Behavioral Effects – Depressants


A depressant, or central depressant, is a drug that lowers neurotransmission levels, which is to depress or reduce arousal or stimulation, in various areas of the brain. Depressants are also occasionally referred to as “downers”. Depressants slow down the activity of the brain and nervous system, slowing down the communication between the two. For medical purposes they can calm nerves, relax muscles and useful for sleeping disorders such as insomnia.

Types of depressants

  •  Barbiturates
    • Sedative and hypnotic properties, reduce anxiety and induce sleep
      • Luminal, Amytal sodium, Seconal
  • Benzodiazepines
    • Sedative and hypnotic properties, decrease muscle tone
      • Xanax, Valium, Klonopin

        YouTube / Michael Linares – via Iframely

        The above video clearly describes the similarities and differences Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines since they often get mixed up.

  • Ethanol: Also known as alcohol
    • Reduced inhibition, impairs judgement, and impairs coordination
    • Can lead to memory loss, loss of consciousness, and death
    • Dependent on how much alcohol is in the blood stream (BAC)

YouTube / Tune In Not Out – via Iframely

This video describes in simple terms alcohols effect on the brain. Specifically between 1:17 and 2:46, it reviews why different amounts and types of alcohol effect the brain differently, why it’s generally metabolized differently based on gender, and how long it takes for the body to fully metabolize different amounts of alcohol.

  • Opioids
    • Pain medication
    • Binds to opioid receptors which block the feelings of pain
    • Found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract
      • Codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and heroin
      • Heroin is an illegal drug that gives a strong euphoric feeling

YouTube / addictionstories – via Iframely

Opioids are prescription drugs that can become extremely dangerous when used outside the medical field. The above video breaks down multiple different types of opioids, how they are ingested, and how they each effect the human body.


This page was created by Clara Chassé