How Do People Use And Misuse Prescription Cns Depressants
Most prescription CNS depressants come in pill, capsule, or liquid form, which a person takes by mouth. Misuse of prescription CNS depressants means:
- taking medicine in a way or dose other than prescribed
- taking someone else’s medicine
- taking medicine for the effect it causes to get high
When misusing a prescription CNS depressant, a person can swallow the medicine in its normal form or can crush pills or open capsules.
Do Depressants Make You Feel Depressed
Mostly due to the name, many people believe depressants cause people to feel depressed. While depressants depress the central nervous system, they do not make a person become sad while under the influence.
Depressants can initially make a person feel quite pleasant alcohol relaxes its users and puts them at ease. However, depressants are rarely used in limited form. When alcohol is misused, the consequences add up and can become emotionally depressing and even life-threatening. Alcohol is extremely addictive, and when abused long-term, the drug can eventually lead to symptoms of depression.
Types Of Cns Depressant 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 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.
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What Commonly Known Drugs Are Otcs
Examples of OTC drugs include pain relievers such as acetaminophen , ibuprofen , cough suppressants such as dextromethorphan and antihistamines such as loratadine . Some medications, although available as OTC medications, are kept behind the pharmacy counter and are dispensed by a pharmacist only. Such medications are typically ones that are known to have a history of abuse amongst users. An example is Sudafed, a medication used for sinus congestion that contains pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make meth.
What Are Prescription Cns Depressants
Central Nervous System depressants are medicines that include sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. These drugs can slow brain activity, making them useful for treating anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.
CNS depressants cause drowsiness sedatives are often prescribed to treat sleep disorders like insomnia and hypnotics can induce sleep, whereas tranquilizers are prescribed to treat anxiety or to relieve muscle spasms.
Some examples of CNS depressants grouped by their respective drug class are:
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Clinical Supervisor Primary Therapist
Vanessa is certified in addictions counseling by Marylands Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, with credentials as a clinical supervisor. She comes to The Freedom Center with over 14 years of direct experience in residential and outpatient treatment between the private and federal sectors.
In addition to helping those suffering from addiction, Vanessa has dedicated part of her career to helping the helper. In 2015, she began working in a Training and Career Development Center coordinating substance abuse trainings for other clinicians. Her experience in behavioral health training, program development, and organizational leadership lead her to pursue a certification as a Project Management Professional in 2018. Vanessa also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Behavioral and Social Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Masters of Business Administration-Human Resource Management from Columbia Southern University.
Vanessa is a Montgomery County native who spends her free time traveling with her daughter and volunteering in the community.
Side Effects Contraindications And Precautions
Opioid agonists are potent central nervous and respiratory system depressants. Vigilant monitoring of vital signs is mandatory whenever these drugs are used. Use of opioid agonists is contraindicated in victims of injury and multiple trauma the drugs should be used with care in any person with compromised respiratory function. If opioids are available in the emergency drug kit, the opioid antagonist naloxone should also be available. Opioid analgesics should be administered through an IV route to victims suspected of having AMI. Opioids should not be included in the emergency drug kit unless the doctor and staff members are trained in both IV drug administration and ACLS.
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How Can People Get Treatment For Prescription Cns Depressant Addiction
There isn’t a lot of research on treating people for addiction to prescription CNS depressants. However, people addicted to these medications should undergo medically supervised detoxification because the dosage they take should be tapered gradually. Counseling, either in an outpatient or inpatient program, can help people through this process. One type of counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, focuses on modifying the person’s thinking, expectations, and behaviors while improving ways to cope with life’s stresses. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has helped people successfully adapt to stop using benzodiazepines.
Often prescription CNS depressant misuse occurs along with the use of other drugs, such as alcohol or opioids. In those cases, the person should seek treatment that addresses the multiple addictions.
Stimulants And Depressants Affect The Bodys Central Nervous System In Very Different Ways But Both Types Of Drugs Have A High Potential For Abuse And Addiction
Stimulants and depressants are almost opposites. The only commonality between the two is that they both have an altering effect on the body and mind.
But the effects they have on the body and the mind are expressed in profoundly different ways. While stimulants work to activate the central nervous system , depressants work to quiet it. Thats why stimulants are known as uppers and depressants are known as downers.
The CNS is made up of the brain and spinal cord. It takes in information from the peripheral nervous system and sends information to the network of nerves outside the brain. It then integrates the information and coordinates and influences the activity of all parts of the body.
The brain and the body can easily become dependent on the stimulating or sedating effects of stimulants or depressants respectively. Over time, the individual might need to consume more and more of a drug or mix the drug with other substances to achieve the same initial effects. This process is known as developing a tolerance.
As a persons tolerance increases, their risk of addiction and life-threatening overdose increases as well.
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What Is A Depressant
While stimulants stimulate the central nervous system, depressants depress it.
Depressants reduce the function or activity of the central nervous system by affecting CNS neurons and increasing feelings of drowsiness and relaxation while lowering levels of awareness in the brain.
These drugs also lead to decreased inhibitions or restraint.
How Depressant Drugs Work
Most depressants work by boosting the activity of GABA , a neurotransmitter in the brain. By increasing GABA, brain activity is decreased, and the result is relaxation and drowsiness.
Alcohol may act a bit differently, however. Like other depressants, alcohol is believed to mimic GABAs effect in the brain, binding to GABA receptors and hindering neuronal signaling. Alcohol also represses the major excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, especially at the N-methyl-d-aspartate glutamate receptor. Furthermore, it releases other inhibitors, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Moreover, the consumption of even small amounts of alcohol increases the amount of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens area of the brainone of the centers responsible for feelings of reward. Experts believe it is most likely that the GABA and glutamate receptors in some of the reward centers such as the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala together produce a system of positive reinforcement.
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Stimulants Depressants And Hallucinogens
Cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, khat, nicotine and prescription stimulants.
How do they work?Stimulant drugs speed up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. And so, they typically increase the pulse and breathing rate, elevate blood pressure, suppress the appetite and dilate the pupils.
What to expect?Stimulants often produce a euphoric effect, with some people feeling more alert, energetic and confident.
A person using stimulants may be talkative, agitated and experience insomnia.
With prolonged use or if taken in large doses the effects may include anxiety, panic, seizures, headaches, stomach cramps, aggression and paranoia.
Long-term use of stimulants can also lead to a range of physical and mental health conditions and for more information about the effects of each drug refer to the fact sheets on drugs.
Cross Drug Use: Combining Uppers And Downers
Knowing how uppers and downers exert opposite effects on the central nervous system, you can imagine what a bad idea it is to combine them. However, its very common for recreational drug users mix uppers and downers, take alcohol and energy drinks for example, a staple at most bars.
People mistakenly believe that the effects of one type of drug will cancel the other out. They often do this even out accidental overuse of one type of drug or simply to manipulate their mental state. Both the physiological and neurological consequences of such actions can be devestating.
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How Do Cns Depressants Affect The Brain
Most CNS depressants act on the brain by increasing activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid , a chemical that inhibits brain activity. This action causes the drowsy and calming effects that make the medicine effective for anxiety and sleep disorders. People who start taking CNS depressants usually feel sleepy and uncoordinated for the first few days until the body adjusts to these side effects. Other effects from use and misuse can include:
- problems with movement and memory
- lowered blood pressure
- slowed breathing
If a person takes CNS depressants long term, he or she might need larger doses to achieve therapeutic effects. Continued use can also lead to dependence and withdrawal when use is abruptly reduced or stopped. Suddenly stopping can also lead to harmful consequences like seizures.
What Are The Side Effects Of Alcohol And Other Depressants
When used as directed, or in limited quantities, alcohol and other depressants can provide feelings of relaxation and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Alcohol and other depressants do lead to intoxication.
Common side effects of alcohol and other depressants include the following:
- Impaired motor skills and coordination
- Mental cloudiness and confusion
- Slowed or stopped heart rate
- Slowed or depressed breathing
- Emotional instability and severe mood swings
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Can A Person Overdose On Cns Depressants
Yes, a person can overdose on CNS depressants. An overdose occurs when the person uses enough of a drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death .
When people overdose on a CNS depressant, their breathing often slows or stops. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term mental effects and effects on the nervous system, including coma and permanent brain damage.
What Are The Dangers Of Alcohol And Other Depressants
While intoxicated, alcohol can lead to a number of damaging consequences. It causes people to lose their inhibitions, which can result in greater risk-taking and poor decision-making that a person would never make sober.
While intoxicated, people are also vulnerable to unintentional accidents and injuries.
Lack of physical and mental coordination due to alcohol intoxication can cause bodily harm to the person drinking and also people nearby.
Other implications of alcohol and other depressants are overdose and death. Alcohol overdose causes alcohol poisoning, and the results can be deadly. Because alcohol impairs ones emotions and awareness, people under the influence are known to get into fights and arguments. They may say things they do not mean, and will regret them the next day. Alcohol abuse can destroy families, marriages, friendships, and careers.
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Getting Help For A Stimulant Or Depressant Addiction
Timing is a major factor in preventing long-lasting consequences from abusing these types of drugs. While its always recommended against to use any sort of recreational drug, it is never recommended to stop doing so cold turkey. This itself can be dangerous and put you in harms way of a number of risky withdrawal effects.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to uppers, downers, or both, we can help. Contact The Freedom Center today and speak with one of our admissions specialists about amphetamine detox.
Which Drugs Are Uppers And Downers
- Which Drugs Are Uppers And Downers?
Drugs go by a variety of different names including their generic name, brand name, and street names. Uppers and downers are informal drug classifications used to describe how a drug affects the central nervous system. Uppers are whats known as stimulants while downers are what is classified as depressants. These two slang terms encompass a wide number of different substances, some legal, some not.
As their contrasting names imply, uppers and downers have opposing effects on the body. Mixing them can be catastrophic, but so can doubling up on multiple drugs that have the same effect . Something that both types of drugs have in common? Uppers and downers can be addictive and highly dangerous. Lets take a closer look at uppers, downers, and why exactly they have these names.
Detoxing From Cns Depressants
People who develop substance use disorders with CNS depressants often experience withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking them. Withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping alcohol, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines can be fatal because of the potential to develop seizures or from dehydration, which can cause several issues.
When youre abstinent from using these drugs for a short period of time, your tolerance level decreases. This puts you at risk for overdose if you relapse. Overdoses on any CNS depressant can be fatal. Thats why you should always detox under the care of medical professionals.
The first step in the recovery process is typically a medical detox program. In the case of opioid drugs, youre often prescribed an opioid replacement medication like Suboxone . These drugs can control withdrawal symptoms. Over time, your physician will slowly taper down the dosage as symptom severity declines. In the case of tranquilizer abuse, sedative abuse, or alcohol abuse, you will most likely be given a long-acting benzodiazepine on the same type of tapering schedule.
Is Alcohol A Depressant
Even though many people use alcohol as a pick-me-up or to make them feel better, it is indeed a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol, like other depressants, impairs and slows both physical and psychological activity. Because of the way that alcohol slows down brain activity, it reduces a persons ability to make rational decisions. It also contributes to lessened inhibitions and distorted judgment. For this reason, many people report making decisions while intoxicated that they would not have made sober. It also produces many other symptoms that are common in depressants.
An Example Of The Dangerous Cycle
Say, for example, a person starts with the use of a downer that reduces any anxiety and produces a sense of relaxation. When their energy levels drop, they take a stimulant in order to continue participating in the party or another event happening. This creates a cycle that could lead to significant drug use and drastically increases the risk of overdose or death. It is critical to know which drugs are uppers and downers to avoid this combination.
What Are Central Nervous System Depressants
Central nervous system depressants are drugs that slow down brain activity, making them effective for treating many conditions. These drugs operate by affecting the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid , which leads to side effects such as drowsiness, relaxation, and decreased inhibition. Central nervous system depressants are used to treat a number of different disorders, including: insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, stress, sleep disorders, pain, and seizures. There are three major types of CNS depressants: sedatives, hypnotics, and tranquilizers.
Drugs that are classified as CNS depressants include:
- Many Sleeping Pills
Different classes of CNS depressants work in different ways, but all have the ability to reduce activity in the central nervous system and lower levels of awareness in the brain. While CNS depressants all share this ability, there are significant differences among substances within this drug class. In particular, some are generally considered to be safer and are prescribed more than others. However, its important to note that almost all depressants have the potential to be addictive and should only be used as prescribed. Central nervous system depressants are sometimes called sedatives or tranquilizers, although those terms are more properly applied to specific categories of CNS depressants.
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Is Cocaine A Stimulant Or Depressant
Drugs can often be classified into two major categoriesstimulants and depressants. Is cocaine a stimulant or depressant? In short, cocaine is a stimulant drug. Take a look at the dangers of cocaine, the risk of addiction, and how to overcome a cocaine addiction with detox.
At Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston, we provide cocaine detox services to those who are struggling with addiction to this powerful stimulant. At our cocaine detox center, we provide a safe and supportive environment for those who are ready to overcome their addiction. To learn more about our cocaine detox center in Texas, please contact Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston today at .
Health Effects Of Stimulants Versus Depressants
Though stimulants may make individuals feel great temporarily, they typically include negative side effects and result in a crash when the drug leaves the system, causing symptoms like fatigue, inability to focus, and depression.
Because stimulants increase heart rate and blood pressure, taking them can be very risky for anyone with heart problems or who already has an increased risk of stroke. They can also cause very unpleasant psychological side effects, especially for those who have an underlying mental illness like anxiety, panic disorders, or issues with paranoia.
Stimulant overdose deaths are most often caused by sudden heart failure, heart attack, stroke, or hyperthermia a condition in which the body becomes dangerously overheated.
In the long-term, continued stimulant misuse can result in a weakening of artery walls or inflammation of the heart muscle as high blood pressure wears them down. Stimulants also restrict blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract, leading to ulcers and tears.
Studies have suggested that long-term stimulant use may lead to significant permanent changes in the brain, including a reduction of the white matter thats responsible for impulse control, stress management, and decision-making. Psychological symptoms related to stimulant misuse may also continue long after an individual quits, especially anxiety and depression. Theres even increasing evidence of a link between stimulants like cocaine and Parkinsons disease.
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