Though depressants and stimulants are diametrically opposite in nature, they act on the same portions of the central nervous system (CNS). However, higher dosages of both the drugs have the potential to cause severe repercussions on the users. Therefore, it is essential to understand the difference and similarities between these medications.
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, sometimes referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers, are substances that can slow brain activity. Being sedative in nature, doctors typically prescribe depressants to relieve anxiety or sleep disorders. In higher doses, some CNS depressants can become general anesthetics. Based on their chemistry and pharmacology, CNS depressants can be divided into two groups that include barbiturates and benzodiazepines.
Stimulants have historically been used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, as well as obesity and neurological disorders, among others. Though these drugs enhance alertness, attention and energy, they also increase blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. As their potential for abuse and addiction became apparent, the use of stimulants began to wane.
Besides the above-mentioned diseases, prescription of stimulants has been considerably restrained to only a few health conditions, including narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and occasionally depression in those who have not responded to other treatments. Considering the role of stimulants in enhancing energy and alertness and the role of depressants in calming one’s racing nerves and disturbed mind, these drugs are increasingly misused by people, especially youngsters. These drugs are being abused like never before for the enhancement of performance or experimentation.
It is essential to understand the common medications that are classified as CNS depressants to avoid the aforementioned side effects and development of an addiction. Some of these medicines are as follows:
Most prescription stimulants are labeled as Schedule II drugs by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) due to the increased chances of misuse. When abused, some of the prescribed stimulants as mentioned below can turn out to be as dangerous as illicit stimulants. Therefore, it is essential to take such drugs under the supervision of a doctor. Some of the side effects of the commonly used stimulants are as follows:
Generally, depressants enable even shy and introvert individuals to function better at social gatherings. Such drugs help in replacing troubled thoughts with pleasurable feelings, building a sense of confidence, and alleviating anxiety and stress. Since stimulants are sometimes shared with friends for enhancing academic performance, this increases the scope for misuse, especially among youngsters. These behaviors ultimately lead to an addiction
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