What is a Depressant?
Types of Depressants
Normal drinking is characterized by no more than two 5 oz drinks a day for men and no more than one 5 oz drink a day for women (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Any amount of alcohol above this is considered "heavy" drinking (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).
Benzodiazepines & Barbituates
Psychological factors that attribute to substance abuse disorder suggest that children learn substance use behaviors from their parents and other adults they look up to (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Alcohol is the most common substance that can impact children's thoughts and make them more susceptible to developing an alcohol dependence (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Children who see their parents intoxicated and driving impaired teaches them that these are acceptable behaviors and thus are more likely to engage in them (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).
People who expect alcohol to reduce their distress and help them cope with situations are more likely to drink alcohol when they are upset (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Personality characteristics related to an increased risk of substance abuse include the lack of control of their behavior, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and prone to anti-social behaviors (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).
Sociocultural factors contribute to the prevalence of substance abuse. Substance use disorders are higher among people living in poverty, women in abusive relationships, and children whose parents fight violently and frequently (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Some cultures and religions discourage any use of alcohol, therefore there are less alcohol-related disorders in these societies (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be treated with benzodiazepines to reduce tremors, anxiety, decrease pulse and respiration rate, and stabilize blood pressure (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Naltrexone is also prescribed for alcohol abuse, which decreases the craving for alcohol (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Antabuse is another medication prescribed to those suffering from alcohol addiction by punishing the patient while drinking (and taking the medication) (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). The patient can feel sick, dizzy, vomit, and even faint after drinking just one alcoholic beverage (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step support group that people with an alcohol dependency take toward recovery (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). AA members provide support and encouragement to others and make themselves available to others in times of crisis (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).
For Benzodiazepines & Barbituates, detoxification and reducing the dose of the drug is the first goal of treatment (Drugs.com, n.d.). Treatment programs seek to motivate the individual to stop using the drug, to teach them new coping skills to deal with stressful and negative thinking, reduce exposure to those who continue to abuse the drugs, and enhance their support system (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).
Myths about depressants
FACT: Alcohol lowers inhibitions and may make you feel sexy, but it impairs sexual functioning (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014)
MYTH #2: You cannot become addicted to sleeping pills.
FACT: Many people treat short-term insomnia with sleeping pills, but many others can become dependent of them (AddictionCenter, 2015). Some people find themselves unable to fall asleep without the pill and need to increase their dose to fall asleep (AddictionCenter, 2015).
MYTH #3: Addiction is for life.
FACT: This is untrue and can place a burden on recovering addicts (Jaffe, 2012). According to the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, 75% of alcoholics recover without treatment (Jaffe, 2012).
Finding a professional to treat your substance abuse
AddictionCenter. (2015, November). Sleeping pill addiction and abuse. Retrieved from https://www.addictioncenter.com/sleeping-pills/
Drugs.com. (n.d.). Substance abuse (Depressants or sedative-hypnotic drugs). Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/health-guide/substance-abuse-depressants-or-sedative-hypnotic-drugs.html
Gowin, J. (2010, June 18). Your brain on alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201006/your-brain-alcohol
Jaffe, A. (2012, September 13). 5 damaging myths about addiction. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/13/health/jaffe-addiction-myths/
National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2015). Prescription depressant medications. Retrieved from https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/central-nervous-system-cns-depressants
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2015, August). Choosing a drug treatment program. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/choosing-a-drug-treatment-program.htm