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Best Options for Central Nervous System Depressants Treatment

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Table of Contents

cropped shot of pharmacist holding containers with medication

Central Nervous System Depression

Central Nervous System Depression can cause decreased heart rate, reduced rate of breathing, and loss of consciousness. It can lead to coma or death, as well. It is a physiological state that can result in suppressed or inhibited or slow brain activity. 

Depression causes the CNS to function slowly, which might not be an issue initially. But when the degradation escalates, it can be life-threatening. Sometimes the constant use of depressants can also lead to addiction. 

Then the patients have to look for the best options for Central Nervous System Depressants Treatment. CNS depression can also be caused as a result of severe health events. Substance abuse and alcoholism can also lead to CNS depression.

What are Central Nervous System Depressants?

CNS depressants are medicines that include tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics. These drugs slow brain activity and are used as a treatment for acute stress reactions, panic attacks, anxiety, and sleep disorders. These depressants can cause drowsiness. 

Sedatives are often used to treat sleep disorders like insomnia. The hypnotics are helpful to induce sleep. The tranquilizers are prescribed to treat anxiety and relieve muscle spasms.

How do CNS depressants affect the brain?

Very often, people feel drowsiness and uncoordinated during the initial stages of taking medicine.  This is due to slow brain activity. The body receives a while to adjust itself to these side effects.  When a person has been taking CNS depressants for the long term, then he or she might have to make high doses eventually to achieve the intended therapeutic effects.

 The continued use can also lead to withdrawal and dependence when the use is abruptly stopped or reduced. If the intake is suddenly stopped, then there can be dire consequences like seizures.

How can an overdose of a CNS Depressant be treated?

The best option for central nervous system depressants treatment is to immediately get the person who has overdosed even on the drugs is- immediate medical attention. Most CNS depressants cause the increased activity of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). It is a chemical that inhibits brain activity by affecting the neurotransmitter.  

A medication called Flumazenil (Romazicon®) is generally used by a medical personal to treat the overdose of benzodiazepine. It has been known to be effective in treating the overdose of sleeping medicines. However, the side effects of the drug are seizures in patients who are on anti-depressants and may not completely reverse the slowing of breathing.

Prescription CNS depressant can lead to substance use disorder and addiction

The use or misuse of prescription-based medication can lead to a problem called substance use disorder (SUD). It is a form of addiction or substance abuse in the most severe cases. 

The drugs have potential to be abused. Sometimes the long- term use of the prescribed medications by the doctor can increase the tolerance level of the body to those drugs. This will lead to needing a higher dose of medicine to get the desired effect.

 A SUD will develop when negative consequences are seen as a failure in meeting the daily responsibilities of personal and professional lives. Sometimes severe health failures are also the case. Sometimes stopping the drugs abruptly can also lead to tragic withdrawal symptoms like-

  • insomnia
  • overactive reflexes
  • seizures
  • shakiness
  • hallucinations
  • severe cravings
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • increased heart rate, high blood pressure and temperature with sweating

The first and foremost rule is patients addicted to the depressants due to long term use must never stop the medications on their own. As the withdrawal symptoms can be potentially life-threatening.

Treatment for CNS Depressant Addiction

There is not a lot of research-based proof for the right approach to the treatment of CNS depressant addiction. However, patients need to undergo a medically supervised detoxification. As abrupt stoppage can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms, hence the dosage needs to be tapered gradually.

Counseling, either in an inpatient or outpatient program, can help people to go through the process better.

 Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a kind of counseling that is focused on modifying the person’s expectations, thinking, and behaviors so that they can cope with life’s stresses in a more composed manner. This therapy has helped many patients to stop using benzodiazepines successfully. It is one of the best options for the central nervous system depressants treatment.

Barriers to the treatment

Although everyone knows that the treatment is important yet many people have some inhibitions about it that stops them from having the adequate treatment. Some of the common barriers are-

  • The treatment is expensive and often many people can’t afford it.
  • Many people are in denial that CNS depressants can work adversely as well. They perceive that there is no problem at all and ignore their addiction issues.
  • There is a general stigma among people regarding treatments for drugs such as alcohol and an addiction.
  • The conflict of time among people for their different personal responsibilities and the treatment sessions
  • The treatment facilities everywhere is not adequate and sometimes fails to provide proper treatment. Sometimes short term treatments even make the problem worse.

 Often the misuse of CNS prescription depressants occurs along with other addictions like substance abuse of opioids, drugs, cocaine, and alcoholism. In such cases, the person must seek treatment that would address all such issues as well. With consistent effort from the patient and the right help, many patients have come out of their addiction issues successfully.

Take control of your life and join Design For Recovery sober living homes to battle with your addiction!


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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