Reasons Why Individuals May Choose to Use Depressant Substances


What Are Depressants?

Depressants are a category of drugs that are meant to help relax the body in mind. Despite the name, they don’t necessarily make people feel depressed. Instead, they reduce arousal and stimulation by impacting the central nervous system. Once someone takes a depressant in the form of liquid or a pill, the drug will begin to slow down messages between one’s body and brain.


Examples of Depressant Drugs

The term “depressants” covers a wide range of drugs. Let’s start with the most common: alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are all considered depressants because they affect the nervous system and how the brain & body process different things.


Other types of depressants, typically accessed by prescription or illegally, include:


  • Benzodiazepines
    • Valium
    • Xanax
  • Sleeping pills
    • Lunesta
    • Ambien
  • GHB
  • Kava


These all fall into the same category purely because of their purposes and effects on the user.


Why Do People Use Depressants?

Depressants are usually prescribed and taken to relieve a variety of health problems such as:

  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures and epilepsy

While depressants can definitely help people with prescriptions relax and sleep more easily, they aren’t only used for health reasons. Especially in the form of alcohol, depressants may be taken to release inhibitions and help the user let loose.


Side Effects of Depressants

Like all other drugs and medicines, depressants have their risks. Each type of depressant is vastly different and can affect each user in unique ways every time. However, there are some commonly-found symptoms that people on depressants experience. Side effects may include:

  • Decreased coordination
  • Lack of concentration
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Overdose

As you can see, symptoms can range from mild to extremely severe. This can all depend on the person who is using the depressants, how often they take them, and how much they use. For example, someone who is drinking a few beers one night may experience a little bit of dizziness along with some nausea that night and the following day. A person who uses Xanax regularly, on the other hand, may be at more of a risk for dependence/addiction or other dangerous consequences.


How to Use Depressants Responsibly

Depressants can cause alcohol poisoning or even an overdose if not used responsibly and carefully. Depending on the substance you’re using, you may need to take different steps to avoid harming yourself or risking dependence.

If you’re thinking of using a prescription depressant, you should always talk to your doctor first to see which medication is best for you and your condition. If you choose to drink one night, the most important step is to know your limits and stop yourself if you notice any undesirable symptoms.

The most dangerous thing about depressants of any kind is that they can easily cause a tolerance and dependence in whoever is using them. Therefore, it’s important to use under medical advice only. Depressants are not recommended for people with serious health conditions, as they may spike symptoms.

If you have any questions about using depressants, including how to use them responsibly and avoid abuse, contact our team of skilled mental health and substance abuse professionals.