Sedatives and Tranquilizers-The Use and Abuse of Drugs

Drugs meaning & definition

The alarming increase in the physical and emotional stress with resultant increase in tension, anxiety, and a proportionate increase in psychosomatic disorders are the bane of the rapid pace of industrialization and modernization. The rate race for more progress and development has brought in a number of ills.

Sedatives and Tranquilizers are being used to calm the jaded nerves, to relieve stress, tension & anxiety to make life more bearable along with exhilarating effects on the mood and thoughts.

To bring peace to the turmoil mind and to achieve serenity of milieu, the people resorted to the use of a number of drugs.  Initially, the drugs seem to be beneficial but turned to the dangerous as these widely and indiscriminately used by both the sick and healthy thus the concept of its use, misuse, and abuse began.

Whether it is the USA, UK, or India, the maximum number of drug users is the youth. Youth are getting prey to a number of drugs to experience serenity. These drugs are sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping tablets, mind elevators, and psychedelic drugs.

Causes of drug abuse

  • LPG effect (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization)
  • Rapid changes of changing of socio-cultural aspects
  • Stress & tension
  • Social and economic stress
  • Depression
  • Social pressure
  • Peer pressure
  • Economic bearings
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Hippie culture
  • Escape from the realities of life

Abuse of drugs

Many times, the drug which was taken to relieve the state of anxiety, tension, and stress is repeated again and again because the moment the effects wanes, the same state of tension comes back and rather with more vigor. Large scale of abuse of drugs is seen in the case of Opium, Charas, Bhang, Ganja, Pepe pills, LSD, barbiturates, and tranquilizer.

 Misuse of drugs in the USA

The problem of the misuse of sedatives and tranquilizers is universal. At the 5th  World Congress of Psychiatry held in Mexico, it was found that the tranquilizer production has doubled in the United States in a four-year period and it was estimated that one-third of the population between the age of 18 to 74 was psychoactive drugs of some kinds. Another survey has shown that since 1954 over 800 thousand tons of barbiturates have been produced in the United States every year equivalent to 6 billion capsules of 60 mg per year coming to 30 capsules for each person in the USA alone. This misuse of these drugs can be judged from the fact that in New York alone in the period from 1957 to 1963 there were 8, 469 cases of barbiturates poisoning, out of whom 1, 165 were fatal ones. Most of these cases were suicidal and only 10 percent were accidental. The same abuse of drugs happens in England too.

Drug addiction in India

A survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical research has shown that 33 percent of Delhi University students including boys and girls are addicted to drugs like tranquilizers, barbiturates, amphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and cannabis. Generally, these students started addiction on an experimental basis. Surveys in other metropolis like Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chandigarh are also not optimistic where the incidence among students alone up to 18-19 percent.  There is no such solid ground for taking drugs in this phase of life, however, most of these students addicts just either for kicks or to be with in-crowd.

Sedatives advantages & disadvantages

A sedative helps to calm or tranquilize nervousness or excitement. The sedative-hypnotics are general depressants not only of the brain but of the cellular functions in many vital parts of the body. The commonest use of sedative is luminal (phenobarbitone). Commonly used sedative compounds include phenobarbitone, (luminal), secobarbital, (seconal), pentobarbital (nembutal), and amobarbital (amytal). All these drugs have a beneficial effect only if used under medical supervision.

People generally rely on this drug for their normal sleep but the type of sleep induced by these drugs is different from the physiological sleep. When the person gets up in the morning, may experience over-excitement, irritability, and a bad temper. Spoiling of mood and an impairment of judgment are also common. People on barbiturates are in a form of twilight zone between waking and sleeping. Many a great personality of stage and screen and important public figures have died because of overdoses of sleeping pills.

Under the influence of these drugs, the behavior of the individual is unpredictable. Many people committed murders without remembering them. Under the influence of the drug, the person may ensue violent physical and mental upheaval. Symptoms like cramps, aches, excessive sweating, and marked weakness are also associated with it. Sluggishness, dulled, poor memory, poor judgment, quarrelsome, untidy, and even has suicidal tendencies.

What is a tranquilizer?

The treating of psychosomatic diseases got a major boost by the introduction of a drug in the form of Tranquillizer, which is beneficial in allaying tension and anxiety thereby helps in tranquility. Tranquilizers are potent agents to relieve anxiety and tension but their indiscriminate use leads to addiction. These drugs have proved of immense benefits in functional cardiovascular disorders and conditions where anxiety and tension accompanying other diseases.

Tranquilizer drugs

  • Chlorpromazine (Largactil)
  • Promazine (Sparin)
  • Trifulpromazine (Siquil)
  • Prochlorperazine (Stemetil)
  • Trifluoperazine (Stelazine)
  • Rauwolfia Alkaloids
  • Meprobromate (Equinal Miltown)
  • Glutethimide (Doriden)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Diazepam (Serepax)
  • Alprozolam ( Alprax)

Prolong use of tranquilizer are associated with sluggish, dulled mental faculties, erratic judgment, slurred speech, Many chronic users may become irritable and quarrelsome and depression of bone marrow. The symptoms like depression, anxiety, restlessness, marked weakness may be seen with the patient after withdrawal of the drugs. Patients on barbiturates and tranquilizers may get increased appetite so they have to watch their weight.

Amphetamines drug effects

These are the mood lifters or student uses it for keeping awake at night to prepare for the examination. Athletes have used it for that extra strength while truck drivers are employed it for that extra energy required to keep them awake for going long distance at a stretch. Amphetamines are dangerous for use as weight-reducing drugs. The student who takes the drugs to keep awake the whole night experienced fogged up and juggled up in the morning. Athletes are realizing of burnt up soon while in case of truck drivers having the potential risk and more prone to accidents because of poor judgment. It may relieve fatigue, suppress appetite, and improves the mood but gradually the person gets impairments of his ability to concentrate is restless and hyper excited.

What are opium uses?

Opium is derived from the milky juice of the unripe seed capsule of the poppy plant. Medically, it is used as morphine while the addicts use it most of the time as injections and the extremely valuable medicine becomes the devilish thing. Heroine is another compound derived from opium, whose use is quite rampant in the USA.  After taking the drug, the person experiencing drowsiness, mental clouding, changes in mood, unable to concentrate, lethargy, and mental apathy. Opium addiction leads to excessive tears in the eyes, running nose, excessive yawning, sweating, restlessness, irritability, tremors, and loss of appetite.

Cannabis and its products

Cannabis is an important plant and most of the narcotic substances are derived from the various parts of the plant. Cannabis is derived from the flowering tops of the hemp plant. In different parts of the world, it is known by different names such as hashish, Charas, Bhang, Ganja, and Marihuana.

Initially, there is a greater sense of well-being a state of sleepiness also occurring, and often the person shows changes in mood and memory coupled with spontaneous laughter. But abuse of the drug leads the person into the unreality world and associated with various signs such as dryness of throat, mouth and excessive hunger, visual and auditory disturbances. Gradually in chronic users a form of apathy, dullness, listlessness, impairment of judgment, concentration and memory develop.

LSD effects and side effects

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is a mind expander since it produces a change in the thought processes and mood leading to bliss and ecstasy. LSD is generally taken either in a sugar cube or as a piece of blotting paper soaked with the drug. Taking the drug provides the feeling of bliss and ecstasy and euphoria. LSD use also leads to hallucinations, nightmares, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Thought processes are disturbed and feeling of disintegration of self, depression, and fear.

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