What Are Depressants?

Despite the name, depressants don’t necessarily make you feel depressed. Referred to as “downers,” these drugs are designed to help people relax, release inhibitions, and feel at-ease.

They are commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, stress, insomnia, sleep disorders, body pain, seizures, and more. Depressants can be swallowed, drank, injected, or snorted; once administered, they will affect the central nervous system and begin to slow down messages between the brian and the body. From there, a variety of effects will start to occur.


What Depressants Do

Depressants can help treat a suite of disorders, but they can be dangerous if not used responsibly. Because of their relaxing & euphoric properties, they are commonly abused. When misused, some depressants may cause:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Reduced coordination
  • Slow response time
  • Mood swings
  • Dilated pupils
  • Addiction/dependence
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma or death in extreme cases


Combining Depressants

Depressants may be dangerous on their own; and they can be even more harmful if mixed with other drugs. For example:

  1. Combining alcohol & benzos can decrease heart rate and increase chance of overdose
  2. Mixing benzodiazepines & opiates can cause breathing issues and increase chance of overdose


Legal vs. Illegal Depressants

There are many depressants floating around in the world — some legal and easy to obtain, some not. They all fall within three major types: sedatives, hypnotics, and tranquilizers.


Here are some common depressants and their legality status:


Depressant Legal?
Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax) With Prescription
Barbiturates With Prescription, Discontinued
Opioids With Prescription
Alcohol Age 21+
Sleeping Pills Over the Counter, Legal
GHB Illegal


Using Depressants Responsibly

Seeing as depressants are commonly prescribed by doctors and used frequently by individuals, they are generally safe for consumption. However, it’s easy for them to become addictive. Here are some ways to use depressants in a responsible way:

  • Use in moderation
  • Use only if legal or prescribed
  • Do not combine with other drugs
  • Avoid driving or operating machinery
  • Use when other people are around to supervise

However, since depressants are easily addictive, this is easier said than done. If you or someone you know is developing a dependence to any type of depressant, it’s important to seek recovery treatment options as soon as possible.


Seeking Help For Depressant Abuse

If someone is planning to seek help or stop using their depressant/s of choice, they need to take the necessary next steps to move forward successfully.

Since stopping depressant use can cause withdrawal, those with addictions should detox in a rehab or medical facility. After withdrawal is over, they can begin inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation treatment. A professional will create a treatment plan unique to them and administer CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to help them start the journey to sobriety from depressant drugs. 

If you or someone you know is using depressants excessively, contact our team of professionals to determine the next best steps. For more information, call us at 866-488-8349.