Sedatives are drugs that slow down the body's functions. Other terms for these drugs are tranquilizers or sleeping pills. They are used to calm anxiety or to help you sleep. At high doses, many of these drugs can cause unconsciousness and death.
There are 2 main kinds of sedatives: benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Barbiturates are rarely prescribed these days. Examples of barbiturates are secobarbital (Seconal) and pentobarbital (Nembutal). Accidental deaths sometimes occur when a user takes one dose, gets confused, and unintentionally takes more. With barbiturates, there is little difference between the amount that helps you sleep and the amount that kills.
Diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and clorazepate (Tranxene) are examples of benzodiazepines. All of these drugs can be dangerous when they are not taken according to a healthcare provider's instructions and especially if taken with alcohol.
People who are dependent on a drug feel an urgent need for the drug when it is stopped. You are psychologically dependent if you believe you need the drug to function normally. You are physically dependent if you have bodily changes when you stop using the drug, such as tremors or seizures. Sedatives can cause both kinds of dependence.
Sedatives change body chemistry, especially in the brain. At first you use the drug because it makes you feel good. If you become dependent, you need the drug to prevent the withdrawal symptoms. Your body's chemistry has to readjust if you stop taking the drugs. The withdrawal symptoms occur while the body is readjusting.
You have a higher risk of becoming dependent on drugs if you have:
Sedative drug dependence may cause:
When you stop taking the drug and the level of it in your blood drops, you may have withdrawal symptoms such as:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and drug use and examine you. A sample of your urine may be tested for drug use.
Withdrawal from sedative dependence can be life-threatening. Withdrawal from sedatives may be done in a hospital or in an outpatient setting. You will be carefully monitored as the amount of the drug in your body is slowly decreased.
Your healthcare provider or counselor will help you develop ways to avoid sedative use. He or she will also help you identify the stresses in your life. Your counselor will help you to develop healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety. Your healthcare provider may recommend community self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Recovery from sedative dependence can be a long process. Treating sedative dependence requires slowly and carefully decreasing the amount of the drug in your body. If you are dependent on sedatives and suddenly stop taking them, major withdrawal symptoms start within 16 hours. Withdrawal should be attempted only under medical care. The withdrawal symptoms last up to 5 days and gradually lessen over about 2 weeks.
If you are or have been addicted or dependent on a drug, admit that you have a drug problem. Seek professional help. The best way to help yourself is to see your healthcare provider and stop taking sedatives.
Changing your lifestyle can help you to stop using sedatives. Make the following a regular part of your life:
For more information, contact:
Phone: (818) 773-9999
Web site: http://www.na.org/