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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:

Stages of Alcoholism

Everything in moderation. It’s a very common phrase that you might use when talking to your kids about eating candy, but what about things like...

Beware of the Kindling Effect

The kindling effect occurs when a person goes through repeated alcohol withdrawals, and the symptoms become more severe with each relapse. The name...

Cigarette Smoking and Drug and Alcohol Addiction

For whatever reason, and it may have to do a lot with addictive personalities, many addicted to drugs or alcohol smoke cigarettes. Obviously, this...

Can Recovering Alcoholics Ever Drink Again? Abstinence vs. Moderation in Long Term Recovery

If you are reading this advice because you’ve reached a milestone in your sobriety, congratulations! Alcohol recovery is not easy for anybody, but...

Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

How the brain copesAlcohol withdrawal is defined as a process the body goes through when someone abruptly stops consuming alcohol after a prolonged...

Intensive Outpatient vs. Traditional Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

If you are experiencing alcohol dependency or alcohol abuse, you may be considering entering a treatment program. Looking for the right type of...

All About Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal can be defined as the process the body goes through when an individual promptly stops consuming alcohol after a prolonged period....

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

After years of study, alcohol is known to have a number of deleterious effects on the brain. This is important considering that 52.2% of Americans...

How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Differs

Addiction of any sort such as food, sex, nicotine, alcohol, drugs and even exercise, can be devastating. While we all need exercise, those truly...

Does Alcohol Abuse Cause Cancer?

Consuming an alcoholic drink on occasion is a common behavior for adults all over the world. In general, drinking in moderation is defined as having...


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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