Teens’ access to depressants has increased with the widespread prescribing of drugs for medical and mental health conditions. Adolescents may have access to medications in their own medicine cabinets, making it increasingly easier to access and abuse these types of drugs. The 2015 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey indicated that nearly 4 percent of high school seniors reported taking sedatives in the past year. Teens who abuse depressants may experience irritability, depression, exhaustion and confusion. These and other serious effects of depressants warrant caution around these substances.
What Is A Depressant?
What is a depressant, exactly? Depressants – also known as sedatives or tranquilizers – refer to substances that work by decreasing the activity in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS), according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). CNS depressants primarily work by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that helps cells communicate. As GABA increases in the brain, people may feel tired or less anxious. For this reason, CNS depressants are commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety and sleep disorders.