Using CNS depressants with these other substances—particularly alcohol—can slow breathing, or slow both the heart and respiration, possibly resulting in death.
Health risks include anemia, depression, impairment of liver function, and chronic intoxication (headache, impaired vision, slurred speech).
Sedatives work by slowing down brain activity resulting in drowsiness or relaxation.
Very significant levels of physiological dependence marked by both tolerance and withdrawal can develop in response to the sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics.
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 removal from benzodiazepines.
Despite their many beneficial effects, barbiturates and benzodiazepines have the potential for abuse and should be used only as prescribed.
During the first few days after taking a prescribed CNS depressant, a person usually feels drowsy and uncoordinated, however this will diminish.