CNS depressants are central nervous system depressants and include barbiturates and benzodiazepines (benzos). This drug class has a calming or tranquilizing effect that is typically given as a sedative or even general anesthetic. These medications can be given in low doses to help with anxiety, but unfortunately can become highly addictive very quickly. The issue with CNS medications, especially for sleep issues or anxiety is that the lack of this medication can mean the issue is still present. Additionally, the body can build up a tolerance to this type medication that requires higher doses over time which can lead to addiction. Having an addiction to a prescribed medication, though not often discussed, is relatively common. This does not mean the individual is weak or that they were just meant to be an addict. But a real need led to a real addiction that must be dealt with as such.
Common CNS Medications
Some of the most common CNS medications include Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. These are commonly prescribed by a physician or psychiatrist for anxiety related issues. While the medications do have and can be used for their intended purpose the abuse of such medications is pretty common. The signs of abuse are drowsiness, confusion, memory problems, vision changes, and even personality or behavior changes. Though a mild effect as described does not necessarily mean abuse, long term effects do signify abuse. Just to clarify, some of these medications are meant to cause drowsiness or limit anxiety so lethargy or slight behavior changes may be noticeable. But this should not be for extended periods of time. Each of the three common types of CNS medications will be described below. As well as withdrawal effects associated with this medication class.
Though highly regulated and not as likely to be prescribed, Xanax was once a popular medication used for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. The use of Xanax is being limited in places such as the U.S. as the addictive properties are well documented. Xanax is given in a pill form and when taken correctly can be a short term solution for anxiety and related behaviors. Unfortunately Xanax is often taken in excess or crushed and snorted when abused.
Klonopin and Valium
Klonopin and Valium are also benzos that are used to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Additionally, these medications can be used for the treatment of seizure disorders. When used incorrectly these medications can be used to get ‘high’ much like excessive alcohol use. If used incorrectly these medications can cause constipation, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Prescription CNS Withdrawal
When withdrawing from CNS depressants the person have extreme anxiety and panic, sweat excessively, have muscle pain, nausea, and trouble sleeping. These effects will make the person likely to seek more medication. Withdraw can occur even when the medication is used appropriately, just not in such extreme ways. If you are using these types of medications inappropriately then seek help to end the addiction. Panic and anxiety can be treated in many different ways and if addiction is an issue than other methods may be more appropriate. Never be afraid to ask for help.
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