When most people think of tranquilizers, they don’t think of illicit drug use. However, while tranquilizers are still widely used in medical applications, they are often used outside of prescribed doses, and people do become addicted to them in some cases.
In this article, we look at the different types of tranquilizers, what they’re used for medically, and illegally, and what the effects and symptoms of addiction can be.
What Are Tranquilizers?
Tranquilizers are a type of drug designed to be central nervous system depressants. There are two kinds of tranquilizers – minor tranquilizers or anti anxiety agents, and major tranquilizers or neuroleptics, but both are classified as sedative hypnotics.
What Are Tranquilizers Used for In Medicine?
When prescribed by a doctor, tranquilizers are used to treat anxiety disorders, induce sleep, and for a range of other treatments, where the desired effect is to calm the patient. They’re also used to treat patients who suffer from panic attacks, and often, in the short term, for patients who have experienced shock.
Major tranquilizers, also known as anti psychotics, are used in medicine to treat serious mental conditions, such as hallucinations, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
How Do Tranquilizers Work?
Tranquilizers are CNS (Central Nervous System) depressants, which means that they work, essentially, by slowing down the function of your brain. It is because they have a physical effect on the function of the brain, that they only treat the problem in the short term. For instance, if you are prescribed tranquilizers for an anxiety disorder, you will feel less anxious while you are taking the drugs, but once you stop, your symptoms will return.
It is for this reason, that when a doctor or psychologist prescribes tranquilizers, which they will usually recommend that, they are taken in conjunction with other therapies, designed to treat the underlying cause of the problem.
Remember that tranquilizers only mask psychological symptoms, by slowing down the brain. They don’t solve the problem.
Illicit Use of Tranquilizers
While tranquilizers are intended for short term, supervised use only, they are also used illegally, in order to get high. Valium, Rohypnol and Serapax are just some of the tranquilizers that are used illegally.
What Is the Street Name for Tranquilizers?
If you were to buy tranquilizers illegally, it’s unlikely that you would buy them by their pharmacological names. Some of the street names for tranquilizers are candy, downers, and sleeping pills.
Are Tranquilizers Addictive?
Yes. All tranquilizers, whether they’re the so-called ‘minor’ tranquilizers, or the more regulated ‘major’ tranquilizers, are highly addictive.
In fact, in most cases, even doctors and psychologists who prescribe tranquilizers to their patients will limit the prescription to a few days. Addiction can happen very quickly, and at surprisingly low dosages.
What Are the Effects of Tranquilizers?
As the name suggests, the main effects of both major and minor tranquilizers are relaxation, drowsiness, sleepiness or a loss of inhibition. Some people also feel ‘disconnected’ from reality. All of these effects are reasons why tranquilizers are still used medically, but they can all be dangerous when abused.
Symptoms of Addiction or Overdose
Because people build up a tolerance to tranquilizers over time, they will require more of the drugs in order to get the same effect, over time. If they take too much of the drug, they run the risk of overdosing.
The effects of overdose will vary from person to person. In some cases, where minor tranquilizers are involved, and the dose is not very high, the person may experience a sensation similar to drunkenness. Larger doses of stronger tranquilizers can lead to other physical effects, ranging from mild, such as nausea or headaches, to severe, including coma or death.
Long-term use of tranquilizers may also result in a host of problems, ranging from lethargy and loss of sex drive, to weight gain, loss of motivation and trouble sleeping.
The severity of addiction to tranquilizers, and withdrawal from them will depend on the type of tranquilizers you are taking, the length of time you have
been taking them, and the tolerance you have built up.
Some mild tranquilizers may only produce mild psychological symptoms of withdrawal, but more serious addictions can lead to panic attacks, delirium, paranoia and other problems when you try to withdraw.
As a rule of thumb, always treat all tranquilizers as powerful narcotics, and make sure that you only take them in recommended doses, under the supervision and care of a physician. Opt for herbal sedatives instead of tranquilizers where possible, and never take even prescription tranquilizers for longer than a few days without first discussing it with your doctor.