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Learn About Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants and Addiction 

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants slow things down in the brain. When people are struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, stress, pain, or seizures, these drugs can be helpful. Depending on how they are used, people can also overuse them or abuse drugs. Depressants that slow the brain activity can be harmful if taken in higher doses. Learn more about CNS depressants and how to help a loved one who might struggle with addiction.

CNS Depressants

When someone takes depressants, they are looking to slow things down in the body. The brain is affected by anything that goes into the body. This includes drinking alcohol, taking barbiturates, using opioids, or any number of things. Different classes of CNS depressants work in different ways. They reduce activity in the central nervous system and lower awareness in the brain. All depressants have the potential for addiction when not used as prescribed but may also become addictive when used as prescribed.


Alcohol is a widely known and used drug for millions of people. Some will drink only occasionally while some binge drink, drink every day, or drink to get rid of painful memories, trauma, and pain. Many people do not realize alcohol is a depressant and relaxes the body. The more someone drinks, the more they may risk a negative emotional response. Alcohol may increase anxiety and stress, along with anger and aggression, rather than make it better. Chronic use of alcohol can cause addictive behaviors over time.


Sometimes referred to as ‘benzos,’ these drugs are CNS depressants that help treat sleep disorders, anxiety, and other issues. Valium and Xanax are two examples. They are effective for somethings but over the long term, they may lead to tolerance, followed by addiction. When someone uses them mixed with alcohol (which is more common than people think), it can lead to overdose or even death as it depresses the body’s ability to breathe.


Opioids are reaching epidemic levels when it comes to overuse and addiction. This pain medication helps some with legal prescriptions but also causes harm when they become addicted. While opioids vary in strength, their addictive potential can have similar effects. They are highly addictive and dangerous for people to use.

Seeking Help

If someone is experiencing mood swings, depression, lack of energy, withdrawal symptoms, or having difficulties at work and at home, they may be struggling with addiction. It is helpful to watch a loved one’s behavior to see what they are doing and how they are spending time if there are concerns. There is help available in the form of treatment. It all depends on a person’s ability to negotiate to overcome denial with their desire to continue using drugs. If they let go of denial and accept help, when they are ready, they can receive help and often begin the journey of recovery with lots of support.

Guest House Ocala provides a safe space to heal from addiction and find hope for tomorrow. We understand the power of drugs, substances, and past trauma to impact a person’s life. Our goal is to help you understand how addiction starts and ways to navigate healing in recovery. Let our professionals help you overcome addiction. Call today: 1-855-483-7800