Tranquilizers (say: TRANG-kwih-lye-zurs) and other depressants calm nerves and relax muscles. They are bright-colored capsules or tablets that are legally available through a doctor for medical reasons, but can be illegally abused.
When used as prescribed (given) by a doctor, depressants can calm nerves and relax muscles.
Larger or improperly used doses of depressant drugs can cause confusion, lack of coordination, low blood pressure, and slowed heart rate and breathing. Someone who takes them may have slurred speech and an inability to concentrate, and he or she may fall asleep at work or school.
Depressants are addictive and withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, sleeplessness, and seizures.
Depressant drugs are very dangerous if taken with alcohol and certain other drugs. Very large doses of depressant drugs can stop your breathing and kill you.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.
Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:
In This Issue
Download Summer 2015 (PDF)
This 30-second video features Dr. Carlos Villavicencio of Seattle Children’s Hospital giving tips for preventing window falls.
Este video de 30 segundos presenta los consejos del doctor Carlos Villavicencio, de Seattle Children's Hospital, para prevenir caídas desde ventanas.
Dr. Carin Cunningham, a psychologist who specializes in treating gastrointestinal diseases, offers insights into the emotional and psychological toll inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can take. Families affected by IBD share how they have learned to better deal with their child's illness.