depressant


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

A depressant, or central depressant, is a drug or endogenous compound 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” as they lower the level of arousal when taken. Stimulants or “uppers” increase mental and/or physical function, they are the functional opposites of depressants. Depressants are widely used throughout the world as prescription medicines and as illicit substances. When these are used, effects often include ataxia, anxiolysis, pain relief, sedation or somnolence, and cognitive/memory impairment, as well as in some instances euphoria, dissociation, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure or heart rate, respiratory depression, and anticonvulsant effects, and even complete anesthesia or death at high doses. Depressants exert their effects through a number of different pharmacological mechanisms, the most prominent of which include facilitation of GABA, and inhibition of glutamatergic or monoaminergic activity. Other examples are chemicals that modify the electrical signaling inside the body. The most prominent of these being bromides and channel blockers.