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    which substance is considered a depressant


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    Depressant substances reduce arousal and stimulation. They do not necessarily make a person feel depressed. They affect the central nervous system, slowing down the messages between the brain and the body.


    Last published: June 29, 2022

    What are depressants?

    Depressant substances reduce arousal and stimulation. They affect the central nervous system, slowing down the messages between the brain and body.1

    They can affect concentration and coordination and slow down a person’s ability to respond to unexpected situations. In small doses, they can cause a person to feel more relaxed and less inhibited.1

    In larger doses they can cause drowsiness, vomiting, unconsciousness and death.2

    How are depressant drugs used?

    How they’re used depends on the specific type of depressant. For example, alcohol is drunk and benzodiazepines are usually swallowed - but they can also be injected.

    Generally, depressants can be swallowed, drunk, injected, snorted or inhaled.

    Commonly used depressants

    Alcohol Benzodiazepines GHB Kava

    Explore depressants on the Drug Wheel

    View the Drug Wheel

    Effects of depressants

    There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

    Depressants affect everyone differently, based on:

    size, weight and health

    whether the person is used to taking it

    whether other drugs are taken around the same time

    the amount taken

    the strength of the drug (this varies from batch to batch with illegally produced drugs).

    Some depressants may work instantly, with effects only lasting for a short time (such as inhalants). While for other depressants, it may take longer for the effects to start and may be slower to wear off.

    In general, when small to low doses of depressants are taken, the following effects may be experienced:

    reduced inhibitions enhanced mood reduced anxiety

    slowed reaction time

    impaired judgement slowed breathing

    increased risk of accident or injury.1

    Higher doses can result in:

    impaired judgement and coordination


    irregular or shallow breathing

    blackouts and memory loss

    unconsciousness coma death.1


    If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you could overdose.

    Call an ambulance straight away by dialling triple zero (000) if you have any of the following symptoms:


    awake but not responsive

    limp body pale or clammy face

    blue fingernails or lips

    slow breathing or not breathing at all

    slow heartbeat

    chocking or gurgling sounds


    Mixing depressants with other drugs

    The effects of taking depressants with other drugs – including over-the-counter or prescribed medications – can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could cause:

    Alcohol + benzodiazepines: decreased heart rate and breathing; overdose more likely.3

    Benzodiazepines + opiates (such as heroin): breathing difficulties; an increased risk of overdose and death.3

    More on polydrug use

    ‘Polydrug use’ is a term for the use of more than one drug or type of drug at the same time or one after another.1 Polydrug use can involve both illicit drugs and legal substances, such as alcohol and medications.


    Health and Safety

    Use of depressants is likely to be more dangerous when:

    combined with alcohol or other drugs, particularly

    driving or operating heavy machinery

    judgement or motor coordination is required

    a person is alone (in case medical assistance is required).

    Use of any drug always carries some risk, however, if you choose to take it, always try a small test amount first.4 For example, the chemical composition of GHB/GBL is highly variable. It’s very easy to take too much GHB - the difference between the amount needed to get high and the amount that causes an overdose can be hard to judge.

    If drinking alcohol, stay hydrated and have something to eat before and while drinking.

    Dependence and tolerance

    People who use depressants regularly, can develop a dependence and tolerance to them. Tolerance means they need to take larger amounts of depressants to get the same effect.

    Dependence on depressants can be psychological, physical, or both. People who are psychologically dependent may feel an urge to use them when in specific surroundings or socialising with friends. With physical dependence, a person’s body adapts to the depressants and gets used to functioning with them.

    People who depend on depressants may find that using the drug becomes more important than other activities in their life. Cravings can make it difficult to stop using depressants.

    Reducing harm

    Use of depressants is likely to be more dangerous when:

    combined with alcohol or other drugs, particularly

    driving or operating heavy machinery

    judgement or motor coordination is required

    a person is alone (in case medical assistance is required).

    Use of any drug always carries some risk. But, if you choose to take it, always try a small test amount first.4 For example, the chemical composition of GHB/GBL is highly variable. It’s very easy to take too much GHB - the difference between the amount needed to get ‘high’ and the amount that causes an overdose can be hard to judge.

    Source : adf.org.au



    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Not to be confused with depressogenic.

    A depressant, or central depressant, is a drug that lowers neurotransmission levels, which is to depress or reduce arousal or stimulation, in various areas of the brain.[1] Depressants are also colloquially referred to as downers as they lower the level of arousal when taken. Stimulants or "uppers" increase mental and/or physical function, hence the opposite drug class of depressants is stimulants, not antidepressants.

    Depressants are widely used throughout the world as prescription medicines and as illicit substances. Alcohol is a very prominent depressant. Alcohol can be and is more likely to be a large problem among teenagers and young adults. When depressants are used, effects often include ataxia, anxiolysis, pain relief, sedation or somnolence, and cognitive or memory impairment, as well as in some instances euphoria, dissociation, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure or heart rate, respiratory depression, and anticonvulsant effects. Depressants also act to produce anesthesia. Cannabis may sometimes be considered a depressant due to one of its components, cannabidiol. The latter is known to treat insomnia, anxiety and muscle spasms similar to other depressive drugs. However, tetrahydrocannabinol, another component, may slow brain function to a small degree while reducing reaction to stimuli, it is generally considered to be a stimulant and main psychoactive agent to sometimes cause anxiety, panic and psychosis instead. Other depressants can include drugs like Xanax (a benzodiazepine) and a number of opiates. Gabapentinoids like pregabalin and gabapentin are depressants and have anticonvulsant and anxiolytic effects.

    Depressants exert their effects through a number of different pharmacological mechanisms, the most prominent of which include facilitation of GABA, and inhibition of glutamatergic or monoaminergic activity. Other examples are chemicals that modify the electrical signaling inside the body, the most prominent of these being bromides and channel blockers.


    1 Indications 2 Types 2.1 Alcohol 2.2 Barbiturates 2.3 Benzodiazepines 2.4 Cannabis 2.5 Gabapentinoids 2.6 Opioids 2.7 Miscellaneous 3 Methods of intake 4 See also 5 References 6 External links


    Depressants are used medicinally to relieve the following symptoms:

    Anxiety disorders such as:

    Generalized anxiety Social anxiety Panic attacks Insomnia

    Obsessive–compulsive disorder

    Seizures Convulsions Depression Pain



    Main articles: Alcoholic beverage, Ethanol, and Blood alcohol content

    Distilled (concentrated) alcoholic beverages, sometimes called “spirit” or "hard liquor", roughly eight times more alcoholic than beer

    An alcoholic beverage is a drink that contains alcohol (also known formally as ethanol), an anesthetic that has been used as a psychoactive drug for several millennia. Ethanol is the oldest recreational drug still used by humans. Ethanol can cause alcohol intoxication when consumed. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes for taxation and regulation of production: beers, wines, and spirits (distilled beverages). They are legally consumed in most countries around the world. More than 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption.[2]

    The most common way to measure intoxication for legal or medical purposes is through blood alcohol content (also called blood alcohol concentration or blood alcohol level). It is usually expressed as a percentage of alcohol in the blood in units of mass of alcohol per volume of blood, or mass of alcohol per mass of blood, depending on the country. For instance, in North America a blood alcohol content of "0.10" or more correctly 0.10 g/dL means that there are 0.10 g of alcohol for every dL of blood (i.e., mass per volume is used there).[3]


    Main article: Barbiturate

    Barbiturates are effective in relieving the conditions that they are designed to address (insomnia, seizures). They are also commonly used for unapproved purposes, are physically addictive, and have serious potential for overdose. In the late 1950s, when many thought that the social cost of barbiturates was beginning to outweigh the medical benefits, a serious search began for a replacement drug. Most people still using barbiturates today do so in the prevention of seizures or in mild form for relief from the symptoms of migraines.


    Main article: Benzodiazepine

    See also: Nonbenzodiazepine

    Xanax (alprazolam) 2 mg tri-score tablets

    A benzodiazepine (sometimes colloquially "benzo"; often abbreviated "BZD") is a drug whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring. The first such drug, chlordiazepoxide (Librium), was discovered accidentally by Leo Sternbach in 1955, and made available in 1960 by Hoffmann–La Roche, which has also marketed the benzodiazepine diazepam (Valium) since 1963.

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    What Substances Fall Under the Depressants Category?

    Depressant drugs or central nervous system (CNS) depressants slow brain functioning. Some examples are opioids, tranquilizers, and alcohol.

    CNS Depressant Addictions

    Home / CNS Depressant Addictions

    Around 18 million people misuse prescription drugs like central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants) each year. Misuse of these types of substances puts you at risk for physical and mental issues as well as overdose and death.

    Central nervous system depressants are substances that slow down brain activity. This happens in several ways. Most often, CNS depressants increase inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain like gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

    Some central nervous system depressants have important medical uses like:

    Controlling the experience of pain

    Reducing anxiety

    Blocking seizure activity

    Assisting with sleep

    People with substance use disorders may take CNS depressants other than prescribed or purchase them to use as recreational drugs.


    The major drug classifications of central nervous system depressants include:

    Opioids – primarily designed to address pain.

    Tranquilizers – used to treat anxiety disorders or treat seizures.

    Sedatives (or hypnotics) – typically designed to assist with sleep or treat muscle spasms with muscle relaxation properties.

    There is some overlap in how these drugs are prescribed. For instance, certain tranquilizers cause drowsiness and may be used as sleeping pills, whereas certain sedatives may also be used to address anxiety and insomnia.

    Alcohol is another central nervous system depressant. It can have similar effects to many of the drugs listed above. Both depressant drugs and alcohol are often misused.

    #1 Opioids

    Opioid drugs are derived from the Asian poppy plant (opium), or they are synthetic (man-made) substances that resemble the compounds that are extracted from opium.

    Examples of prescription opioids include:


    Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco (acetaminophen and hydrocodone)

    OxyContin (oxycodone)


    All substances containing codeine


    Illicit opioids like heroin have the same properties as these drugs, but aren’t deemed medically useful in the United States.

    Opioid drugs work by attaching to the endogenous opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are involved in your natural ability to deal with pain and stress.

    The major medical use of prescription opioids is to control pain, although these drugs also have some other medical uses. When used as directed by a physician, people are less likely to develop opioid use disorders as those who obtain these substances without a prescription and use them as recreational drugs.

    #2 Tranquilizers

    Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are types of tranquilizers. These medications slow the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS) by increasing the availability of GABA. They are commonly used to treat:

    Anxiety from mental health disorders

    Seizures Sleep problems

    Tranquilizers may be prescribed to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms or used on a taper schedule for tranquilizer withdrawal.

    Barbiturates include:

    Seconal (secobarbital)

    Luminal (phenobarbital)

    Mebaral (mephobarbital)

    Nembutal (pentobarbital)

    Barbiturates were once prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, but they became widely abused and caused significant numbers of overdose. When benzodiazepines were developed, barbiturates were prescribed less often. Today, barbiturates are mostly used in clinics or hospitals.

    Benzodiazepines are considered a safer alternative to barbiturates, but they’re also abused.

    Benzodiazepines include:

    Valium (diazepam) Xanax (alprazolam)

    Klonopin (clonazepam)

    Halcion (triazolam)

    #3 Nonbenzodiazepine Sedatives

    Sedatives (hypnotics) are primarily used as sleep aids, although benzodiazepines like Xanax are also used for this purpose. Like benzos, sedative drugs also work on GABA and have actions

    similar to benzodiazepines. They aren’t as potent as benzodiazepines and are not useful in treating seizures or alcohol withdrawal. In some cases, sedatives are used for decreasing mild levels of anxiety, but they are not commonly prescribed for this purpose.

    Some of the most popular sedative drugs include:

    Sonata (zaleplon)

    Lunesta (eszopiclone)

    Ambien (zolpidem)

    #4 Alcohol

    Ethyl alcohol (EtOH), the alcohol that is contained in alcoholic beverages, is also a powerful central nervous system depressant that has many actions similar to the prescription drugs above. Alcohol can:

    Reduce the sensation of pain

    Decrease anxiety Initiate sleep


    Mixing stimulants and depressants can be dangerous. For instance, some people drink alcohol, a CNS depressant, while using cocaine, meth, or ADHD medications like Adderall. This is a trend that’s especially popular among college students. For example, because Adderall is a stimulant, some people combine it with binge drinking in the hopes of “canceling out” the sedating effects of alcohol, making them feel more energized and upbeat while partying. This thinking is misguided. Instead of canceling out the other substances’ effects, depressants and stimulant drugs can compete for your brain’s attention, putting more stress on your central nervous system (CNS). When you mix stimulants and depressants, you’re at risk for both the effects of each drug as well as their combined impact.

    Source : footprintstorecovery.com

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