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What are Prescription CNS Depressants?

Depressants, or more commonly referred to as central nervous system depressants (CNS) are a type of drug that works by slowing down the functioning in a person’s brain. Depressants are also called “downers” and work by suppressing the (CNS) and are considered the most widely used drugs in the United States.

Prescription CNS depressants refers to prescription drugs such as sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. CNS depressants can slow brain activity, making them useful for treating anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.

CNS depressants work by increasing the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) a chemical that causes changes in brain activity. They are used to treat certain disorders such as anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia and acute stress reactions.

If you are struggling with depressants and are looking for information on a drug and alcohol addiction program, please reach out to AToN Center. Our addiction and substance abuse treatment services can help treat the effects of depressants, including CNS depressants.

Types of Depressants

The most common forms of CNS depressants include alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, marijuana, and barbiturates. These drugs are typically prescribed by a doctor or MD to treat health disorders. Sometimes depressants can be medically necessary but often are also used for recreational purposes.

Drugs that are classified as depressants include:

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A common depressant that is used recreationally among many people is alcohol. Despite being legal, alcohol is a depressant that can cause health effects in the body. Alcohol is a CNS depressant, meaning that it slows down brain functioning and neural activity. Alcohol does this by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA.

Alcohol causes effects that stimulate the body and are similar to sedatives. Lots of people will drink alcohol to “loosen up” or reduce certain social inhibitions, but it can also result in health effects.


An opioid is one of the most commonly prescribed CNS prescription depressants in the United States and is heavily addictive. An opioid is used to treat pain, and there are many types that can be prescribed. The most common types of opioids are prescription medications, hydrocodone, codeine and other illegal street drugs.

While opioids are considered extremely effective for treating pain, this drug can cause addiction and is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. The opioid crisis is a serious problem in the U.S. that causes tens of thousands of lives to be lost every year.


Benzodiazepines or also known as “benzos” are a CNS depressant drug that is prescribed by a doctor to treat health disorders such as sleep disorders, anxiety, convulsions, or other acute stress disorders.

Some of the most commonly benzodiazepines include Xanax, Ativan and Valium. Benzodiazepines are a highly effective drug in treating anxiety and insomnia due to the sleep-inducing, sedative, and muscle-relaxing properties.


Barbiturates or also called “downers” are prescription drugs that are used to treat health disorders such as tension, anxiety and sleep disorders. Common barbiturates include Luminal, Amytal, (Phenobarbital), Nembutal, Seconal and Mebaral.

The Effects of a Depressant

The effects of prescription depressants will depend on what type of medication is being taken, although there may be similarities between them. For example, sedatives can cause drowsiness and are prescribed to treat certain sleep disorders such as insomnia. Other types of depressants like tranquilizers are used to treat anxiety and will cause muscle relaxation.

The most common reported side effects are:

Long-Term Health Effects of Depressants

Like most drugs, there is potential to be some serious side effects, including long-term health effects from depressants.

If you are suffering from abuse or addiction to any drugs, please reach out to our addiction treatment center and rehab. Our top-notch treatment can address the symptoms that are associated with the long-term use of drugs, helping you develop proper coping strategies so that you can move into recovery.

Some of the most common health effects that people experience long-term from depressants include:

Depressant Substance Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is becoming an increasingly more dangerous problem in the United States for many people. The effects of drug and alcohol abuse are harmful to the mind, body and overall health of people who go through it. Millions of Americans suffer from addiction, and treatment for substance abuse can be a hard step to take.

Someone who uses a depressant inappropriately can develop an addiction to it if their body builds a tolerance and dependence. Although a doctor or MD may prescribe a depressant to you, it can still cause problems and addiction can occur.

Signs of Depressant Abuse

Some of the most common signs that someone might be misusing or abusing a CNS prescription drug are the following:

Addiction Treatment at AToN Center

AToN Center is a premiere, first-class, luxury drug and alcohol addiction treatment center that is located in San Diego, California. Our addiction treatment services and care are extensive, and our program addresses any addiction, including prescription drugs. We understand the strength it takes to realize that you need help for substance abuse, and our rehab program will provide you with the tools needed to become sober, free from drugs or alcohol.

The addiction treatment services and care at our center focus on each of our clients individually, and we address the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol to both your phyiscal health and mental health. Our treatment rehab center offers 12-step programs, non-12 step programs, holistic options and many other amenities that allow you to decide what type of treatment is best for you.

If you are looking for more information on our treatment programs, levels of care, availability, insurance eligibility, or any other additional information, please contact AToN Center at (888) 973-0299.