Other reason why people abuse depressants include:

  • Depressants reduces inhibitions
  • Users feel they escape their own problem when they get high with depressants
  • Depressants produce a state of euphoria which users take advantage of



What are the signs and symptoms of Depressants addiction?

People who abused depressants exhibit specific signs and symptoms. These symptoms can signal a red flag for substance abuse. However, not all people who seem to display these symptoms are already addictive to depressants. There are other factors to consider like the physical and psychological effects of depressants.



Some of the common signs and symptoms of depressant addiction include:

  • Sudden secretive behaviors
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
  • Users choose to continue their addictive behavior despite the harmful effects it provides
  • Depression
  • Erratic mood swings
  • Loss of recollection because of blackouts
  • Denial when confronted with the substance abuse
  • Unable to function normally without depressants
  • Poor behavior
  • Neglecting other social commitments


What are the side effects of Depressants?

Depressants can cause severe respiratory problems if taken outside of prescription doses. The risk increases if the person combines depressants with other illicit drugs. This specific drug abuse can slow down the heart and produce respiratory depressions which can lead to coma even death.


Short-term effects of Depressants

  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation, lack of coordination
  • Depression
  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Poor concentration
  • Slurred speech
  • Sluggishness
  • Visual disturbances



Long-term effect of Depressants


  • Prolonged heavy intake of depressants can cause memory impairment, loss of coordination and compromised judgment.
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Slow breathing
  • Erratic heart rate
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Slow brain performance
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • High blood sugar
  • Weight gain


Over time, as users continue to abuse depressants their bodies build tolerance quickly. Users need to consume more of this drug to get the same effect this can eventually lead to a drug overdose.


According to a four-year data of Food and Drug Administration, antipsychotics which are a type of depressants contributed to a large number of fatalities.  The studies show that the drug was the prime suspect for 45% deaths of people who died because of heart problems, choking, liver failure even suicide.

What are the treatments available for Depressants addiction?

The detoxification process is the first step for treating users with depressant addiction. It removes all traces of the drug in the body. It is proven as an effective and long lasting treatment for addiction. However, stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms. The brain activity is slowed when expose to depressants. When users stop taking the drug, the brain activity goes in hypermodern and may result in seizures.


It is important to undergo detox process under a medical care preferable in a healthcare center facility. This will ensure the safety and care of the user because medical practitioners can monitor their condition24/7. This program is referred to as inpatient rehabilitation. Most of the withdrawal symptoms are mild and short-lived.


Withdrawal symptoms of depressants include:

  • Seizures
  • Mental Confusions
  • Changes in respiratory rate or blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Digestive problems
  • Shaking
  • Chills

How long is the duration of the withdrawal?


Depressants Withdrawal Timeline
1 to 3 days The first symptoms will surface within 1 to 3 days from the last intake of the drug.
1 to 3 weeks During this window, symptoms will typically peak during the first week and eventually subside from then on.
3 weeks and beyond Relapse is a common occurrence during this type. It is important to address the underlying symptoms of addition to ensure the effectively of the treatment and the recovery of the user.



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