What Are Depressants? Symptoms and Treatment

What are depressants and how can they help mitigate certain mental health side effects? Read on to learn more.

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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.

Depressant drugs interact with the central nervous system. They slow down the messages that travel from the body to the brain. In doing so, they reduce arousal, stimulation, and inhibition while promoting relaxation and calmness.

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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.

While depressants may be prescribed by doctors, they can be addictive if they are misused. Many of them cause withdrawal symptoms when usage is stopped. This occurs when the body gets so used to the drug that when it’s without the drug, it reacts with adverse symptoms.

What Are the Types of Depressants?

There are several types of depressant drugs or substances. These can all impact people in various ways, and some of the side effects may be more severe for some, especially if they mix depressants with other drugs. It’s also important to note that depressants can be addictive, so you should only take them as they were prescribed, or to not take them in excess if it’s not a prescription depressant.

Common Depressants

Listed below are some of the more common 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

Although some effects of depressants are beneficial, they can also be quite dangerous. Drugs that are depressants cause withdrawal, making them highly addictive. When addiction sets in, it can greatly reduce quality of life. Depressants can also affect your life in a myriad of other ways. These symptoms can be physical, behavioral, or psychological. Some short- and long-term side effects of taking depressants will be detailed below.

Short-Term Symptoms

Short-term effects of depressant drugs may include: 4
  • 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.

Long-Term Symptoms

Here are some long-term symptoms of depressants:
  • 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

Depressant addiction is not easy to fight, but help is available. Here are the steps you or your loved one can take to overcome addiction in rehab:


Detox involves allowing the body to rid itself of harmful substances. Patients may experience withdrawal symptoms during the process, but rehab medical staff will provide supervision and care to keep them as comfortable as possible and ensure relapse doesn’t occur.

Inpatient Care

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.

Outpatient Care

Once inpatient care is completed, patients can move to outpatient care. This involves them splitting their time between therapy visits and everyday life. While Profound Treatment only offers inpatient care currently, we do provide other aftercare services to help you after you leave our facility.

Get Treatment for Depressant Addiction at Profound Treatment

What Are Depressants
There are many rehab programs that offer treatment for addiction to depressant drugs, but Profound Treatment takes an approach that sets us apart. We offer a safe healing recovery environment. Our evidence-based programs have been proven to help people get and stay sober.
Our clinic combines a variety of treatment models. We take a holistic approach that addresses the mind, body, and soul. We also offer personalized treatment plans, expert research-backed advice, and quality healthy cuisine that helps with the healing process.

Contact Us and Begin Healing Today

Depressant drugs can be a solution for certain conditions, but when an addiction begins to form, it is essential to get the help you need.

Profound Treatment offers treatment so you can overcome addiction and move on to a higher quality of life. Contact us to find out how we can get you on a road to sustainable health and happiness today.

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