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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Depressants are drugs that slow down the central nervous system, brain activity, and normal bodily functions. The most widely used depressant is alcohol, but barbiturates and tranquilizers are also extremely common. In small dosages they're generally soothing and relaxing, and are sometimes used to treat medical conditions such as anxiety, but in high doses they can induce sleep, coma, and even death. Depressants relax muscles, reduce the heart rate, slow breathing, and lower blood pressure. Mentally, they produce a feeling of well-being that's often accompanied by reduced motivation, impaired judgment, a loss of concentration, and memory problems. Since the effects of depressants are 'additive', combining depressants with one another can result in a fatal overdose. In addition, they can be both psychologically and physically addicting, and are often abused because of their euphoric effects. Fortunately, there are a number of successful treatment programs available to help those who become addicted. For more information about depressants, consult a health care provider in your area.

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