Prescription Depressants
Educational Video

Also Known As: Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Sedatives
Slang Terms: Downers

  • As of 2010, there has been more than an estimated 2.4 million Americans that have used prescription drugs for the first time. * NIH statistic
  • Depressants, or DOWNERS, are “psychoactive” drugs that slow down the central nervous system reducing excitability and arousal levels while inducing feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
  • Depressants were originally intended to be helpful to those who suffer from severe chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and other mood disorders.
  • These depressants are abused for the euphoric side effects caused by the release of endorphins to the blood stream and dilated blood vessels.
  • Depressants are commonly recognized as medications administered in tablets or capsules such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Soma, Oxycontin/ Oxycodone, or Vicodin.
  • When misused, some of these medications have been crushed and snorted or even broken down in liquid and injected.
  • Abusing depressants can alter brain chemicals so severely that it can cause side effects such as: cognitive, memory and judgment impairment, poor concentration, fatigue and confusion, physical and psychological dependence and more.
  • Signs to look for of someone using depressants are excessive sleep or fatigue, dilated pupils, decreased appetite, slurred speech and more.
  • Prolonged use can result in physical and psychological tolerance and dependence which leads to medical, psychiatric and sociological deterioration like chronic sleep problems, respiratory depression, respiratory arrest, impaired sexual function, even over dose and death.
  • When attempting to arrest the misuse or abuse of Depressants, there can be withdrawal symptoms such as muscle pain, body ache, severe anxiety, depression, panic and others. The effects and intensity of withdrawal symptoms vary in the type and dose of drug being used.

Prescription Depressant Addicts Can Recover

The first step is detox and can take place in a medical or residential setting. This is ideal for a person who wants to live 100% clean and sober.

After complete detoxification most addicts who chose complete abstinence have better outcomes committing to a residential treatment center for thirty to ninety days.

There are also no cost 12-step self-help programs such as - Narcotics Anonymous.

If you or your loved one is seeking help Hopelinks is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week – call today 866 806 2821.

We look forward to helping you and your loved one.


STREET DRUGS: a drug identification guide 2010
National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Medline Plus:

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