Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that conduct communication between brain cells; GABA works by decreasing brain activity.
Although the different types of CNS depressants each work in their own way, ultimately it is through increased GABA activity that they produce a relaxing effect.
This effect can be beneficial to those suffering from anxiety or sleep disorders.
In higher doses, some CNS depressants can be used as general anesthetics.
Other health risks of sedative use include: Very significant levels of physiological dependence marked by both tolerance and withdrawal can develop in response to the sedatives.
Inpatient or outpatient counseling can help the individual during this process.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy also has been used successfully to help individuals adapt to the discontinuation of benzodiazepine use.
These include: Overdoses cause unconsciousness, coma, and death.
Accidental overdoses may occur when children swallow pills or when adults with increased tolerance are unsure of how many to take.
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Because all CNS depressants work by slowing the brain's activity, when an individual stops taking them, the brain's workings can rebound and race out of control, possibly resulting in seizures and other harmful consequences.