Depressants (also known as sedatives and colloquially as "downers") are a class of psychoactive substances that decreases activity in the brain through the lowering of neurotransmission levels, depressing or reducing arousal/stimulation in various areas of the brain. Depressants are occasionally referred to as "downers." Stimulants (or "uppers") which increase mental and/or physical function are in stark contrast to depressants and are considered to be their functional opposite.
Depressants are widely used throughout the world as prescription medicine and as illicit substances. When used, effects often include motor control loss, anxiety suppression, pain relief, sedation, somnolence, and cognitive/memory impairment. In some instances, the effects include euphoria, dissociation, muscle relaxation, decreased blood pressure, lowered heart rate, respiratory depression, anticonvulsant effects, and even complete anesthesia or death at high doses.
Depressants exert their effects through a number of different pharmacological mechanisms. The most prominent include the facilitation of GABA or opioid activity and the inhibition of glutamatergic or catecholaminergic activity.
Disclaimer: The effects listed below cite the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), a literature which relies on collected anecdotal reports and the personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. As a result, they should be taken with a healthy amount of skepticism. It is worth noting that these effects will not necessarily occur in a consistent or reliable manner, although higher doses (common+) are more likely to induce the full spectrum of reported effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely with higher doses and may include serious injury or death.
These effects are listed and described in detail within their own dedicated articles below:
The chemicals below have varying degrees of typical depressant effects.
- Depressant definition | http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=depressant