Sedatives and Tranquilizers-The Use and Abuse of Drugs

Drugs meaning

The alarming increase in physical and emotional stress, tension, anxiety, and a proportionate rise in psychosomatic disorders are the bane of the rapid pace of industrialisation and modernisation. The rate race for more progress and development has brought in several ills.

Sedatives and Tranquilizers are used to calm tired nerves, relieve stress, tension & anxiety to make life more bearable, and have exhilarating effects on mood and thoughts.

The people resorted to several drugs to bring peace to the troubled mind and achieve serenity in the milieu.  Initially, the drugs seemed beneficial but turned out to be dangerous as they were 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. Youths are getting prey to several drugs to experience serenity. These drugs are sedatives, tranquillisers, sleeping tablets, mind elevators, and psychedelic drugs.

Causes of drug abuse

  • LPG effect (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization)
  • Rapid changes in 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

The drug taken to relieve anxiety, tension, and stress is often repeated because the moment the effects wane, the same form of pressure returns more vigour. Large-scale abuse of drugs is seen in the case of Opium, Charas, Bhang, Ganja, Pepe pills, LSD, barbiturates, and tranquilisers.

Misuse of drugs in the USA

The problem of the misuse of sedatives and tranquillisers is universal. At the 5th  World Congress of Psychiatry held in Mexico, it was found that tranquilliser production had doubled in the United States in four years, and it was estimated that one-third of the population between the ages of 18 and 74 was psychoactive drugs of some kind. 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 tablets 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 barbiturate poisoning, out of whom 1 165 were fatal ones. Most of these cases were suicidal, and only 10 per cent 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% of Delhi University students, including boys and girls, are addicted to drugs like tranquillisers, barbiturates, amphetamines, 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 is up to 18-19 per cent.  There is no solid ground for taking drugs in this phase of life; however, most students are addicts just for kicks or to be in the crowd.

Sedatives advantages & disadvantages

A sedative helps to calm or tranquillise nervousness or excitement. The sedative-hypnotics are general depressants not only for the brain but also for the cellular functions in many vital body parts. The most ordinary use of sedative is luminal (phenobarbitone). Commonly used sedative compounds include phenobarbitone (luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), and amobarbital (Amytal).

People generally rely on this drug for their normal sleep, but the type of sleep these drugs induce differs from the physiological rest. When the person gets up in the morning, they 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 twilight zone between waking and sleeping. Many great stage and screen personalities and influential public figures have died because of overdoses of sleeping pills.

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

What is a tranquilliser?

The treatment of psychosomatic diseases got a significant boost by introducing a drug in the form of Tranquillizer, which is beneficial in decreasing tension and anxiety, thereby helping in tranquillity. Tranquilisers are potent agents to relieve stress and tension, but their indiscriminate use leads to addiction. These drugs greatly benefit functional cardiovascular disorders and conditions with anxiety and tension accompanying other diseases.

Tranquiliser drugs

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

Prolonged use of tranquillisers is associated with sluggish, dulled mental faculties, erratic judgment, and slurred speech; many chronic users may become irritable and quarrelsome and have depression of bone marrow. Symptoms like depression, anxiety, restlessness, and marked weakness may be seen in the patient after the withdrawal of the drugs. Patients on barbiturates and tranquillisers may have increased appetite, so they must watch their weight.

Amphetamines drug effects

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

What are opium uses?

Opium is derived from the milky juice of the unripe seed of poppy plant. Medically, it is used as morphine, while the addicts use it most of the time as injections, and the precious medicine becomes devilish. Heroine is another compound derived from opium, whose use is quite rampant in the USA.  After taking the drug, the person experiences drowsiness, mental clouding, mood changes, 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 essential 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 other 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. Abuse of drugs leads the person into an unreal world. It is associated with various signs such as dryness of the throat mouth, excessive hunger, and visual and auditory disturbances. Gradually, in chronic users, 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 changes thought processes and mood, leading to bliss and ecstasy. LSD is taken in a sugar cube or as a piece of blotting paper with the drug. Taking the pill provides the feeling of joy, bliss, and euphoria. LSD use also leads to hallucinations, nightmares, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Thought processes are disturbed, and feelings of disintegration of self, depression, and fear.

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