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How Will Abusing Sedatives Affect My Depression?

How Will Abusing Sedatives Affect My Depression?

Abusing sedatives will negatively impact your depression in any number of ways

Abusing sedatives will negatively impact your depression in any number of ways, but the end result is that you will find it much more difficult to overcome depression while abusing sedatives. In order to more fully appreciate the specific ways in which abusing sedatives can negatively impact your depression, it is best to begin with a comparison of depression and sedatives.

What Exactly Is a Sedative?

Sedatives are a category of drug that slows normal brain function, and are classified as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Most sedatives decrease communication between brain cells by limiting the availability or functionality of a particular neurotransmitter known as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). By quieting the brain in this way, sedatives are very effective medications for anxiety or insomnia.

There are two common forms of sedatives:

  1. Barbiturates such as mephobarbital and pentobarbital sodium.
  2. Benzodiazepines such as diazepam, chlordiazepoxide HCI, and alprazolam.

Side effects for central nervous system depressants align with what one might expect from a drug that slows the functioning and efficiency of the brain:

  • Tension relief
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired sense of time and space
  • Slow reflexes
  • Relaxed breathing

Central nervous system depressants, if abused or taken in larger doses than prescribed, have any number of risks associated with them. These risks include depression, suicidal tendencies, and symptoms of chronic intoxication such as impaired vision and headaches.

Sedative Symptoms Sound a Lot Like Depression

If you have struggled with depression for any length of time, or if you have studied the symptoms of depression, then you’ll notice that the side effects and risks for sedatives mirror the symptoms of depression. Common signs of depression include:

  • Intense sadness or emptiness
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously interesting
  • Increased anger, irritability, or aggression
  • Excessive tiredness, such that even menial tasks feel overwhelming
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or movements
  • Difficulty in concentration or decision making
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Restlessness or agitation

If your are already depressed, abusing sedatives can make you feel even more lethargic, tired and uninterested in life.

Sedatives Multiply the Impact of Depression

Simply put, taking sedatives when depressed can put you in a pit that you might not be able to escape easily. The side effects of the central nervous system depressants will often multiply the despair and hopelessness you are already battling because of your depression. Furthermore, these medications will enhance your symptoms of depression, while simultaneously draining your motivation to get better or find another way forward.

A further consideration is that your tolerance for a given sedative will increase over time. As with any other medication, your body will begin to be able to metabolize the medication more quickly, and your brain will adapt to a certain level of the medication. As a result of this shift, your body will begin demanding more sedatives, typically expressed through cravings. These cravings will often cause you to take more of the sedatives, thus increasing the impact of the medication upon your body. A negative cycle of addiction is therefore born, with the additional impact upon your depression.

Depression and Addiction

It is more common than you might think to find an individual with an addiction and a mental health disorder such as depression. There are specific methodologies that are applied to treatment for these Dual Diagnosis individuals, simply because treating the depression separate from the sedative addiction will be ineffective at best and possibly counterproductive.

Addiction professionals are specially trained to identify Dual Diagnoses cases, and have specific knowledge about how to provide the most current and effective treatments. Know this – there is hope, there is help, and you are not alone.

If you or a loved one in Des Moines is struggling with depression and sedative abuse, you can get the help you need to recover from both issues and find long-term sobriety and health. If this is where you find yourself right now, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way.