Doctors prescribe sedative drugs because of their calming effects. They are often referred to as tranquilizers. They act as depressants as they slow down the functions of the body’s central nervous system (CNS) and the brain. These sedative drugs reduce the awareness of the brain, thus, sedating the person who uses them. Often, people who have sleep disorders use prescription sedative drugs in order to help their bodies relax and sleep properly. Some sedatives are used to help treat seizure disorders. Others help to treat anxiety and muscle spasms. Many times, sedatives are used to calm individuals who are about to undergo a medical procedure. There are a few different types of sedatives. Two of them are barbiturates and benzodiazepines (benzos).
Barbiturates are known as “nonselective” depressants. This means that they affect most of the body’s neuronal activity. In other words, barbiturates slow down most of the nerves’ activity, instead of selecting specific neurons. But benzo sedatives work by affecting specific neurotransmitters within the body. Neurotransmitters are messenger chemicals that work to carry information between the body and brain. Benzos impact the neurons that have receptors for the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter. This particular chemical messenger is responsible for producing relaxing effects within the body. Benzos speed up the activity of this neurotransmitter, causing an increase in the body’s relaxed state.
Today, benzos are the most prescribed type of sedative. However, some barbiturates are still being used to treat epilepsy. Despite the positive effects of these medications, sedatives can be highly addictive, and users may become dependent on these substances. Addiction to sedative drugs can cause many issues in a person’s life.
Sedatives are prescribed to help with various disorders and conditions. And, although they produce desirable results (sedation and relaxation), they can also produce unwanted consequences. Sadly, many of the individuals who have used these drugs have found themselves suffering from a sedative dependence problem. When an individual regularly uses sedative drugs, he or she may build up a higher tolerance for the substance. This means that the person’s body gets used to the drug. As a result, the effects of sedative drugs might not be as strong after a while. So, the person may begin to increase the dose and use more of the drugs to get the desired effect. This could lead to sedative addiction.
If a person uses a drug outside of the prescribed amount, it means that the individual is abusing or misusing the substance. And that could cause the individual to become dependent on or addicted to sedative drugs. These substances cause effects that are a lot like the effects of alcohol. They can cause people to experience a pleasurable thing called “euphoria.” People often call this euphoric effect a “high.” This emotional state often causes people to want more of the drug to achieve that feeling. When people use sedatives, they may experience things like drowsiness and a state of confusion. Sometimes, sedative drugs cause people to experience moodiness. Slurred speech, dizziness, low blood pressure, and a lack of coordination are also effects of sedative use. Sedatives can also slow down the heart rates of individuals who are using them.
The effects we’ve already mentioned are some of the short-term effects of sedative use. But, there are also some long-term effects. For example, a person who has been abusing sedatives may experience a deepening and increase of depression or anxiety. A person may be addicted to or dependent on sedative drugs if he or she:
- Uses the drug despite the negative effects.
- Is unable to stop using the substance.
- Uses a higher dosage than the doctor has prescribed.
- Consumes the drug more frequently than directed.
- Experiences increased depression or anxiety.
- Exhibits negative behavioral changes.
- Lacks control of his/her actions.
- Is unable to concentrate properly.
- Feels unable to function without the use of sedatives.
dependent on sedatives may
not even realize it at first. But,
it’s important to pay close
attention to the signs. People
who are suffering from
substance dependence should
get treatment as soon as
possible to prevent the
problem from getting worse. A
professional detox program
can help to end the substance
abuse. Then, therapy can help
individuals to learn how to
prevent relapse in their lives.
Sedative Withdrawal Symptoms.
Substance dependence and addiction can affect people in many different ways. The effects of sedative abuse may vary depending on the amount and frequency of use. But, regardless of how often a person uses sedative drugs, if he or she is struggling with dependency, the effects will be negative. People who are addicted to or dependent on drugs or alcohol often experience undesirable changes in their lives. They may become isolated from their families. Some individuals become socially withdrawn. When people recognize the signs of substance abuse in their lives, they often try to end the problem. But, after the body becomes dependent on something, it gets very difficult to stop using that substance. The body goes into withdrawal, experiencing several unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms. Some of the symptoms of sedative withdrawal include:
- Increased depression
- Excessive sweating
- Stomach problems
- Sleep problems (i.e., insomnia)
Some of the symptoms of withdrawal from sedative drugs may seem less intense or extreme than others. But, people should never try to end substance use without help. It’s important to seek assistance in order to make sure the withdrawal process does not become dangerous or harmful. A professional detox program can help individuals to end substance abuse in a safe and more comfortable manner.
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