When it comes to substance use disorder, depressants rank as one of the most dangerous categories of drugs. These drugs work by slowing down the activity in the brain. Some depressants are legally prescribed to treat health conditions such as anxiety, seizures or insomnia.
Unfortunately, many people can find themselves battling a serious addiction even when they have a legal prescription for a depressant drug. Because of the way the drug affects the brain, it can lead to serious dependence and addiction. There are different types of depressants, but some might have a more serious effect on a person than others. It’s fair to wonder which one is the most dangerous.
What Are Depressant Drugs?
Depressants are drugs that directly affect the central nervous system while slowing down the brain’s activity. The drugs affect a specific neurotransmitter in the brain, resulting in a variety of symptoms and side effects. A few examples of depressant drugs include the following:
- Some sleeping pills
While different depressants might work differently, they all share in common the effect on the central nervous system and on the brain. These drugs are highly addictive, which means it’s easy for a person to become dependent on them over time. If the drug is used in any way other than as legally prescribed, it can result in a serious substance use disorder.
Which Depressant Is the Most Dangerous?
When determining which depressant drug is the most addictive, it’s important to break down each category of these drugs and study their effects. Alcohol is perhaps the most widely used, which makes it very dangerous. Depending on a variety of factors, a person can easily become addicted to alcohol and end up wholly dependent on it. There is a notable change that takes place in the brain. Alcohol can exacerbate anything a person happens to be feeling at the moment: fear, anger, sorrow, happiness, depression or anxiety. Serious withdrawal can also occur when a person tries to stop drinking. Barbiturates are also known as “downers.”
They were once commonly prescribed to treat sleep disorders and anxiety. They can give the individual a sense of euphoria when taken and are highly addictive. While they were often prescribed to treat legitimate medical issues, they were found to have a high dependency and abuse rate.
Benzodiazepines are currently prescribed to treat many medical conditions such as anxiety, sleep disorders and other disorders that stem from stress. They can help people sleep, ease muscle spasms and give a calming feeling that allows for relaxation. Many of these depressants are safe when taken properly and as needed.
However, if a person abuses them by taking them habitually even when they don’t need them or in larger doses, they can become addictive. Sleeping pills are prescribed to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. They slow down activity in the brain to allow people to have a restful sleep and have fewer side effects than other depressant drugs.
However, they can still lead to addiction if a person takes them improperly and for long periods. Opioids are probably the most dangerous depressants alongside alcohol. They are often prescribed as painkillers to help treat chronic pain. In addition to drugs like hydrocodone that are prescribed for this purpose, there are also other, illicit drugs like heroin that fall under the category of opioids. These substances are highly addictive and can lead to serious substance use disorder that requires extensive treatment.
How Do Depressants Affect the Central Nervous System?
Depressant drugs have a direct impact on the central nervous system and slow down the brain’s activity. The following effects occur when these drugs are used or abused:
- Urination problems
- Lower blood pressure
- Memory loss
- Slower reaction time
- Slower pulse and breathing rate
- Slurred speech
- Lower inhibitions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty urinating
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of coordination
When a person abuses depressants, the effects on the central nervous system are even more serious. In addition to addiction, it’s common to experience depression, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, chronic fatigue, sleep problems, breathing problems and even suicidal thoughts. Ready to get help? We’re available 24 hours a day, so call us at 844-639-8371.