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Depressant addiction is more common than one might think. There are several kinds of central nervous system depressants, many of which can be extremely addictive if such drugs are abused.
There are different types of drug classifications depending on how the substance affects a person’s body and mind. The two main categories are stimulants and depressants. While stimulants can be dangerous in their own right, depressants can easily lead to an overdose death if a person procrastinates attending an addiction treatment program.
Central nervous system depressants, or CNS depressants for short, are psychoactive drugs that slow down the body’s systems. This is why downers is another name for this kind of drug.
The central nervous system is composed of the spinal cord as well as the brain. By impeding the body’s systems from functioning as they normally would, drugs in this class can create an influx of brain chemicals that will make one feel more relaxed and content.
A depressant addiction is when a person’s entire life revolves around using CNS depressants despite any repercussions that may come about as a result. Those with an addiction to depressants may desperately want to stop using this kind of drug but are unable to for many reasons. For one, they might have a dependence on depressants. So, when they try to stop or cut down on depressants, they are met with a flurry of unbearable withdrawal symptoms.
Depressant withdrawal symptoms become worse as people’s tolerance for depressants builds. Ultimately, people with a depressant use disorder will need to consume depressants just to feel normal. There are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate that an individual is suffering from an addiction to depressants:
Addiction is a complex medical disorder where individuals can’t stop using substances no matter how hard they try. Part of the reason why people that are addicted to depressants aren’t able to stop using them is because they don’t want to experience the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with reducing or stopping substance use.
Examples of depressant withdrawal symptoms include:
There are a large variety of CNS depressants that exist. Some of them provide people with a normal life through their therapeutic effects. Yet, depressant abuse can slip into self-destruction. These common depressants aren’t inherently bad but must be taken with precaution in order to avoid addiction or overdose.
Alcohol is a legal CNS depressant that many individuals enjoy on a regular basis. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that there is no potential for addiction though. In fact, approximately 6% of the American adult population suffers from an alcohol use disorder.
Benzos are a powerful depressant that helps individuals with muscle spasms, insomnia, and anxiety disorders. Some types of benzos include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. While benzos help many individuals overcome serious health disorders, they have a high risk for abuse. Unfortunately, like many other depressants, individuals can overdose on these types of depressants when misused.
Sometimes medical professionals choose to include opioids in a class of their own. Yet, opioids can be described as CNS depressants. The brain has natural opioid receptors, which opioid drugs block. This causes individuals to feel relaxed and, at times, a euphoric high. Doctors are wary to prescribe opioids, although they provide pain relief, because of how addictive they are.
In the past, medical professionals relied on barbiturates to provide patients with relief from the symptoms of mental health illnesses, mainly anxiety. Yet, barbiturates are extremely addictive.
Barbiturates are especially addictive because they have a euphoric effect in almost any dose. Due to how dangerously addictive barbiturates are, doctors now prescribe individuals that would have been given barbiturates benzos.
Although sleeping pills may seem harmless, most are forms of depressants. For instance, Ambien is a popular sleep aid that is classified as a CNS depressant. Although the potential for addiction isn’t as high as other depressants, it can still happen.
Depressants are arguably more difficult to stop without help than other types of drugs, such as stimulants. The reason for this is that depressant withdrawal symptoms tend to manifest both physically and mentally. With that, the physical withdrawal symptoms can be quite dangerous without the care of medical professionals at an addiction treatment facility.
A detox from depressants helps individuals rid their bodies of any traces of psychoactive substances as well as the toxins that may have built up through continuous use of them. Patients at detox or addiction treatment facilities will have the full support and guidance of a medical team as they go through the first stage of overcoming an addiction.
A detox protocol must be implemented before any kind of treatment to ensure its success.
During a depressant addiction detox, medical professionals may use medications to help quell the worst of the depressant withdrawal symptoms. Some of the medications medical professionals may prescribe to clients during detox may include:
There are various treatment options for individuals seeking freedom from CNS depressant addiction in Southern California. Modules are offered through two, main types of care: inpatient and outpatient. Those in an inpatient program will live at the addiction treatment facility, whereas those in an outpatient program will not. Each type of program offers its own benefits, so one may suit one client more than another.
Since inpatient treatment patients will live at addiction treatment facilities while receiving care, they will be able to dedicate the most time to recovery. Thus, inpatient treatment is highly recommended to anyone who wants to achieve lasting sobriety. Inpatient treatment is especially recommended for those who wish to overcome an addiction to depressants.
The key benefit to inpatient programs is that they remove virtually all external triggers from the equation. Luckily, by the time that patients are ready to move on from an addiction treatment facility, they will have all the tools they need to respond positively to any addiction triggers.
There are two types of inpatient programs. The first is standard inpatient care. In a program such as this, patients should expect a rigorous schedule typically with a hard start and end date. The bulk of standard inpatient care is talk therapy and will involve less free time than other programs.
Residential inpatient treatment is a step down from standard inpatient treatment. Regardless, residential treatment patients will still live at rehab facilities while receiving care. The residential treatment patients will just have more free time than the standard inpatient treatment patients and a more flexible end date.
While inpatient programs are likely the most effective way to overcome an addiction, that doesn’t mean that each person has that luxury. Regardless, those suffering from substance use disorders should still get the treatment that they need. This is where outpatient programs may be beneficial.
Outpatient programs allow patients at addiction treatment facilities to get the help that they need without actually needing to live there. There are various levels of outpatient care that differ mainly in terms of time commitment.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) require the most time, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a step down from PHPs in terms of time, while standard outpatient programs (OPs) only require a few hours of treatment a week. While we here at Key to Recovery firmly believe that inpatient programs are the most viable option for lasting recovery, outpatient programs can be great as a part of an aftercare treatment program.
Addiction therapy for depressants is integral to overall recovery. Part of this is because addiction therapy helps individuals uncover underlying reasons for drug abuse.
Addiction therapy also shows individuals how to cope with difficult experiences in a positive manner as well as what actions they must take to ensure that they don’t succumb to temptation when faced with addiction triggers. We here at the Key to Recovery offer multiple forms of addiction therapy to help individuals overcome CNS depressant addiction.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that focuses on how subconscious thoughts can affect a person’s self-perception. CBT also focuses on how self-destructive behaviors may stem from a person’s self-destructive thoughts.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy came about after Dr. Beck found that people had “automatic” thoughts that affected their mental health. By identifying these thoughts, Dr. Beck and his patients were able to intercept them moving forward. Thus, causing their behaviors to change. CBT for addiction to depressants acts in the same way.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of modified CBT that’s fit for those who suffer from severe mental illnesses. Instead of trying to stop self-destructive thoughts altogether, DBT focuses on mindfulness.
Through dialectical behavior therapy, individuals learn to accept their negative and self-destructive thoughts. That way it’s easier for individuals to not allow their negative thoughts to control them or cause them to exhibit negative behaviors.
Ultimately, DBT places an emphasis on changing what a person does in response to negative thoughts. Thus DBT is beneficial for those who struggle with an addiction to depressants.
Strict psychotherapy isn’t the only route to long-term sobriety. Holistic and experiential therapy have a place in the addiction treatment realm as well. This is mainly because holistic and experiential forms of therapy can treat the body, mind, and soul, thus also treating the root issue of many people’s addictions. Holistic activities such as expressive writing and nutrition therapy can provide a way for individuals to deal with stress or painful emotions in a positive way.
It doesn’t matter whether you became addicted to depressants by way of a prescription or an illegal drug. What matters is what you decide to do next. The Key to Recovery is a sub-acute detox and residential treatment center in Southern California that helps individuals overcome their substance addictions once and for all. Contact us now to see how an addiction to CNS depressants is treatable with the right help.