Sedatives and tranquilizers

Tranquilizers are depressant drugs (they slow down and depress brain function).

Sedatives are often used as sleep aids, relaxers, and anti-anxiety calmers.

Pharmaceutical sedatives

Sedatives are usually prescribed for sleep problems and anxiety. These drugs should generally be used only over a short-term, usually five to seven days, because they carry significant risks for dependence and tolerance.

Over the longer-term, use of this class of drugs may bring about irritability, lethargy, decreased motivation, vivid and disturbing dreams, nausea, headache, skin rash, tremors, a change in appetite (loss or increase), and sexual impairment.

The commonly known pharmaceutical sedative drugs are Valium, Librium, BuSpar, Equanil, Miltown Serax, Clonapin, and Halcion. These drugs, known as benzodiazepines, are taken by mouth in pill form and give most people a sense of relaxation and well-being. They also lead to drowsiness, confusion, slurring of speech, and memory problems.

Methaqualone (Quaaludes, Sopor, Parest) was at one time a popular party drug that has fallen into disfavor. It will probably be back some day because drugs, like fashions, often go through cycles of favor and disfavor.

Sedatives have a high addiction potential because they’re short-acting and you quickly build up a tolerance to them (you eventually require more drug to get the same mind altering effect).