Anti-anxiety drugs and abuse (Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders)
Anti-anxiety drugs, or "anxiolytics," are powerful central nervous system (CNS) depressants that can slow normal brain function. They are often prescribed to reduce feelings of tension and anxiety, and/or to bring about sleep. Anti-anxiety medications are among the most abused drugs in the United States, obtained both legally, via prescription, and illegally, through the black market. These drugs are also known as sedatives.
The drugs associated with this class of substancerelated disorders are the benzodiazepines [such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), alprazolam (Xanax), triazolam (Halcion), and estazolam (ProSom)], the barbiturates [such as Seconal and pentobarbital (Nembutal)], and barbiturate-like substances including Quaalude, Equanil, and Doriden. Any of these drugs is capable of producing wakeful relief from tension, or sleep, depending upon dosage. Some non-psychiatric uses of anti-anxiety medications include treatment and prevention of seizures, muscle relaxants, anesthetics, and drugs to make other anesthetics work more effectively (known as "adjuvants").
Although the types of central nervous system depressants work differently,...
(The entire section is 2227 words.)
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