Effects of Depressants on the Body
The prevalence of prescription drug abuse has risen in the United States as a result of the opioid epidemic. Many people are suffering from addiction to prescription drugs like depressants and stimulants. As a drug treatment facility in Texas, we understand the effects of depressants on the body and why prescription drug abuse is so dangerous.
What is a Depressant Drug?
Depressant drugs also referred to as central nervous system depressants are medications that slow brain activity, making them effective in treating conditions like insomnia, anxiety, panic disorders, stress, sleep disorders, pain, and seizures. There are three major types of CNS depressants: tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics. These drugs work by affecting an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which blocks certain brain signals to reduce activity in the central nervous system.
Some common CNS depressants include:
- Benzodiazepines (such as Valium, Xanax, and Ativan)
- Most sleeping medications (such as Sonata, Lunesta, and Ambien)
- Opioids (such as methadone, codeine, hydrocodone)
Depressants work differently depending on the drug class they’re in, but they can all reduce activity in the central nervous system. While some are considered to be slightly safer than others and are therefore more frequently prescribed, all depressants have a potential for abuse and should only be used if and as prescribed by a doctor. Banyan Treatment Centers Texas offers different medical detox programs in Waelder that help patients slowly wean off of the physical side effects of drugs including CNS depressants. This is a frequently recommended first step in treating addiction because it offers 24-hour medical care and treatment for withdrawal symptoms.
What Effect Do Depressants Have On The Body?
Depressant drug effects on the body depend on factors including the drug class of the depressant, the dose that was taken, whether it was mixed with any other substances, the length of time the person has been using the drug, and a variety of other physical factors. Alcohol is one of the most widely used depressants in the world, partly because it’s accessible for people 21 and older in the U.S. The effects of alcohol on the brain are similar to those of prescription depressants but different in that it can induce anxiety when drunk excessively. Other prescription depressants may not be as accessible as alcohol, but they can still be abused and lead to addiction, nonetheless.
The effects of depressants on the central nervous system are the main reason why people abuse them. However, as with most other drugs of abuse, CNS depressants can lead to tolerance and addiction. The longer a person abuses drugs, the more tolerant they become of their side effects. These individuals may then begin taking higher doses to experience the same high. If this self-destructive pattern of behavior continues, it can result in addiction.
Some common side effects of depressants on the body include:
- Relaxation and euphoria
- Decreased blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Confusion or disorientation
- Loss of memory
- Difficulties urinating
- Slowed reaction time
- Inhibited motor movement
- Impaired judgment
- Slurred speech
- Blackouts or loss of consciousness
- Loss of coordination
- Reckless or self-destructive behavior
Long-term CNS depressant abuse can lead to a variety of health problems. The side effects of central nervous system depressants can become more severe over time. Some long-term effects of CNS depressants on the body include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction and decreased libido
- Respiratory problems
- Difficulties sleeping
- Suicidal thoughts and behavior
Another common side effect of central nervous system depressant use is overdose. Overdose refers to the consumption of a toxic dose of drugs or alcohol. An overdose on CNS depressants can lead to seizures, respiratory depression, and death. These drugs should not be combined or taken with any other medications or substances that can also cause sedation. Combining these substances can reduce breathing and heart rate, which can be fatal. Mixing depressants with any other drugs, illicit or prescription, is dangerous and should be completely avoided. We offer addiction treatment at Banyan Texas to help individuals regain their sobriety from addictions to drugs like opioids, benzos, alcohol, and other depressants.
A great way to avoid prescription drug addiction is to ask your doctor how depressants affect the body before taking them. They can explain how addiction happens when these drugs are abused and can offer specific directions for taking them safely. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction call us now at 888-280-4763 to talk to a team member about our addiction levels of care in Texas.