Depressant Addiction

Gain deeper insights into the impact of depressants, some of the most commonly used drugs in the United States and worldwide. Learn more about their effects and potential consequences.


Depressants are some of the most widely used drugs in the United States and around the globe. Millions of people take depressants for a number of different disorders and conditions. Depressants cover a wide number of different drug types. However, when abused over a period of time, someone can develop a depressant addiction. As with any drug, depressant abuse can lead to a number of negative effects on a person’s life and livelihood.

Depressant abuse occurs when someone takes drugs in a way that goes against medical recommendation (or the prescribed amount). A person may continue using depressants even if they no longer need them.  Depressant abuse can eventually evolve into depressant addiction. This is why it’s important to know what depressant addiction looks like and how you can get help.

Some depressant drugs can be extremely addictive and dangerous if a person is left untreated. Sometimes comprehensive help like Harmony Ridge Recovery is required for recovery. Don’t wait for symptoms and effects to get worse, get help right now. You are not alone in your struggles and we’re here to show you the way towards a better life.

What Are Depressants?


Depressants are a class of drugs that are used to treat an umbrella of different symptoms. They are sometimes referred to as “downers.” Depressants directly affect the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). Typically, depressants give the user a relaxed, sleepy, and drowsy feeling. Depressants tend to reduce awareness in the brain and CNS activity. They are used to treat a variety of disorders when used properly. Depressants are used to treat some of the following disorders:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • Stress
  • Sleep disorders

Depressants are some of the most used drugs in the world. Depressants come in many different names and types. With this in mind, depressants can be extremely addictive, regardless of the form they come in. Every year, thousands of people develop depressant addiction and suffer from its withdrawal effects. Some depressants have the potential to cause deadly withdrawal symptoms if a person is not careful. While some depressants might be safer than others, all types hold the possibility of addiction. This is why it’s always important to stick closely to the prescribed amount and follow your doctor’s orders.

Common Types of Depressants


The term “depressant” covers a variety of different names and drug types. Each of these drugs differs greatly from case to case. Some depressants are extremely addictive, while others are safer. Some depressants like heroin are illegal and are used for recreational purposes. A few of the most commonly abused depressants are:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Sleeping Pills (most of them)
  • Opioids

As mentioned, depressants encompass many different types of precipitation drugs and sedatives. They can come in many forms and can sometimes be acquired over the counter. Depressant addiction can happen to anyone, regardless of age or gender. Now that you know what depressants are, you should know the common types of depressants.


Alcohol is a popularly used drug and is used by millions of people every year. This substance is actually a depressant since it depresses the brain and causes a multitude of effects (mostly negative) on the brain and body. The severity of alcohol’s effects is reliant on how much and how fast a person drinks. While drinking is a completely normal and popular act, constant drinking can result in health and social problems.

The more you drink, the higher chance you will experience negative emotional effects in your mind. You may see alcohol as a way of easing anxiety and other stresses. However, alcohol usually has the opposite effect and ends up making your anxiety worse. Alcohol is also the cause of other negative emotions such as anger, depression, and aggression. Without control, a person can fall headfirst into addiction, dependence, and withdrawal from alcohol.


Benzodiazepines (or “benzos” for short) are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that are widely used to treat various conditions. Benzos are effective in treating anxiety, convulsions, and sleep disorders. Benzodiazepines are known by many different names and brands. Some of these may sound familiar:

  • Restoril
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Dalmane
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin

Benzos are extremely effective when it comes to cases of insomnia and anxiety. This is because of benzos’ sleep-inducing, sedative properties. Benzos are relatively safe and effective if you take them in the short term and as prescribed. However, in the long term, benzos are known to be very addictive and potentially dangerous. Tolerance can also be a big factor in a person’s addiction (which means they will have to take more for the drug’s effects). It’s important to take potentially addictive drugs like benzos as instructed by a medical professional.


Barbiturates (downers) are depressant drugs that are typically used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and other conditions. Like benzos and other depressants, barbiturates come in different forms. Common barbiturates include Luminal, Mebaral, Seconal, and Amytal. Barbiturates can create euphoric feelings and relaxation even if you take them in small doses.

They’re also effective in changing sleeping patterns. They can induce suppressed rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in the user. Because of their addictive nature and skyrocketing abuse rates, barbiturates were replaced by benzodiazepines over time. As addictive as benzos can be, they’re still considered less addictive (and less likely to cause overdose) than barbiturates.

Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are one of the most popular forms of depressants. Millions of people use sleeping pills and sleeping aids every single year. Sleeping pills come in many different brands and include non-benzodiazepine sleeping aids. Sonata, Lunesta, and Ambien are just some of the most common forms. These drugs are mainly used to treat cases of sleeping disorders like insomnia. Non-benzodiazepine sleeping pills aren’t used to reduce/aid an anxiety disorder. Sleeping pills are less risky than benzos in terms of possible depressant addiction. However, addiction is still possible with sleeping pills.


Opioids are among the most prescribed pain medications in the world. They’re also widely abused because of their popularity. Some opioids can be used to help treat opioid addiction (ex: methadone). There are legal and illegal opioids (such as heroin). Legal types of opioids include codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.

Opioids have many differences from each other, both in severity and addiction potential. With this in mind, opioids are similar when it comes to their respective chemical compositions. Opioids are known to be effective in treating different spectrums of pain. However, opioids can be dangerous when abused. Opioids are very addictive and can lead to overdose if abused in the long-term.

How Depressants Affect the Body


Depressant drugs can have many different effects on a person’s body and mind. This becomes especially clear when a person begins to build a tolerance to the drug. While a person’s dosage increases, their risk of overdose and danger increases. It’s important to be able to pinpoint these specific effects so you can get appropriate help.

Depressant drugs decrease the brain’s activity and create an overwhelming feeling of relaxation and sluggishness. Other effects and symptoms of depressants include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Fatigue and sleepiness
  • Poor coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble with memory
  • Blackouts
  • Problems focusing/concentrating
  • Urinating issues
  • Slurred speech

If a person continues taking depressants (a possible depressant addiction), they will begin to experience other effects. Depressant drugs should not be abused and should be taken as prescribed. Long-term effects include the following:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Trouble breathing and sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Weight gain
  • Dependence on depressant drugs
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Addiction

Signs of Depressant Addiction

Depressant addiction is stressful and can be potentially dangerous in some cases. Look closely for these signs in a loved one or friends. Signs of depressants addiction include the following:

  • Poor performances in work and in their social life
  • Secretive behavior (acting guiltily)
  • Mood swings
  • Lowered energy and lack of motivation
  • Attempting to stop depressant use but not being able to
  • Depression

The Withdrawal Effects of Depressant Drugs


As with all addictive drugs, the body will experience withdrawal symptoms if a person stops using depressants. Certain depressant drugs can actually alter the brain’s chemistry and how a person thinks about depressants. Withdrawal symptoms appear in the 12- to 24-hour mark of not using. In specific events, barbiturate or benzo sedative withdrawals can result in a rebound effect. This means that the condition they were using benzos or barbiturates for, comes back stronger than before.

Withdrawal symptoms of depressant addiction can be very dangerous and erratic. You should not try to detox alone (“cold turkey”). Medically assisted detox by trusted centers like Harmony Ridge are commended for safety and effectiveness. You shouldn’t attempt to detox alone, let us help you today. The common withdrawal effects of stopping depressant drugs use include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Weakness
  • Body tremors
  • Changes in perception
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Muscular pain

Depressant Addiction Treatment


There are several different steps and options when it comes to depressant addiction treatment. At Harmony Ridge, we offer comprehensive support and treatment through your recovery journey. There are many different options for treatment, each of which is personalized and accessed just for you. Let’s take a look at depressant addiction treatment options:


Detoxification is a must when it comes to addiction recovery. Depressant addiction can cause several negative effects on the body. Detox purges the body of these depressants (and all drugs). This is a needed step for more personalized treatment. Depressants can cause unpredictable and dangerous withdrawals. This is why we offer medication assistance and medical supervision throughout the entire process.


After detox, a person will most likely move onto our quality inpatient treatment program. Here you will use many different forms of therapy to improve, grow, and change your thought processes and cravings. Learn to deal with life’s stresses by creating a relapse prevention plan while changing your life for the better.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and individualized one-on-one therapy are both used to treat depressant addiction cases. Other behavioral treatments are also used after detox. These help a person change their thought processes and behavior (associated with their addiction). CBT and other behavioral therapies are used in almost all cases of addiction.


Throughout a person’s recovery, a person will experience intense withdrawal symptoms (due to the intensity of some depressant addiction cases). Specific medication can be used to ease some of the physical symptoms. Medication is also used in tangent with psychotherapy and behavior therapies. All medication is administered by medical professionals at our wonderful facility in West Virginia.

Get Treatment Help Today


Depressant addiction can be an intense and stressful situation for you and everyone involved. It’s important to get treatment from experienced and passionate professionals. At Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, we offer full and quality for you and your family. We make sure you are taken care of and treated effectively from beginning to end. Don’t wait to get help; contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and facility.

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