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There could be many reasons why anyone including a woman may reach out for drugs. Sometimes one gets addicted unknowingly, wherein a curiosity or a habit results in an addiction. However, women can find themselves amid unique situations or circumstances that may force them to abuse drugs such as depressants. Stress, sleeplessness, neurological disease, bodily pain, or trauma are some of the issues for which women might feel the need to seek out depressant substances to cope.

In addition, women who face domestic violence, sexual or physical abuse, the death of a loved one or the loss of a child, or are undergoing any mental health disorders are at an increased risk of abusing drugs. Additionally, they make seek drugs for unique reasons including hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, menstrual cycle, menopause, weight issues, or for self-treating mental health problems.

What is a depressant?

So what is a depressant? Alcohol, opioids, tranquilizers, and sedatives are all under the umbrella of depressant, or “downer” drugs. They limit the activity of the central nervous system, causing one to feel calm, reduces pain or induces sleep. The effects of depressants also include dependence and eventual addiction. When misused, depressants can cause serious physical and mental damage.

A comprehensive treatment for depressants abuse combines medically supervised detoxification treatment along with psychotherapies or counseling sessions. While a supervised detox program helps the body get rid of poisonous substances, psychotherapies help address the root cause of addiction also impart life-skills to patients to help them cope without drugs post their treatment.

A leading behavioral and substance addiction treatment facility for women, Sovereign Health of Arizona provides treatment for depressants that is holistic, evidence-based and offers a realistic alternative lifestyle to that of addiction.

Abusing depressants

Some prescription depressants were designed to mitigate psychotic episodes and are major depressants such as:

  • Tranquilizers intended to put down large animals like elephants and horses have infiltrated black market downers.
  • Anti-anxiety prescriptions containing benzodiazepines are called “benzos” on the street and illegally bought, sold and stolen among nonprescribed users.
  • Barbiturate pharmaceutical drugs used as sleeping pills are also abused.
  • Other depressants include alcohol and nonbenzodiazepine sleep medicines, including zolpidem, sold under the name Ambien and eszopiclone, known on the retail market as Lunesta.

Side effects of depressants

A chemical that causes a decrease in arousal, activity, and stimulation in the central nervous system, depressants can cause the brain and body to slow down. While all depressants cause side effects, some of the effects of depressants may include:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Slow brain function
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Poor concentration
  • Reduced coordination
  • Slowed pulse and breathing
  • Sluggishness
  • Slurred speech
  • Visual disturbances

Red flags of abuse

A chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations, the first step in treating drug abuse is being able to identify the signs of substance dependence. Following are some of the red flags of abusing depressants.

  • “Doctor shopping” – trying to get multiple prescriptions for Vicodin from various doctors
  • Hiding pills and explaining away pill-popping habits
  • Obsession with obtaining more pills
  • Sudden and radical changes in one’s performance at work or school
  • Loss of control; taking pills at random times of the day
  • Relationship issues including becoming isolated or indulging in frequent brawls at work

Inside the body

Depressants work by slowing down the functioning of the central nervous system. They work by enhancing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). A type of neurotransmitter, GABA works by decreasing brain activity. By increasing GABA activity, depressants produce a drowsy or calming effect by temporarily diminishing normal brain function and that of the central nervous system.

Depressants and Opioids

Women are more likely to use narcotic pain relievers for nonmedical use than men and also tend to mix prescription drugs with alcohol. Effects of this abuse can include physical dependence, headaches, drowsiness, fainting and elevated blood pressure.

According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are many differences between men and women who abuse opioids. These differences include:

  • Women have significantly higher cravings for opioids than men
  • Women have significantly more current and past medical conditions
  • Women progress faster from use to dependence
  • Women suffer more severe emotional and physical consequences of opioid use
  • Among adolescent users of heroin, females are 3.6 times more likely to inject than males
  • Suicide attempts have shown to be higher among heroin-dependent women than men
  • Women are more likely to report current and past psychiatric disorders, with significantly higher rates of depression and anxiety

It is estimated that two-thirds of all tranquilizers, such as Valium (diazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide) and Xanax (alprazolam), are prescribed to women. Other prescription drugs used frequently by women include sedatives, such as Halcion (triazolam) and Prosom (estazolam), and analgesics, including Demerol (meperidine) and Percodan (oxycodone). When misused, these drugs can cause serious health problems including addiction and even death — especially when combined with alcohol and other illegal drugs.

Sovereign Health of Arizona

For those in need of effective types of treatment for addiction to depressants, we are here to help. Sovereign Health of Arizona is a women’s residential rehabilitation center located in Chandler, Arizona. Our expert clinical staff specializes in identifying unique needs and targeting treatment plans for each client. The programs include drug and alcohol addiction, mental health disorders and co-occurring conditions. Additionally, this location provides a special emphasis on treating trauma that may have been caused by abuse, addiction or mental health issues.

Offering each of our clients’ individualized and top-notch care, Sovereign Health’s Chandler, Arizona, facility offers them evidence-based treatment options including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), individual, group and family therapy. In addition, our Chandler, Arizona facility also incorporates many other forms of therapies including yoga, mindfulness-based therapies, psychoeducational and process groups, equine therapy and expressive arts groups that focuses on their healing and assist in recovery.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

All Sovereign Health locations throughout the U.S. are committed to individualizing our mantra for each person by treating each patient’s unique needs and circumstances through personalized treatment plans tailored to his or her specific needs.

We offer holistic programming to aid in the rehabilitation of brain functioning while educating our patients on life skills, equipping them with the tools they need to lead more productive lives and avoid relapse in the future. Our brain wellness program includes many therapeutic activities, including equine therapy, art therapy, yoga, meditation, exercise and nutritional counseling.

Sovereign Health of Arizona accepts most major health insurance plans as well as financing through My Treatment Lender, making treatment affordable. If you would like further information about treatment for alcohol, depressants and opioid abuse, please call our 24/7 helpline to speak with a member of our admissions team. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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