A depressant drug, more commonly referred to by its street name "downers," are any type of prescription or nonprescription drug that act to reduce the functions or activities of a specific part of the brain. Depressants usually have a calming or sedative effect on the body and are often prescribed by doctors in pill form used to treat depression or anxiety disorders. They work by reducing the functions of the central nervous system.
Many people who are prescribed depressant drugs end up becoming dependent to them or addicted. Prescription pills such as standard barbiturates and benzodiazepines are the most popular depressant medications, but the pill form prescribed by doctors is not the only form of depressants that are available to the public. Depressants also include alcohol, opioids, pain killers and anti-psychotic drugs as well.
Forms of Depressants
There are many different types of depressant drugs as mentioned. The most commonly known and used are prescriptions drugs. These prescription drugs come in pill form and are not only used when prescribed for legitimate treatment by a physician but are also abused and sold by street dealers as well. Two of the most common types are barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Both of these are in a class of drugs called CNS depressants or central nervous system depressants. For example, some of the more popular barbiturate drugs by name brand are Nembutal, Seconal, Luminal and Prominal. Barbiturates typically produce pleasant effects in the body such as reduced tension and calm. High doses can result in anesthesia or excessive drowsiness overdose and death.
Some name brands of Benzodiazepines most commonly used are Xanax, Valium, ProSom and Ativan. These pills are prescribed by doctors for legitimate anxiety disorders but are extremely addictive, and patients who take these drugs in large amounts over long periods of time will develop a tolerance to them and will also become physically dependent to the drugs. These drugs are also commonly misused in combination with alcohol consumption.
Alcohol, also being a depressant, when used in combination or together with any of these drugs is extremely dangerous and can lead to a respiratory depression effect which can result in immediate death. Respiratory depression is when the effects of the drugs and alcohol are so strong they can put you in a coma state and will deny the body of its normal breathing functions. Basically overdose of these types of drugs alone or in combination with alcohol may induce suffocation.
Depressants also include a very large group of drugs called Opioids. Opioids include a vast range of prescription drugs and non-prescription illicit drugs. Some opioids that are most commonly prescribed by doctors are pain killers such as Morphine, Oxycodone, Codeine, Percocet and Vicodin. These drugs are usually prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain relief, such as for cancer patients or the terminally ill, but can also be found on the streets and are commonly misused and abused by the public. Other illicit or illegal opioid depressant drugs include Heroin, Methadone and Opium. These drugs, especially Heroin, almost always result in dangerous addictive behaviors.
Opiate addicts use the drug to feel a sense of well-being that comes in a rush after the drug is taken. After this initial feeling of euphoria, the user goes through alternate periods of feeling alert and then drowsy. Using opiates affects the user's ability to reason clearly. Respiration slows, and reflexes are impaired. A person will use these drugs for the sole purpose of getting high and overdose from any of these drugs may result in death or permanent brain damage.
Depressant Drug Abuse Treatment
An addiction to any depressant drug must be taken seriously and treated at a drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation facility. The addiction to depressants such as Xanax, Alcohol and Heroin will result in major withdrawal upon abrupt cessation of these drugs. This means that when these drugs are abruptly stopped the abuser will experience severe withdrawal symptoms and become physically sick. These symptoms of withdrawal should only be treated by a medically supervised detoxification at a rehab center.
During the detox phase of rehabilitation, doctors may need to administer prescription medications to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. After detox is complete the patient will be free of all drug substances in the body and this will allow a person to focus more on the recovery aspect of their rehabilitation. At a rehabilitation facility behavioral health therapy and counseling will be provided in a group or one on one session with the social workers and therapists provided. This part is extremely detrimental for a patient's journey towards a safe and healthy recovery.