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Depressants are drugs that slow down the activity of the central nervous system, which reduces a person’s alertness and slows down functions such as breathing and heart rate. In small quantities depressants can cause a person to feel more relaxed. In large quantities they can cause unconsciousness, vomiting and death. Mixing more than one depressant is dangerous as this can make it harder to think clearly, properly control how you move and may stop your breathing and cause death.


Barbiturates are central nervous depressants. They reduce the activity of nerves, thus causing muscle relaxation. They can also reduce heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. One of the older classes of medications, barbiturates are used for treating headachesinsomnia and seizures. Common side effects include: dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. They can also be habit forming.


Tranquilizers are a drug that calms and relieves anxiety. They range in potency from mild to major, with increasing levels of drowsiness occurring as potency increases. They are prescribed for a wide variety of conditions but are used primarily to treat anxiety and insomnia. Most tranquilizers are potentially addictive, particularly those in the benzodiazepine family (Benzodiazepines are drugs primarily used for treating anxiety).


Alcohol consumption can damage the brain and most body organs, including the heart, liver and pancreas. It also increases the risk of some cancers, weakens the immune system, puts fetal development at risk, and causes deadly vehicle crashes. 

Learn more about addiction to alcohol on our Alcohol Page:

Alcohol Induced Dementia

You enjoyed drinking in your younger years, partying on weekends, and experiencing many nights where details are missing from your memory. It wasn’t...

How Many Drinks Is Too Much

It happened again, just like your spouse told you it would. You went to dinner last night and promised them you would only have one drink so you...

Feeling Guilty After Drinking

You started drinking when you were young. Your dad gave you your first beer at 15, and you have been hooked ever since. There have been nights of...

Alcoholism And Verbal Abuse

He’s at it again, even after he told you he would work on himself. You get home from the grocery store and see him standing in the doorway, a...

Anger And Alcoholism

You are not an angry person, never really have been, and you have always been patient in tough situations. Even when having some drinks with the...

Alcohol Intolerance

You have never seemed to be able to “handle” drinking alcohol. As little as one drink makes you nauseous, your skin hot and red, and the room seems...

Signs Liver Damage

As the wife of a person managing the effects of heavy drinking, you wrestle with a relentless mix of emotions, including a daily dose of guilt,...

Alcohol Tapering

“This is the last straw! I am taking Jaxson and Nova to my parents’ house. Expect a notice from my lawyer because I am done! I have given you every...

High-Functioning Alcoholic

In the mornings, there were always 2-3 fewer beers in the fridge than the day before. In your community, a couple of beers a night is considered...

Alcoholic Nose

It finally happened, the phone call you always knew was coming. Your dad, who has been managing alcohol use disorder for many years, is in the...


Nicotine is an addictive stimulant found in cigarettes as well as other forms of tobacco, e-cigarettes or e-vaporizers. It causes an increase in blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. Although nicotine itself does not cause cancer, many of the chemicals in tobacco are carcinogenic (have the potential to cause cancer). Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths, especially lung cancer. Tobacco smoking can also lead to other lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It increases the risk of heart disease, which can lead to stroke or heart attack. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of cancer, especially mouth cancers. Scientists are still studying the potential harm caused by the use of e-cigarettes.

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