Doctors don’t hand out prescription drugs like candy. If your practitioner thinks you need them, there are probably good reasons. But these medications aren’t risk-free.
Even if you use these drugs as prescribed, you can develop tolerance. You’ll need to take more to get the same effect. You may also get sick if you try to quit.
If you take more than suggested, or you never have a prescription in the first place, you could develop an addiction. You may need help to kick the habit for good. You may need assistance to get started, and you may need more help to stay in control for good.
Sedative drugs work on your central nervous system. When they’re active, they alter chemical levels within your brain. You feel relaxed and calm, and some people even feel a little giddy and silly.
There are three main types of sedatives, and each works slightly differently.
Just like sedatives, tranquilizers are used to address anxiety and tension. Your doctor might suggest them to help you get through a short-term crisis. If you’re feeling as though suicide is an option, for example, medications could help you to feel calm and capable of making good decisions.
But these drugs can also offer relief over the long term if you’re dealing with a chronic mental health issue, such as bipolar disorder.
There are two main types of tranquilizers.
If you’re living with an anxiety disorder, sedatives and tranquilizers could be an important part of your treatment program. With the help of these medications, you might gain control of your symptoms and begin living your best life.
But these drugs are strong. Researchers say some can change your brain cells permanently.
Many sedatives and tranquilizers work by changing the brain’s signal system. Some chemicals build up, and others are quickly removed. Sometimes, those alterations trigger addiction pathways.
Consider benzodiazepines. Researchers with the National Institute on Drug Abuse say that benzos inhibit a chemical called GABA to deliver relaxation. But that shift can trigger the release of a substance called dopamine.
Dopamine release is part of heroin’s addictive nature. Every hit sparks a dopamine dump. Benzodiazepines work indirectly on the same pathway. It’s reasonable to assume that both substances can cause an addiction to form.
Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug use despite severe consequences.
If you’re addicted to your prescription pills, you might:
Few people want to continue life as a person with an addiction. It can be a sad and lonely experience.
But it can be hard, or even impossible, for you to kick this habit without help. The same changes that caused your addiction may result in life-threatening complications when you try to quit.
These medications work by slowing down electrical and chemical activity in the brain. When you’re not taking them, your brain ramps up to normal speed. Sometimes, it moves right into hyper-speed.
In the first few moments of sobriety, you may feel:
Within about three days, researchers say, you can develop seizures. About 75 percent of people who attempt cold-turkey withdrawal from barbiturates develop seizures. Some have more than one.
Without prompt treatment from medical professionals, you can lose your life due to these episodes. Your body temperature rises, and your organs may fail.
Teams may develop a tapering dose of your drugs to help you get sober. Rather than shocking your brain into sudden sobriety, you give it time to adjust to a smaller and smaller amount of drugs. In time, the dose is so tiny that you can stop it altogether.
Treatment teams can also provide you with therapy. That can help you to:
Your recovery plan may not look like anyone else’s does. You may need things others don’t, or you may not need solutions they do. Your treatment team can help you to find the program that works best for you.