What Are Depressants? Symptoms and Treatment
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What Do Depressants Do?
Anxiety is a serious problem in today’s world. If you are dealing with high levels of stress, you may be prescribed depressants. While depressants are useful for relieving anxiety, they can also be dangerous and addictive. This means it’s important to know about their dangers and potential side effects before you or a loved one start taking them.
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Why Are Depressants Used?
There are many types of depressant drugs, and they can be used for various reasons. Prescription depressants may be recommended by a doctor to reduce anxiety or relieve pain. Cannabis and alcohol are depressants that are often used for recreational purposes.
What Are the Types of Depressants?
- Benzodiazepines: These increase the effects that the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter has on the brain. They promote tranquility and are often prescribed to treat stress and anxiety.1
- Ethyl Alcohol: This is generally found in alcoholic drinks. While many people often drink for recreational purposes, some use alcohol for self-medication. While alcohol may temporarily relieve mental health symptoms, it makes matters worse in the long run.2
- Barbiturates: This type of depressant is a prescription depressant used to help with sleep and relieve anxiety, muscle pain, and seizures.3
Dangers of Depressant Drug Abuse
- Sleepiness: Depressants slow down the nervous system and may cause excessive sleepiness.
- Lack of Self-Control: Depressant drugs loosen inhibitions and may cause a person to lose self-control, potentially resulting in a dangerous situation.
- Slurred Speech: Depressant medications reduce the control you have over your body and may result in slurred speech.
- Blurry Vision: Depressants weaken the eye’s muscle coordination and may cause blurry vision.
- Confusion: If you take a large dose of depressant substances, you may experience confusion.
- Memory Loss: Alcohol in particular has been associated with various types of memory loss including brownouts, blackouts, and dementia.
- Impaired Judgment: Depressants affect the functioning of the prefrontal cortex which plays a key role in reasoning and judgment.
- Poor Mental Function: One of the psychological effects of depressants is poor mental function. This is due to depressants affecting large portions of the brain.
- Insomnia: Depressants promote sleep, but if you use them for a long period of time, you may be unable to sleep without them. You may also have to take larger doses to get to sleep.
- Other Sleep Problems: Depressants can also cause you to sleep excessively. They may promote or hinder sleep depending on how much of them you use, along with certain biological factors.
- Impaired Sexual Function: Depressants interfere with the signals in the brain and can be detrimental to sexual function.
- Depression or Other Mental Health Disorders: Many people turn to alcohol and other depressant substances to relieve depression and other mental health issues. But in the long run, they will have negative effects on your system, causing mood swings that could make certain disorders worse.
- Breathing Difficulties: Some types of depressant drugs increase the risk of developing lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
- Convulsions: Depressant withdrawal is known to cause seizures. The risk will be greater with higher doses.
How to Get Treatment for Depressant Addiction
After detox, patients may choose to stay in the clinic to undergo inpatient care. Their symptoms will be monitored, and they will also undergo therapy. This phase of rehab typically lasts for one to three months.
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