Depressants are a variety of drugs that slow brain activity and depress the central nervous system. They produce relaxation and drowsiness. As a result, different types of depressants are commonly used in treating insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and more. The 3 types of depressants are sedatives, hypnotics, and tranquilizers. These 3 types of depressants operate in slightly different ways, though they ultimately produce similar effects.
What Are the Types of Depressants?
As mentioned, the three larger categories of depressants are sedatives, hypnotics, and tranquilizers. They span legal medications to illicit drugs to recreational substances that remain legal. Common types of depressants include:
- Sleeping pills
Barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and opioids are explored in more detail below. Each of these types of depressants has valid medical uses as prescription medication. At the same time, using them involves risk because they can be addictive and create physical dependency through long-term use.
Barbiturates have historically been used to treat anxiety, sleep problems, and tension. Some of the most common barbiturates are Nembutal and Seconal. They produce relaxation and a sense of euphoria that is present even in small doses. This makes them ripe for abuse. In addition, even as they were used for treating sleep problems, research has shown that barbiturates interrupt the REM cycle. Thus, while they may encourage more sleep, it is not necessarily better sleep. For these reasons, barbiturates are much less commonly prescribed nowadays. The medical community has instead turned toward benzodiazepines.
Also referred to as benzos, benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Valium, Xanax, and Ativan are the three most common benzos. These medications are most often used for short-term treatment. That is because long-term treatment with benzos does leave people open to developing a dependency on benzos.
Opioids are a type of drug used for pain relief. Many of them are legal while others, like heroin, are illegal drugs that are not safe to use in any amount. However, even prescription opioids such as codeine and hydrocodone should be used with caution. They can be highly addictive and have been at the root of one of the biggest public health crises in recent memory: the opioid crisis.
Common Effects of Different Types of Depressants
The different types of depressants create their effects by increasing GABA, which is a neurotransmitter. Higher amounts of GABA slow brain activity and produce relaxation alongside other things like drowsiness, confusion, impaired coordination, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and lower blood pressure.
The impact of long-term use depends on the depressant being used. The common types of depressants are rarely recommended for long-term use because they can be addictive. But also because potentially negative impacts become more likely. Some of these are chronic fatigue, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and mood problems.
Begin Healing From Addiction at Sunstone Recovery
Many types of depressants pose a risk for addiction. Once addiction sets in, professional support through a treatment provider like Sunstone Recovery offers the best chance at healing. Treatment always begins with detox, which is the process of removing the presence of a drug from the body by not using it.
Withdrawal symptoms occur during detox from different types of depressants. These can be uncomfortable and put people at risk of relapsing. Sunstone Recovery works hard to ensure every patient has a comfortable, safe environment for detox. The next step after detox is formal treatment in either an inpatient or outpatient setting.
The foremost treatment method used in depressant addiction treatment is therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most helpful approaches for combating addiction to various types of depressants.
Don’t wait to address addiction. Learn more about other viable treatment methods when you call 855.833.9199.