CNS Depression: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

CNS Depression: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

cns depressant alcohol

There have been some studies conducted into the involvement of this pathway in the process of alcohol addiction. GABA or GABA is the third neurotransmitter whose functioning is critical in understanding the genetics of alcohol addiction. GABA as a neurotransmitter has been long known to be affected by alcohol consumption.

Risky Driving

A precursor to GHB, gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), has also been classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. The next depressant we will examine is gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). It is an endogenous substance that can also be taken as a medication or used recreationally. Although it primarily acts as a depressant, it causes biphasic effects, with stimulatory effects occurring at low doses or for a short time initially. By binding to areas other than the orthosteric site of the receptor, they enhance GABA activity.

Mixing Depressants and Alcohol

Recently, two sub types of the GABAA receptor have come into the spotlight for showing what can possibly be a genetic predisposition to alcohol addiction. These two subtypes are namely GABA A receptor α1 (GABRA1) and GABA A receptor α6 (GABRA6). The gene encoding GABRA1 is located on chromosome 5 at 5q34-35 while the gene encoding GABRA6 is located on the same chromosome at 5q34.


cns depressant alcohol

Review the ingredient labels on over-the-counter (OTC) products to check for active and inactive ingredients, like alcohol. These effects can happen even after one drink — and increase with every drink you have, states Dr. Anand. But as you drink more — and you don’t need to drink that much more — eventually, the enzymes that break down the alcohol get saturated. So, the alcohol builds up quite quickly,” explains addiction psychiatrist Akhil Anand, MD. And if you have one too many alcoholic drinks, you may start to slur your speech and have trouble walking in a straight line — and that’s all before dealing with a hangover the next day. Store medicines, alcohol, and other potentially hazardous materials safely away from children and pets.

How Common Is Binge Drinking?

cns depressant alcohol

In 2022, 30% of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes had BACs of .01 g/dL or higher. In 2022, there were 2,337 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL. Alcohol is a substance that reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. Every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 39 minutes. In 2022, 13,524 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths.

As mentioned earlier, nitrous oxide is used as a general anesthetic. Nitrous oxide is often misused because it is unregulated and produces euphoria and giddiness, which is why it is also called laughing gas. It can also lower inhibitions and cause dissociation, unconsciousness, dizziness, and loss of motor function. There is evidence that nitrous oxide is an NMDA receptor antagonist so its mechanism of action may differ from other inhalants. 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.

  1. GHB is an example of a drug that is listed in both Schedules I and III, depending upon the intent of use.
  2. Drug abuse often co-occurs with other psychological issues, such as depression, and rehab affords individuals struggling with addiction the opportunity for these issues to be addressed with licensed professionals.
  3. On its own, drinking too much alcohol (either in one sitting or consuming a lot of alcohol over time) can lead to lasting physical harm to many different organ systems.
  4. In every state, it’s illegal to drive drunk, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 39 minutes in the United States in 2022.

Drugs & Supplements

Specifically, they reduce the time needed to fall asleep, increase the time spent asleep, and reduce the occurrence of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Barbiturates are potent sedative-hypnotic drugs that were widely used in the early 1900s. Although their use has declined in recent decades, they remain an illustrative example of how depressants affect neurotransmission. People who take CNS depressants must be aware of the risks and should never share drugs or take a substance without knowing what is in it.

It also facilitates dopamine release from the nucleus accumbens, although the effect is not potent. Its actions on dopaminergic and opioid peptidergic systems are implicated in the reinforcing effect of alcohol. 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.

cns depressant alcohol

In the course of this phenomenon, further activation of astrocytes amplifies mitochondrial phosphorylation with downregulation of the tight junction which enhances the permeability of the BBB system. Thus, ethanol exposure results in BBB disruption by a complex immune-regulatory loop between BMECs and astrocytes. Astrocytes maintain the BBB integrity by forming paracrine interactions to coordinates the CNS blood flow and neural function between pericytes and CNS vasculature [45]. Alcohol-induced docusate: uses interactions mechanism of action drugbank online tight junction disassembly is usually mediated via activation of expression protein kinase C (PKC) which subsequently allows toxic substances to enter the brain which in turn affects CNS homeostasis. Loss of astrocytes function to maintain the neurovascular coupling is not recovered by the proliferation of adjacent astrocytes resulting in long-term effect in neurovascular damage. Apart from the dopamine pathways, the addiction to alcohol has also been suggested through the serotonin pathways.

In particular, it is extremely dangerous to combine multiple CNS depressants, because the risk of serious complications such as overdose, respiratory failure, and death are greatly magnified. Central nervous system depressants are medications or substances that slow brain activity, making them useful for treating anxiety, panic, and sleep disorders. They’re an important means of treating many conditions, a complete guide to ketamine withdrawal & addiction ranging from mental health disorders to brain-related diseases. While these medications can treat many conditions and help millions, they’re not without risks. If your healthcare provider prescribes one of these medications, don’t hesitate to ask for guidance, and take the medications exactly as prescribed. That way, you can benefit from these medications and reduce the risk of problems along the way.

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. When GHB and alcohol are combined, the sedative and depressant effects are amplified, and GHB may reduce the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the system. This synergistic interaction can lead to unexpected respiratory failure and death. GHB is metabolized rapidly and has a short half-life of about 30 minutes.

MRS studies of the human brain have revealed a reduced level of NAA in several brain regions of patients with AUD which indicates neuronal injury. Similarly, studies in AUD patients have shown an elevated level of choline-containing compounds that usually provide evidence of demyelination but it is not consistent with alcohol withdrawal syndrome [71],[11]. According to earlier studies, alcohol withdrawal seizures commonly occur due to an imbalance between glutamatergic and GABAergic neurotransmission which can be detected by MRS of the human brain [107]. Experimental studies on human brain tissue provide evidence of increased expression of CYP2E1 after chronic ethanol exposure and as a result of CYP2E1 mediated metabolism induces production of ROS and NO synthesis in the human brain [37],[38]. However, actions of EtOH metabolites depend on their concentration, ROS acts as active molecules at low concentration but at high concentration, oxidants convert as a transducer of the oxidative stress response and neurodegenerative agents [39].

Inhalants are solvents or other materials that produce vapors that elicit psychoactive effects. While a wide variety of products can be used as inhalants, most induce CNS depression through similar mechanisms of action. GHB is both an endogenous neurochemical as well as an exogenous chemical compound. GHB was first studied in-depth in the 1960s for its potential use in treating narcolepsy and alcoholism. Although there was little support for its use in treating alcoholism, the salt form of GHB, sodium oxybate, is still used for the treatment of narcolepsy to this day under the brand name Xyrem®. GHB is an example of a drug that is listed in both Schedules I and III, depending upon the intent of use.

The danger is when the CNS is slowed too much, which can lead to unconsciousness, coma, and death. Certain drugs affect the neurotransmitters in your brain, causing brain activity to slow. But if it slows down too much, it can quickly become a life-threatening the no-drug approach to erectile dysfunction event. However, if you find that your CNS depressants affect your daily functioning, speak to your doctor about it. They’ll decide if you need to be taken off the medication, switched to another form of the medication, or if your dosage needs to be adjusted.

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