- Most widely used and abused drugs in the U.S.
- Popular for its stress and anxiety relieving properties as well as acceptably.
- Chloral Hydrate was first synthesized in 1832 but not used clinically until 1870.
- Chloral Hydrate has a short onset (30 minutes) and 1g can induce sleep.
- Chloral Hydrate abuse causes massive stomach pain.
- Paraldehyde was first synthesized in 1829 but not used clinically until 1882.
- Paraldehyde has a very large margin of safety and is a very effective CNS depressant.
- Its negative point is that it has an awful taste and a bad smell that permeates the breath of the user.
- Bromides salts were used to induce sleep in the 19th century and used until the 1960’s in OTC meds.
- Bromides have serious toxic effects.
- Barbiturates were first used clinically in 1903.
- Barbiturates are very dangerous when combined with alcohol, however, they are still used for sleep.
- Barbiturates are grouped into time of onset and duration of action.
- Meprobamate was the first antianxiety agent, known as The Happy Pill of 1953.
- Meprobamate can cause physical dependence with as little as twice the normal daily dose.
- Methaqualone was mass marketed as a safe downer.
- Physicians over prescribed Methaqualone and many problems, from suicides to overdoses, were seen.
- Methaqualone is now listed as a schedule I drug.
- Librium was the first benzodiazepines marketed as an anxiety reducer with a large safety margin. Others followed as did reports of psychological dependence.
- Rohypnol is one version. It is legal in places other then the US. Here it is known as the “date rape” drug.
- Benzodiazepines work by bonding with receptors. They enhance the normally inhibitory effects of GABA.
Sedatives and Hypnotics (Nonbenzodiazepines)
- Nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics are the newest additions to the depressant drug class.
- Nonbenzodiazepine are more selective for the GABA-A type of receptor
- Sedatives cause mild depression of the CNS and are used to treat extreme anxiety referred to as anxiolytic.
- Four top selling prescribed medications in the US are anxiolytic. They are the most widely prescribed drug class.
- Many types of anxieties are treated with these antianxiety drugs.
- Hypnotics are used to encourage sleep because of their amnesiac effects. They have, in the past, been liked to very harsh side effects.
- Anticonvulsants are given at very low doses, chronically. For this reason a tolerance tends to develop. This lowers or stopping the desired effects.
- Short-acting barbiturates are the benzodiazepines that are most likely to cause psychological dependence.
- Chronic use of large doses can lead to withdraw syndromes from barbiturates that are similar to alcohol but longer lasting and more unpleasant.
- Barbiturates can produce alcohol-like intoxication with impaired judgment and coordination. This can make it easier to cause harm to oneself while under the influence.
- Depressed rate of respiration is the largest physiological concern. Especially when mixed with alcohol.
- Gaseous anesthetics have been used for many years, with people misusing them for just as long. Nitrous oxide, laughing gas, is still used today as a light anesthesia.
- Butyl nitrites cause rapid delegation of the arteries and can cause faintness or unconsciousness. It can help with high blood pressure. Sold as “Poppers” , they usual have a very unpleasant stench.
- There are many types of volatile solvents. Most “huffers” are children that use household items to get high. Aerosols, toluene, gasoline, freon, butane and propane can all be used.
- GHB – gamma hydroxybutyric acid is a CNS depressant that occurs natural in the body.
- It has been taken as a dietary supplement to stimulate muscle growth.
- It is listed as a schedule I drug except in one form that is used to help with cataplexy. In the form of Xyrem it is a schedule II.