Types of Drug Depressants

The types of drug depressants are as varied as the ones in this container.

Types of Depressants

There are a few main types of drug depressants. However, what they all have in common is that they slow down brain activity and induce euphoria. While some of these depressants have medical uses, each type also has addictive properties.


In the 1800’s, barbiturates were used to treat sleep disorders. Today, they’re used as sedatives, hypnotics, and alternative solutions for seizures and migraines. The types of drug depressants most commonly prescribed is the barbiturate  phenobarbital, which treats seizures.

Due to breakthroughs in medicine as well as the potential for addiction and overdose, doctors and physicians don’t prescribe barbiturates as often as they used to. Some of the most common, and sometimes dangerous, side effects of barbiturates include:

Memory difficulties | Poor coordination | Vomiting | Headaches

If you believe a loved one has a barbiturate addiction problem, you should also be on the lookout for slurred speech, shallow breathing and lack of coordination. These could be symptoms of an overdose.


Doctors commonly prescribe benzodiazepines to treat insomnia, generalized anxiety, panic attacks and alcohol withdrawal. While benzodiazepines are useful in the short term, they’re incredibly addictive.

Many doctors prefer to only prescribe benzodiazepines in extreme situations and on an as-needed basis. Some of the most common benzodiazepines include:

Xanax | Valium | Restoril | Flurazepam

Opioid Painkillers

Doctors prescribe millions of opioid painkillers each year. While these drugs can be useful when taken properly, they are extremely addictive. Those who abuse opioid painkillers may even go on to abuse heroin when their prescription supply runs out. Commonly prescribed opioid painkillers include OxyContin, Vicodin and morphine.

Street Drugs and Alcohol

Without a doubt, the most popular depressant in the world is alcohol. While some are able to drink alcohol in moderation, others quickly develop an addiction to this common depressant. It’s readily available, inexpensive and widely accepted as a fun pastime. It’s important to never underestimate alcohol, though. In fact, there were over 3 million alcohol-related deaths in 2012 alone.

While the effects of marijuana and heroin can be very different, both of these drugs are also considered depressants. Some argue that marijuana lacks the addictive properties of harsher substances, however it undoubtedly impairs cognitive and motor skill functions.

Heroin, meanwhile, is considered one of the hardest addictions to kick. It has all of the same drawbacks as opioid painkillers on a more intensified scale.

Addiction Help for All Types of Drug Depressants

If you’re abusing any of the above types of depressants, you’re at risk for addiction and fatal overdose. Seeking help at a qualified detox and addiction treatment facility can help you turn your life around. The best facilities offer dual diagnosis treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy and exhaustive counseling.

We have the resources available to match you with the best program for your personal needs. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.