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Addiction to Depressants

Addiction is characterized as a brain disease, and occurs when an individual has been abusing drugs or alcohol to the point where they have no regard for the physical, social, financial, or emotional consequences of their use.

Depressants are a type of drug that are commonly used in the medical field to help individuals alleviate or reduce the symptoms that occur in mental illness. When used properly, and under the supervision of a medical professional, they can be incredibly helpful medications. They do, however, have a highly addictive quality and if abused can lead to addiction.

Depressants are prescription medications that work by slowing down an individual’s central nervous system.

There are three categories of depressant medications, which are barbiturates, sleep medications, and benzodiazepines. Barbiturates are commonly prescribed to help individuals with pain associated with surgical procedures and seizure disorders. Sleep medications are used to help alleviate symptoms associated with sleep disorders. Benzodiazepines are most commonly used for the treatment of panic attacks, acute stress reactions, convulsions, and various sleep disorders. Abuse of depressants happen when an individual uses more medication than prescribed, mixes the medication with other drugs or alcohol, takes the medication in a way other than the method prescribed, or takes the medication when it was not prescribed at all.

Short Term Effects

There are many possible short term effects that a person may experience with the abuse of depressant medications. Every person will respond differently to the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Below are several shot term effects that can be witnessed in individuals who struggle from depressant drug addiction:

  • Depression
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Impaired memory
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Suicidal ideations

A person may exhibit any combination of the aforementioned short term effects.

The presence of any or all of them will be unique to each individual as the dosage of abuse, the frequency of abuse, the type of depressant abused, one’s personal health history and any comorbid diseases will all play into the severity of the short term effects that are experienced by the individual.


As is true for the addiction to any abused drug or alcohol, should an individual wish or need to get sober, he or she must go through a substance abuse or addiction treatment program. Most substance abuse or addiction treatment will begin with a detox phase. This is where a person will clear his or her body of the abused substance. Due to the fact that depressants slow an individual’s brain activity, the abrupt discontinuation of use can result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is highly recommended that an individual go through a medically supervised detox process. This will enable the individual to be closely monitored throughout his or her detox process, as well as have twenty-four-hour support available to help deal with any unfavorable withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, this will ensure the safety of the individual going through detox as he or she will have a medical professional present, should anything go awry.

Following the detox process, an individual will then attend a substance abuse treatment program.

There are many different types of substance abuse or addiction recovery treatment options currently available, which can help a person to make sure he or she is selecting a program that best suits his or her specific needs. Many treatment programs will be able to accommodate different needs. For example, an individual who has a co-occurring disorder (i.e. depression or an anxiety disorder) will need to make sure the treatment program is equipped to deal with dual diagnosis. Following the completion of a substance abuse or addiction treatment program, an individual will have an aftercare plan that will enable him or her to transition back into the world successfully, without the use of drugs or alcohol. One option would be for an individual, depending on his or her specific needs, to choose to move into a sober living facility, or halfway house, which can be helpful with the transition, post treatment.

Further Information

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. There is no reason to go through this alone. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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