CNS Depression: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Neuron and myelin regeneration is a delicate process that requires different types of growth factors (nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor) to regulate and maintain neuronal homeostasis [16]. In AUD, essential growth factors of CNS homeostasis are downregulated by highly elevated alcohol metabolites acetaldehyde (AA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing neuronal injury that leads to neurodegeneration [17]. Neurodegeneration, the opposite of regeneration, is when cells of the central nervous system stop working or die and usually perform actions more poorly with time in the presence of toxic or pathological conditions [18],[19]. Alcohol triggers abnormal protein accumulation, lysosomal dysfunction, and DNA damage which promotes neurodegeneration as well as accelerating the aging process of the brain [12],[4].


After chronic exposure, downregulation of GABAergic and upregulation of NMDA glutamatergic systems typically occur. Normalizing this imbalance might be effective in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Antagonism of the μ-opioid system also reduces the motivation to consume alcohol. New animal models of binge alcohol intake, such as the alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) and the “Drinking-in-the-Dark” technique, would help us to develop new treatment methods against alcohol dependence. In this chapter, neurobehavioral effects of both acute and chronic alcohol exposure are described. It is critical that we examine changes in concurrent use given the separate increases in alcohol use and in central nervous system depressant medication use that have been observed.

Associated Data

Prompt treatment of CNS depression offers the best chance of a full recovery. To determine the cause of your CNS depression, your doctor will probably order a series of blood and urine tests. CNS depression is a form of depression caused by the misuse of CNS depressants. CNS depressants are substances that can slow down your central nervous system. At higher pharmacological concentrations, GHB the drug activates GABAB receptors, which is the mechanism of its CNS depressant properties. The differential actions of GHB on GABAB and GHB receptors likely explain the biphasic depressant and stimulatory effects of GHB with decreasing concentrations of GHB in the system.

Risk of Dependence and Addiction

If you have signs of an overdose, like your ability to breathe slows or stops, seek immediate medical attention. When you first begin taking a CNS depressant, you may feel unusually sleepy or uncoordinated as your body adjusts to the medication. For the last chapter in this unit, we will take a detailed look at alcohol, the most infamous depressant new beginning recovery of all. Much of the terminology used to describe alcohol’s effects will have already been introduced in this chapter, so make sure you are comfortable with this chapter’s material before moving on. Nitrous oxide is often misused because it is unregulated and produces euphoria and giddiness, which is why it is also called laughing gas.

Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness, abdominal cramps, and increased heart rate. At high levels of dependence, these symptoms are exacerbated, and withdrawal may involve convulsions, hallucinations, delirium, cardiovascular collapse, and death. Treatment for barbiturate dependence involves detoxification and gradual reduction in symptoms of dependence.

  1. Inhalants often are allosteric modulators of GABAA receptors as well as antagonists at glutamate NMDA receptors.
  2. One man was found driving the wrong way on a highway after taking two Ambien and likely mixing that substance with vodka.
  3. An activated neuron sends chemical signaling molecules called neurotransmitters through the neural circuit which bind to specific molecules called the receptors.
  4. They have a high risk of becoming addictive, which is why they are often prescribed in small doses for only short periods.
  5. If you’ve ever had a substance abuse problem, you should continue to avoid alcohol and mediations that depress the CNS.

In some societies, alcohol consumption is even accepted as part of normal social etiquettes. Alcohol is thus, all pervasive and is in this way is the most dangerous drug known to mankind. Recent advances in the study of alcoholism have thrown light on the involvement of various neurotransmitters in the phenomenon of the cost of excessive alcohol use infographics online media alcohol alcohol addiction. Various neurotransmitters have been implicated in alcohol addiction due to their imbalance in the brain, which could be either due to their excess activity or inhibition. This review paper aims to consolidate and to summarize some of the recent papers which have been published in this regard.

These trends indicate that a substantial portion of the population is at risk for alcohol-related adverse drug reactions – particularly those age 40 and older. Mixing other sedative-hypnotics with alcohol increases the risk of parasomnias. While a person may experience alcohol poisoning or overdose on these sedative-hypnotics, more common are frightening stories like sleep-driving after mixing sedatives. One man was found driving the wrong way on a highway after taking two Ambien and likely mixing that substance with vodka. These z-drugs help the person’s brain relax to a state between being asleep and fully awake, which makes them dangerous.

Participants who refuse to provide physical containers are asked to verbally report their medication use instead (16.7% of respondents). Entered medication names were matched to a prescription drug database, Lexicon Plus® by Cerner Multum, Inc., which is used to classify the medications by therapeutic drug categories. Prescription drug data are stored in an event-level database, (i.e., each participant may have multiple prescriptions). Records involving sedative-hypnotics or opioids were extracted according to the classification terms described in Box 1.

Over 140,000 people in the U.S. die from overconsuming alcohol each year. Alcohol overuse also increases the risk of developing other conditions, including depression. While alcohol can have some stimulating effects (like increased heart rate and anxiety), these effects pregabalin wikipedia are brief. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down your central nervous system, leading to decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, poor coordination, and reduced alertness. It can also cause other side effects, including a risk for dependence and addiction.

Lifestyle modification is also one of the most promising initiatives to reduce alcohol or age-related neurodegeneration as well as possible intervention strategies to control chronic disease or prevent the onset of dementia. The association between lifestyle modification and neurodegeneration in AUD is outlined in Table 2. Multimodal imaging may be useful in predicting the cognitive outcomes and therapeutic success of substance use induced neurological disorder. The impacts of long term and short term alcohol use on cognitive functioning and neurodegeneration can be studied extensively by resting-state fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and task-based fMRI [69],[93]. Table 2 presents the ten most commonly reported prescribed CNS-D medications as well as the prevalence of use of each medication in the U.S. over the entire study period.

If you’ve ever had a substance abuse problem, you should continue to avoid alcohol and mediations that depress the CNS. In a life-threatening situation, a drug called naloxone can reverse the toxic effects of an opioid overdose. A variety of other things in your environment can lead to CNS depression when ingested or inhaled. One such product is ethylene glycol, a chemical found in a variety of consumer goods, including antifreeze and de-icing products. Any event that causes decreased blood flow and oxygen to the brain, such as a severe heart attack can also lead to CNS depression.

In a study conducted by,[65] which looked at the data collected from a large number of multiplex, alcoholic families under the COGA, no association was found between the GABRA1 and GABRA6 markers and AD. Similarly, another study conducted by[66] found no association between the genes encoding GABRA1 and GABRA6 with alcoholism. Candidate genes suggested in the development of alcohol addiction are involved in the dopaminergic, serotoninergic, GABA and glutamate pathways. If a person takes depressants for a long time, they may develop physical dependence and substance use disorder. Depressants cause slower brain activity, leading to muscle relaxation and a calm mood.

It acts on an inhibitory neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Depressants affect the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows down your brain activity. This can lead to side effects such as relaxation, drowsiness, slurred speech, decreased inhibition, and problems with coordination. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use or addiction, explore mental health care at Loma Linda University Behavioral Health. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to a central nervous system depressant, know that you are not alone and there are treatment options available. Store medicines, alcohol, and other potentially hazardous materials safely away from children and pets.

Most inhalants are lipid-soluble and are absorbed very quickly, with concentrations in the blood peaking close to the time of administration. The combination of fast absorption and taking in the drug through the lungs results in an immediate rush and noticeable effects. Metabolism and excretion vary depending on the chemical in question, but half-lives tend to be very short.

GHB is an endogenous neurotransmitter that is synthesized in GABA neurons. There appears to be a dynamic relationship between GHB and GABA in that each is a precursor as well as a by-product of the other. Ultrashort-acting barbiturates such as thiopental have the highest lipid solubility out of all barbiturates. Time to action can be mere minutes, although effects only last for around half an hour.

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