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Sedative Addiction

Sedative-hypnotic drugs, commonly referred to as depressants, slow down the activity of your brain. Regular use of sedatives can lead to your body building a tolerance, which means that your body needs more of the drug to get the same result. This can lead to dependence, which results in withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not taken. Tolerance and dependence can eventually lead to a sedative addiction.

Did You Know?

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, sedatives are among the three most commonly abused classes of drugs in the United States, along with opioids and stimulants.

Sedative Classification

projectknow-shutter303301763-syringe-and-vialWhile alcohol is a sedative, its use is so common that medical professionals treat it separately from prescription sedative addiction. In most cases, sedative drugs have valid uses, and each type is used to treat different physical and mental health issues. Benzodiazepines are often used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Barbiturates are prescribed to treat seizures and used for anesthesia during surgery. Benzodiazepines are considered much safer than barbiturates, but they can cause over-sedation, impaired memory, confusion and impaired motor skills. Barbiturate abuse can be dangerous because there is a small difference between the proper dose and an overdose.

If you are concerned that you may have formed a dependence on or an addiction to a sedative drug, we can help. Call any time, day or night, to discuss your addiction treatment options.

Did You Know?

According to Harvard University, people often combine sedatives and alcohol or other drugs to try to get high or to treat the unpleasant effects of other street drugs.

Psychological Symptoms of Sedative Addiction

A dependence on a sedative drug may not mean that you have an addiction. It can be difficult to determine the difference, but there are several symptoms that indicate that an addiction has formed. Sedative addiction symptoms and signs ay include:

  • An overwhelming need or craving for the drug
  • Requiring more frequent or higher doses to achieve the desired effects
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop using the drug
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use the drug, which indicates a physical dependence
  • Continuing to take the drug despite negative drug-related psychological, physical or interpersonal problems

Physical Signs of Sedative Addiction

A person who is abusing sedatives will also show visible signs of sedative addiction. These can include:

  • Slowed speech
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired motor function
  • Dizziness
  • Poor control over your actions
  • Unusual risk-taking behaviors

These symptoms are different for each person and depend on the sedative being abused. For example, a person abusing Amytal may stagger, become suddenly irritable, or reveal personal information he or she would otherwise keep secret, while someone abusing a sleep aid, like Ambien, might be drowsy, but might also drive and go about his or her day without any memory of what occurred.

There is no measure or number of pills per day that can indicate that you have a sedative addiction. Drug addiction means that you have become reliant on the drug both physically and emotionally. This is tough to overcome by yourself, but we can help. Call to discuss your treatment options for sedative addiction.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a sedative addiction forms, there is usually a physical reliance on the drug, which makes it difficult to stop using it. When you deny your body that dose, several physical side effects, called sedative withdrawal symptoms, can occur. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Night terrors
  • Tremors
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • High fever
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal blood pressure

Because these symptoms can be intense, it is recommended that those addicted to sedatives seek treatment in a safe medically supervised environment.

Sedative Addiction Treatment

“Treatment for a sedative addiction begins with detox, which is when you stop taking the drug completely.”Treatment for a sedative addiction begins with detox, which is when you stop taking the drug completely. Because withdrawal symptoms can be intense, detox should be carried out in a drug rehab facility or hospital so the withdrawal symptoms can be monitored, and in some cases, treated by medical professionals.

Sedative withdrawal symptoms typically begin 12 to 24 hours after the last dose of the drug and are most severe between 24 and 72 hours after this dose and then begin to fade. Longer-acting drugs may require up to eight days for the most intense withdrawal symptoms to fade.

The goal of sedative addiction treatment is to get you through detox safely so you can establish a treatment plan for your rehabilitation and eventually for sedative addiction recovery.

Sedative addiction rehab follows detox and treats the psychological addiction to the drug. Drug abuse is often associated with other issues, such as depression, and these must also be addressed to ensure long-term recovery from sedative addiction. Treatment facilities will tailor the treatment plan to the individual, and usually include individual counseling and group therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapies to help the patient replace negative behaviors with healthier ones.


Once you have completed rehab, which can last anywhere from 30 days to several months, sedative addiction recovery can begin. In rehab, counseling and therapy have focused on developing ways to cope with issues in your life without resorting to drugs. Often a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous is utilized and then continued after rehabilitation treatment. This provides a support network to help you remain free of the drug.

Recovery from any type of drug addiction doesn’t happen overnight. Most people need longer than the 28 days that short-term drug rehabs offer to recover from their addiction and fully return to their everyday life.

For more information about sedative addiction treatment, and your options for detox, rehabilitation and recovery, call us at . We’re available to talk 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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