What are Tranquilizers?
Tranquilizers are among the most widely prescribed medications in the world. The man-made sedative is administered by doctors to treat a wide range of disorders. It provides short term care for fear, tension and agitation, alongside helping battle stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
The two main classes of the drug are called major and minor tranquilisers. The former, also known as antipsychotic agents or neuroleptics, are used by medical professionals in the short-term management of psychosis, centring on bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They can help alleviate the symptoms such as paranoia, delusions and hallucinations.
Major tranquilizers help achieve a sense of calm in people who are experiencing irrational thoughts and in an agitated state. They are also used to allow people with serious mental disorders to be treated at home, instead of requiring hospital treatment.
However, major tranquilisers do not actually cure schizophrenia but suppress the symptoms, and are administered over an extended period, for long term care. There are various major tranquilisers including butyrophenones, clozapine, thioxanthines and the most commonly used; phenothiazines. Chlorpromazine is a prime example of a phenothiazine, which operates by blocking dopamine in the brain. Restricting the neurotransmitter reduces the symptoms of psychosis, although it can bring on certain side effects like restlessness, tremors in the arms and legs or facial spasms, alongside others.
Minor tranquilizers, also known as anxiolytics or anti-anxiety agents, are used to treat milder cases of anxiety and tension and may be prescribed to people suffering minor mental health problems. The most frequently prescribed tranquilisers in the UK are Benzodiazepines, also known as Benzos, a minor tranquilliser. There are numerous benzos on the market, sold under different brand names. These include products like Valium, the generic name for diazepam.
Tranquilisers are known for their calming properties and for treating stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, for all the good they do, the drug can often be abused. Tranquilisers are readily available and sometimes used to heighten the effects of alcohol. For instance, Temazepam is often a stand-in for heroin, and many use tranquilisers to come down from stimulants like cocaine and ecstasy.
Tranquilizers appear in various colours, based on their strength and intensity. Temazepam comes as a gel inside a capsule, as well as liquid form., although, when taken medicinally, tranquilizers are usually swallowed as a tablet or capsule. When obtained on the street, they can be injected intravenously, which is very dangerous.
Tranquilizers are designed to calm you down and reduce feelings of anxiety, agitation and restlessness. The drug makes you feel drowsy, as well as relax your muscles. However, if you take too much, it can cause dizziness, forgetfulness and make you fall asleep.
If you use a tranquilizer, you can start to feel the effects within ten to forty minutes. They may continue for three to six hours, depending on the type and strength of the drug. If you take large doses of tranquilisers over an extended period, you may build up a tolerance, where you may have to increase the dosage to feel the desired effect, which may lead to an addiction. It is advised you to do not take tranquilisers for too long. In fact, it is recommended you should only take tranquilisers for two weeks to a month.
If you have been prescribed the drug to combat insomnia, you should not take a tranquiliser every night, but instead spread it out over the week, missing a few nights at a time. If you continue taking the drug passed two to three weeks, they could stop working as an insomnia cure. You should also be aware that if you continue taking tranquilisers for more than four months, they will no longer be effective in preventing anxiety.
Long term use of the drug could lead to physical and psychological side effects. It can result in depression, aggression, confusion, memory loss and a change in behaviour, as well as stomach problems.
It is also the case that, if you do develop an addiction to tranquilizers, if you stop, you will suffer difficult symptoms of withdrawal. Therefore, it is recommended you consult a doctor and cease taking the drug over time, under medical supervision.
There is no denying if you develop a dependency on tranquilizers, it could have potentially devastating effects. If you take the drug, combined with alcohol, or other depressant drugs, then you run the risk of overdose which could prove fatal, which only highlights the need to be aware of the possible pitfalls of using tranquilizers.