Depressants, also known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants, are a class of psychoactive substances that slow down brain function and decrease activity in the central nervous system. Depressants work by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows down brain activity. Some commonly known depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and opiates. These drugs are used medically to treat various conditions, such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures, but they can also be abused for their sedative and relaxing effects.
Regular use of depressants can lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms. Overdose from depressants can be life-threatening, and abuse of these substances can lead to serious health problems, including respiratory depression and cardiac arrest.