Sedative Addiction and Its Effects

Drug addiction is a rampant disease that is quickly overtaking many people in the world. And while there are many people who have found recovery from their addictions and are able to live healthy, happy lives, there are still many out there who feel stuck in the nightmare of their addiction. Sedatives, such as Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines, while not the most obvious choice for addiction, are nonetheless addictive and can be very dangerous when abused.

What are Sedatives?

The first sign of any chemical sedatives came about in 1864 when Adolf von Bayer developed a substance known as Malonylurea, which was later taken and perfected by French chemist Eduard Grimaux just over ten years later in 1879. This substance later became the base for modern Barbiturates, common sedative and seizure medication used in throughout the 20th century.

Over 2,500 Barbiturates were synthesized, but only 50 were released to the public for medical purposes. It didn’t take long before the first reports of dependence on this medication occurred. Germany started reporting cases of physical dependency in 1912, though it wasn’t until the 1950s when researchers really began to look into the addictive properties of Barbiturates. Even after discovering the potentially harmful effects and addictiveness of Barbiturates, it wasn’t until the 1970s when doctors began to decrease the number of Barbiturates prescriptions.

Today, very few medications with Barbiturates are in use, and are prescribed sparingly for more serious forms of insomnia and epilepsy, as well as being used in general anesthesia. In place of Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines have taken over as a common form of sedative medication, including Valium and Xanax.

Research Shows

Following much of the same grain as Barbiturates, over 2,000 Benzodiazepines were synthesized, with only 15 making it to the public arena for medicinal use in the United States. Benzodiazepines, though the chemical compound that were used to largely replace Barbiturates, have proven to be just as addictive as their predecessor.

Both types of sedatives are known for their ability to reduce one’s inhibitions, decrease anxiety, and counteract the crash one could get after abusing stimulants such as Cocaine or Methamphetamines.

Because of their relaxing properties, Sedatives are most often combined with other drugs, such as Alcohol or stimulants, which carries with it a higher chance of fatal overdoses.

Many sedatives already carry a high-risk factor for overdoses, as they have what the medical community calls a narrow therapeutic index, meaning the rate of the drugs toxic dose is close to the amount used to treat a medical condition. It is because of this, as well as their addictive properties, that doctors are becoming more careful in how and when they prescribe Sedatives to patients.

Yet even with doctors being more careful in prescribing sedatives to their patients, an average of 233,000 adults aged 26 and older abused sedative medication in the United States in 2014, up from the 204,000 people who abused Sedatives in 2010.

The Good News

While abusing sedatives is not a light-hearted matter, the good news is that the medical community is aware of the addictive properties of many of these sedatives and are also becoming more aware of how their prescribing habits may be contributing to people’s addictions. There are also many people who have found their way to recovery, and continue to help others find their path as well.

Whether the drug in question is Alcohol, Cocaine, or Sedatives, addiction is addiction; it does not discriminate, and it doesn’t take the day off. If you or someone you know is in need of help from a drug addiction, don’t be afraid to reach out. There are people who are ready and willing to help you; all you have to do is ask.

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